Making Contact

How do you make that initial connection with an agency you want to work for? Here are two suggestions:
  1. Look up their main number online. Call them and tell whoever answers, “I’d like to send my portfolio to you. Can you tell me the best person to send it to?” Get their title, direct line, and email address. And be prepared to ask the same thing if the front desk immediately transfers you to a creative or recruiter. Don’t stress. This is not your first impression. You won’t blow it. You're a disembodied voice. If the front desk suddenly transfers you to Mike Shine, or Kevin Lynch happens to pick up the phone, they’re not going to equate the pdf you eventually send them with the stammering, star-struck portfolio student who called last week.

  2. Make a list of the agencies you’d like to work for (like you haven’t already). Make a list of all the creatives from those agencies who’s work you admire. Call the agency and ask to speak with them. Tell them the same thing: That you’d like to send them your portfolio.

  3. With a little research, you can usually figure out the email addresses of creatives within an agency. Shoot them an email and a pdf of your work. (This is the least effective approach as you've made no voice contact and haven't really asked any questions.)

Keep in mind that transparency is your friend. Asking questions is a good thing. Ask if they'd prefer to receive a pdf or a minibook. Whoever you contact, ask them if they’re hiring. Ask for feedback on your work. Ask them if there’s anyone else you should show your book to. If you’re really trying to get into a specific city, let them know and ask them for references at other in-town agencies. (In my experience, this has never been a turn off.)

I think the biggest mistake you can make is to be shy, indirect, and hopeful without having put forth any effort to merit that hope.

Go. Fight. Win.