A couple of weeks ago, I did a talk for Oliver & York on getting your foot in the door. The talk was well-received and fun, and as I wrote notes, thought I’d include the content of the speech here.
I was struggling after university and working in a data entry role. I’d seen an advertising cadetship advertised with the Advertising Federation of Australia and applied.
My application was successful, and after a couple of rounds, I’d been asked to deliver a five minute presentation detailing why I’d be suitable for a career in advertising.
In the room were a lot of the top agencies in Melbourne at the time. GPY&R, Clemenger BBDO, Grey, and other representatives were in the room, waiting to hear what I had to say.
I presented. And gave it everything I had. I used to be a paper boy, so I slung a newspaper across the room and said I was good at delivering the message. I had been a call centre operator, so I told them I was good at account service and talking over the phone. I hustled, was prepared, and delivered a great presentation.
I’ll tell you what happened later, as I thought I should get around to introducing myself!
Hi, I’m Luke Marshall. I love watermelons, meditation, running, and have been lucky enough to travel around the world a bit.
I wrote a book in 2012 detailing my experiences with bisexuality and bipolar disorder. I ended raising $1,000 for charity with the work, and it was one of the proudest accomplishments of my life.
I also worked at Google for two and a half years. Based out of Singapore, and then Sydney, working on some of the biggest brands in the world in a creative capacity.
But what I’m here to talk to you about today is what you can do to catch ‘foot in door’ syndrome. What do I mean by that? Well in other words, I’m here to talk to you today about what it takes to make it in the industry and catch your break.
Here’s what I think you need:
- you need hustle to get there
- You need to be prepared so you can open the door when you get there
- And you need to continue you this mindset as you keep going through more doors
So let’s talk about hustle first. What do you think hustle requires? What do you think it is? Can anyone tell me what they think hustle is?
Put simply, hustle is selling yourself. It’s selling yourself hard, and it’s selling yourself continuously. Have no doubt about it, when you’re trying to make it in most media and tech industries (and I’d argue most others too) you are in the business of selling.
So once you’re comfortable with the idea of selling yourself, here’s some cold hard statistics that show you how much you should be selling.
Yet 80% of sales happen between the 5th and 12th contact.
Where to start when you’re trying to get your foot in the door? Well a good place to start is your resume.
Here are a series of resumes that I’ve put together over the course of my career.
If you’re not familiar already, I’d urge you to get familiar with Powerpoint or Keynote and get a nose for design.
This is one of your initial door openers and you want it to look short, and shit hot.
But what happens when you submit a resume and they didn’t call you? You need to look at this as an opportunity.
You need to adopt the hustler mindset – have I thrown everything I can at this opportunity? The answer is usually no. There is always more that you can do.
Here’s a quick list of things that you could do to start hustling your opportunities, there are many more things than this – but you should be getting the idea by now.
Next you need to be prepared to open the door. What I mean by this is that it’s all well and good getting to the door, but if you don’t know how to open it at the interview stage, it can be quite tricky to get in.
For example, say you want a job at a digital agency and you don’t where to start. Let’s walk through this as an example so you can get a sense of what preparation looks like. Does anyone know where you can start?
I’d start with an obvious one like Google. And simply search for “best digital agency” to give you a sense of who is good out there. There are better ways to get a sense of things, but you don’t know them yet so you may as well start with the obvious one!
Next, find a role that interests you within the agency. This doesn’t have to be an entry-level role – you want to get a sense of what it’s like a few rungs up, so you can find out the information you need to get there at entry-level.
Read, and absorb the description. Often there will be clues in there that will show you what skills you need – make a note of them.
Then – and this is a bit sneaky – search the agency for people currently in that role. This will give you an idea of people you can talk to to help get a leg up.
With their names, you can find a way to get to know them. Most people in this game are friendly and open to offering advice to up and comers. I’m consistently surprised by how many people don’t do this.
One note – be more creative than an InMail if you can. LinkedIn can be spammy, it might be much more effective to leave a comment on their blog, mention some of their work you like on Twitter, or something even better.
The point is – you currently don’t have all the information you need to make it in the industry so start preparing and go out and find the info you need from people already there.
You can do this in any number of ways, but be short, courteous and specific about what you want.
For example (see slide).
You may hustle, be prepared, and even reach higher, and higher goals, but the real key is to continue.
The lessons you’re learning along the way are important and its an ongoing process.
Even if you apply these principles, you’re not going to nail it on your first, second, or even third bite of the cherry. So I’m going to give you a few more tips to continue the good fight.
Network your arse off. The experience you gain from taking an active interest in people and listening to what they say is a life skill that will hold you in good stead.
Read as much as you can. I wish I knew this earlier. Since getting my Kindle I’ve been consuming a healthy diet of books every week and I’m better off for it.
Get a web presence today: if you don’t have a blog, a Twitter, and a LinkedIn yet – you’re doing it wrong! Establishing an online voice is a valuable lesson and will help get you noticed and looked up.
And lastly, whenever you’re hunting or applying for a job, ask yourself – what does going above and beyond the call of duty look like? What can you do that will blow the employer away? Do more of that 🙂
I failed. There was a miscommunication about who I was going to be running with and despite getting a meeting with a smaller agency I was told there was no cadetship for me.
Let me introduce you to my favourite quote from Sam Beckett – a playwright from the 50s and 60s. Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. You could say, I took that quote to heart and lived it.
Since that failure in 2006, I’ve worked at Google, written a book, travelled the world and now work at Facebook.
So I ask you, the audience, to go out and get foot in door syndrome and fail better.
Slideshare version here: