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Don’t be a shintern.

with 5 comments

So last night we had the intern day here at work. They were supposed to be the new ‘creative’ interns but it was more a mixed bag of account mgmt, graphic designers and possible creatives. It was a weird, we had kids with their masters degrees, some that hadn’t even figured out what major they wanted to be studying, some super prepared and some that didn’t even bring a bra. In the interest of saving people from any embarrassment when it comes to intern applications or intern ‘trial days’, I’ve written a bunch of tips that I feel might be helpful for the future advertising creative. (Don’t ask me about account management, as far as I know you just have to look good in a suit, have a cheery phone disposition and be able to develop ‘rapport’.)


1. Come prepared. Please, to avoid the harrowing fate of us wondering what the hell you’re doing there, come prepared. Even if the agency you’re meeting up with has set the simplest of tasks, “Think of some cool ideas that you’ve seen advertised”, “What are your favorite ads/products/brands/mediums” or even “come up with a cool concept to sell Fanta”. Don’t scribble it on a napkin, don’t have notes written on your hand. Type it and print it out or get a nice looking exercise book and write your ideas down. When looking for an intern, you’re going to put the kid who opens up her moleskine and reads through her creative thoughts over the kid who closes his eyes and starts with, “soo uhhhh.. picture this ok, there’s this dog but he’s driving a car, right, and…”.

2. Moderate your output. This is a possible job interview, not a bro-down with your mates. I’m sure you’re a well respected member of your local community but if you casually drop the term ‘faggot’, call things ‘gay’ or allude to any sexist or racist agenda, we’re probably going to hold it against you. We’re creatives. Gays, women and minorities are 80% of our friendship circles. Even if you’re kidding, just treat it like a job interview and not a drunk game of scrabble and you should be fine.

3. You’re the junior’s junior. Leave your attitude at home. Our Creative Director was away during one of our intern application days and I was acting as CD. A whole bunch of kids came in and we were discussing a fake brief and throwing ideas around. One kid came up with a C+ idea but then refused to let it go. They kept putting everyone else’s ideas down and even disagreed with what I thought was a good direction for the brief (which I’d written up). Who the hell wants an intern like that? Someone that is far to precious with their ideas and hasn’t even learnt how to share. Be friendly, be positive, be accepting of everyone’s points of view and don’t, I repeat, don’t put the ideas of the people who will give you an internship down. They won’t think, “Man.. that kid showed some balls. Real class act, let’s hire him!” They’ll sit around after you leave and talk about how they should hire everyone but you and then take a picture of the happy new intern group and then send it to you with a virus attached.

4. Appropriate resumes are appropriate. I kid you not, one girls resume had a quarter page sized photo of her on the front with a good 83% of her boobs out. I’m not even exaggerating. I mean I don’t mind but you think the girls in the office are going to be down with that? Hell no. Resume’s are what we get first (then we check your Facebook, no lie) so create a solid written impression. Don’t use a cover-all “WhAt I HoPe To AcHiEvE WiTh My LiFe” statement. Make it tailored to the job. Make it individual, or we’ll throw you with the rest of the sheep.

5. Know what’s up. Think about it. Why would they hire someone young when they can get someone with more experience and maturity? It’s not because the think you’ll stick around and be the CEO in 30 years, they know you want to fly off to London/New York/Ipswich and chase your dreams there.It’s because you grew up with all this techy shit happening and you should be familiar with it. You should know clever app’s using geo-mapping, you should have some cool ideas using augmented reality, you should know how a big idea for a print ad can transfer across to a relevent iPad app. And if you don’t, then what good are you? There’s a 40-year-old out there that wont spend half the day on Facebook, will never come in on Friday morning smelling like a Jägerbombs asshole and that has the same creative/technological ineptitude as you. Get busy learning the new mediums, because they’re going to be the one’s that you create on.


Written by Michael Beveridge

January 31, 2011 at 7:56 am

5 Responses

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  1. hey, love the blog. As an aspiring future advertising creative, I am on the hunt for the coveted work-experience/intern gig. And sure, apart from a few tweaks to my Facebook page, I’d like to think I would adhere to all your suggested tips once inside an agency’s doors.

    The question is, how are these shit-terns obtaining an invite to said intern day? In fact, I’m so far behind the 8-ball, I didn’t even know such a day exists.

    I’m currently armed with a list of Brisbane agencies and a portfolio of copywriting samples, creative briefs and rationales that I’d planned to email out, with an agency-specific cover letter. I understand it’s imperative to stand out, but I’d really appreciate any insight you could offer on the “protocol”, if any, of approaching agencies, or where to find out about intern days etc. Because really, no one wants their work experience request used as comic relief around the office… cheers

    creative intern seeks agency

    February 14, 2011 at 6:05 am

  2. thanks for the nice words. Again, I’m not an expert on the matter, and trust me, how I got in was a ridiculous stroke of luck (as an actor in their ad who talked to the CD and then hit him up for an internship a bit later) but, from what I’ve seen around town, it’s pretty much not what you know but who you know. Get involved in Youngbloods nights as often as possible. Email them and ask if you can be on their student panel and move up from there. Email the BAD Club and ask for any tips, go to networking nights (except the SimJen ones, they’re ridiculous) and most of all, becoming a motherfucking advertising juggernaught. Live that shit. Campaign Brief for breakfast, AdAge for lunch, The Egotist Network for dinner! Read Paul Sulliven, Paul Arden; watch Art & Copy and then maybe have a look at my blog when you have some time (joke: don’t waste your time). If you’re at QUT (which I think you are) then go talk to Gayle, Shane, whoever you can think of to help you out. Enter into every student award show that you can, even if it’s just to let you gauge what’s expected from student submissions. Start a blog, practice writing, be a twitter whore and build a network of people like you.

    Long story short, go out to legit young advertising things and meet the people that matter, be a good drunk, join the club, become familier and hopefully they’ll be more than happy to let you know about an upcoming internship or graduate opportunity!

    Hope this has some relevance to what you wanted!


    February 20, 2011 at 6:37 am

  3. Highly relevant, cheers for the heads up. Looking up the Pauls as I write, and churning out a few blog ideas. I am indeed at QUT, this shit’s about to get real! Thanks again for the advice

    creative intern seeks agency

    February 23, 2011 at 2:29 am

  4. i keep trying 2 wash my cat but wen i put him in the bath he jumps out!!! and why !?!?! he is so dirty i want him 2 be clean again. sometimes i h8 my cat. i want 2 die.


    February 24, 2011 at 4:21 am

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