Between now and your graduation, I encourage you to come up with 5 criteria for the perfect job. They may change as you get closer to actually shopping your book around. That's fine. As long as you go into the market with your 5 criteria.
Let me give you some examples:
- I want a job at an agency that has demonstrated a commitment to great creative work.
- I want a job at an agency where I can work under a great creative director who will mentor me.
- I want a job where I will have an opportunity to do television.
- I want a job on the West Coast / on the East coast / in a cool city.
- I want a job at an agency that has fewer than 100 employees.
- I want a job that let's me work on national accounts.
You need to know what you're looking for in a job because 1) it will help you recognize the right job when you see it, and 2) it will help you work toward that job right now.
After I left school, I took the first job that was offered to me. Not because I was desperate. Or because I was nervous. I took it because it fit my 5 criteria. I didn't see the point in waiting around to see if I'd get any other offers once they were met.
Conversely, I've known people who've gone from interview to interview turning down offer after offer because the place just "didn't feel right." I won't diminish the importance of gut feelings. But I also believe these people were turning down jobs because they didn't know what they were looking for in the first place.
You've got time. But start thinking about your 5 criteria.
And let me leave you with these caveats:
- If you're serious about getting a great job, you must write your criteria down.
- If you're serious about getting a great job, money cannot - repeat, cannot - be one of them.