Last week was a bad week for quite a few friends in the ad business. Being laid off is always startling, even when you know it’s coming. I thought I’d share some of the tips and advice I’ve shared with friends who have recently been laid off. I hope it might help someone else find work in the ad business in it’s current crazy state. If you’ve got more tips, please post them in the comments section for others. Thanks.
- If you don’t have your portfolio online yet, get your work online. You don’t need a physical book, in my opinion. Even if you’re not in the creative department, having a link with a visual reference to the work you’ve done will not hurt your interview process.
- If you just lost your job, you’re probably a little concerned about money. You can build one yourself with a little effort. How? First step, if you’re on a Mac, use iWeb. It’s $79. It’s pretty simple. With a little effort, you’ll have a full site, complete with video and images in 3-7 days. To host it, you can use Apple MobileMe service, or another inexpensive hosting service. I use Dreamhost.com for this blog and our company site, jmx2.com.
- Another option is to post your site with a blogging service. Check out Blogger.com, Typepad.com or Livejournal.com. How can a blog be a portfolio? See http://i-seldom-do.livejournal.com/ for an example of a portfolio blog.
- A blog is another good way to represent yourself to a potential employer. Take this blog, SuperGeekery, as a case in point. You probably have a much better idea of the skills and interests I would bring to a workplace based on a quick scan of my blog. The downside is that it might eliminate me from some jobs because the person hiring could read some of what I’ve written and determine I’m not the right person for a position. I still think this is ultimately good for both parties though.
For another example, check out Eric Proulx’s blog, Please Feed The Animals: A Blog For The Recently Unemployed Advertising Professional. You’ll get to know how Eric thinks and how he writes. (He writes well and passionately, I should add.) You’ll also get lots of tips and camaraderie with fellow unemployed ad people.
- If you’re not already on Facebook and LinkedIn, join them. Connect with old classmates, old co-workers and even ones at the job you’ve just left. Don’t spam your contacts, but do let them know you’re available and reference some of your recent work. (Send them a link to your updated portfolio and blog from tips 1 and 2.)
- Use your time off to learn a new skill or brush up on an existing one. Have you been wishing you knew Flash better? Wish you were faster at Photoshop? Think having a better understanding of how basic web stuff works? Check out Lynda.com. It’s the best place I know to brush up on your skills. There are over 500 different courses available and it’s a flat fee of $25/month. It’s a good deal if you use it. I have a recurring annual subscription because you can never know too much.
- Opening a Twitter account and finding people in the industry to follow. You can start with me and then check out the people I follow, but the people I follow skew more in the digital and technology, but at least it’s a start. Start posting smart little posts about your thoughts on the industry, what you’re doing, what you’re reading and thinking. Slowly some of the people you follow will follow you back. Twitter is a time investment. Then set up Twitter to automatically update your Facebook status.
- Socialize more, in person and online with people in the industry. I’m one of the administrator’s of NY AD SCRUM, a Facebook group of New York based ad people. Our goal is primarily meeting, drinking and socializing. It’s fun and it’s a way of meeting the people you might work with next. Here’s a link to the group: NY AD SCRUM. Take note of the next event and join in.