Ad 2

Tips from the Inside

Last night, Ad 2 Nashville (@Ad2Nashville)held an event at The Art Institute of Tennessee in Nashville for their Graphic Design Club. We brought in three panelists–one freelance Graphic Designer and two in-house Graphic Designers (an entry-level and an experience department director)–who offered their help to the students and recent grads on what to do to help get the job. Although their discussion was based on the Graphic Design industry, I noticed quite a few parallels and tidbits that I could to aid me in my quest to find the perfect job.


All of the panelists agreed that although maintaining good grades and a padded resume are important, the best thing a fledgling in the industry can do for their job hunt is build a portfolio that truly showcases their creative and artistic ability.

In my opinion, grades matter a little more to us PR kids (although, I could be wrong about that). And while I have had plenty of opportunities to add experience to my public relations side, my advertising side has remained untouched–not from lack of interest. From what I’ve noticed and heard, advertising internships are harder to come by than PR ones. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but don’t get discouraged.

Just because PR/ADV students/grads aren’t proficient in graphic design doesn’t mean that we can’t showcase our own creative and special abilities. The portfolio is a canvas to our souls, our work ethic, our inspiration and our passions. As a result, our PR/ADV-savvy portfolios could stand to hold a few pieces that are both kickin’ butt and taken names!

On a side note, one of the panelists also took the time to recommend making something to showcase my portfolio in rather than buying a standard black book. I have yet to figure out how I can apply that to my PR/ADV skills rather than G.Design. But I’ll let you know when I find out.


Working within the creative industry may seem like all fun and games, but eventually, doing creative things you have to do rather than what you want to wears a person down. Remember why you ventured into the realm of endless possibilities in the first place (i.e. advertising, public relations and G.Design) and do what you want to do to help keep you sane.

Our creative juices (Yes, PR is a creative field too) can run dry after ignoring them for too long. So get back on that horse (or something like that).


I do believe this is quite obvious, but I’ll take the time to talk about it anyways. If all my teachers and the people I have ever met along my journey down the PR/ADV road had stressed one thing it would have been NETWORK, NETWORK and NETWORK. And (not) surprisingly enough, this is exactly what the panelists mentioned numerous times during the discussion.

In order to freelance, you have to network. In order to get a job, it’s not just up to whether or not you applied, it’s about who you know.

And, this is just as true in G.Design as it is in PR/ADV. So do what you need to do and get the job. Get yourself out there, join networking groups, attend meetings, join the blog-o-sphere.


A few of the students asked the questions of you got an interview scheduled, what’s next. From my perspective, it’s always best to prepare for the interview ahead of time. Plan out your questions, look into what the company does, etc. I figured this was an important task for any interviewee, regardless of the industry.

If you are hired, they are hiring you for reasons that benefit their company. In other words, ask questions about them to let them you are interested. An interview isn’t all about you.

Last but not least, they stressed the fact that job hunting is all subjective. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the neighborhood, it can all come down to if they like you or not, if they like your portfolio or not, if they think your experience is good enough or not.

So in the end, be real. Be you. Prove to them why you would be the best decision their company ever made.


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