Ask Esther // 21

I’ve been gaining some experience at an Agency for about three months now in the creative department. No pay, but getting some briefs and coming up with ideas and putting work in front of Creative Directors. One of the creative directers thought I could have what it takes with more experience.

I do really enjoy being here, but I feel like I’m limited by what I can get out of this experience on my own.

Should I (try and) move on to somewhere else to try my luck there? or should I try and stay here and find / wait to meet up with a creative partner? And then how do I go about finding someone else to work with?

I’m not sure if you’re working two jobs, or living at home and so whether the unpaid part is a problem as well. But if the issue isn’t money, then three months isn’t long. If you are supplementing your income in a bar or something, then yes, it’s a hard slog to work all day and then start a night shift.

At three months, you should just be beginning to feel more of a part of the creative department, perhaps speaking up more, or being included in a few more meetings. All of which might help turn the trickle of briefs into a productive flow. So if you are learning and can afford to stay, stay. Every extra month will add value for your next employer.

If it’s a good agency, people might be slightly impressed by three, but even more so by six or 12 months experience there.

But if you are not feeling like you are learning enough by being on your own, leave. You’ll have nothing to lose. Is the best feedback you have had so far that you “could have what it takes”? Then that’s not enough from them. You should make noise; ask questions, grab briefs and invite constructive criticisms. The department will respond to your energy levels. Make yourself indispensible if you love the place.

You might join an existing team to mentor you as a third, junior member. Or you can try to recruit another intern willing to do unpaid work with you.

But leave if you feel as though they have taught you all they can on your own and try to find yourself a partner. A creative with three months experience is more employable than one with none. A creative with six months experience is an asset and still has enormous potential, especially if they have gathered a few great references and produced a few ads.

Good luck!

You can ask Esther Clerehan anything about putting your book together, getting a job, what salary to ask for or what to do when someone steals your ideas. Go on, Ask Esther. There is no other creative recruiter with more experience to educate us on the art of the job hunt. You can email her here at junior at (wtf null@null lifeatthebottom

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 13/09/2012
Category: Ask Esther
Tagged: .