Last Thursday, COM held its 3rd annual “Agency Insiders” event, which featured a panel of distinguished alumni from top agencies in New York and Boston:
Jon Swanson Talent Recruiter, The Swanson Group
Professor Carolyn Clark set the tone of the night with the introductory statement, “Let’s get our career on.”
Touché, Professor Clark. Here’s what the panelist had to say about landing a job in Account Management.
Qualifications for an AAE
Jon: You must have an entrepreneurial spirit, drive, and the ability to think quickly on your feet. Make sure to manage your personal brand while looking for an AAE position. Showcase your skills within different verticals: interactive, social media, green technology, etc.
Kate: I agree with Jon. Being younger also proves a real asset for people with tenure. They want to know what you think as a consumer and what you find interesting.
Elliot: When interviewing a candidate for an AAE position, I look for a good story. Tell me who you are as a person. I don’t expect a lot of experience, but I want to see how the interviewee learns and speaks—essentially their aptitude to learn. How will they grow into the position?
Shawn: The evolution of Project Management has changed what Account Management is. It used to be more about managing the client relationships, but it has become more strategic. So, I would say highlight projects where you were a strategic thinker, not just a “doer.” Show that entrepreneurial spirit.
Ed: Be humble yet ambitious. Know that you are new at this but show your willingness and eagerness to learn.
The Cover Letter and Resume
Elliot: The cover letter should pull together the story of your resume. Build the story from top to bottom.
Shawn: Don’t be generic with the resume and cover letter. Have many versions of your resume. Customization is a key best practice.
How to Get Your Resume in the Door
Jon: Do “warm calls.” LinkedIn is a perfect tool for implementing this tactic. Utilize your network.
Shawn: You have to walk the walk of HR. It’s a necessary evil and the easiest path to getting a “yes.”
Kate: Don’t count on your contacts to get it for you, but we are willing to help you. Your legwork combined with your network is the ideal method of getting your resume seen.
Ed: I get a rush from flustering people in the interview. Be on your toes. I like to have a conversation with the person because personality really matters.
Shawn: I also like to take you off your game because account managers encounter curve balls everyday. I like to see what’s your sense of resolve.
Kate: Dress professionally. Tell me what you learned from experiences. I really look for chemistry.
Elliot: Tell me your story—blend who you are as a person with your qualifications.
Jon: Don’t take anything for granted.
Shawn: Do not ask the question: “What’s your typical day like?” Instead, ask them how’d they get to where they are today?
Kate: Write “thank you” emails in letter format and include salutations.
Kate: Look at the total opportunity. Evaluate the totality of the experience then the salary.
Shawn: You can begin to earn more quickly but expect a starting salary of $35,000-$40,000.
Kate: Do the math. Is it the right people and the right experience for you?