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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Looking to start my career in Vietnam

Looking to start my career in Vietnam


I am a graduate student in the Academy of Art University’s Copywriting program. I want to land a copywriting job at an ad agency in Vietnam before I graduate.
I have several questions I hope you can find time to help.
1. Should I send my portfolio to agencies in the U.S. and note that I want a job in Vietnam, assuming they have offices there? Or should I send my portfolio direct to the agencies’ offices in Vietnam?
2. If sending it direct, should I mail hardcopies, attach PDFs, or email an online link to my portfolio?
3. What should my answer be when and if they ask me what I expect my salary to be? I know that the cost of living in Vietnam is very low and that Vietnamese nationals don’t get paid very well. I wonder if it makes a difference that I am a Vietnamese born American citizen. I don’t have a sense of entitlement but I do have student loans to pay back. What’s the perfect answer in this case?
4. Do you have any tips for a young copywriter who wants to work in his motherland?
I won’t forget your names in my acceptance speech!

intro Looking to start my career in VietnamSend your work directly to Vietnam. There’s no benefit to going through a U.S. agency filter that we can think of. Send hard copies to the agencies there that you’re interested in. At the same time, email their creative directors a link to your work on line. In all cases, do your homework on those agencies and customize your message. CD’s will pay a bit more attention to someone who knows their work and has an interest in their agency for their specific strengths. As for salary, we suggest that isn’t part of the pitch. Once an agency is interested enough in you to talk seriously about hiring you, ask what the salary is. Juniors aren’t in a position to negotiate, unless multiple offers are in front of you, and if that’s the case you could tell the best one you have a better offer. However, we advise strongly that you never make a move based on money, and don’t let it be a deal breaker with that better agency. There’s no harm in asking if they can improve their offer but let them see you’re not making a choice based on that. Count yourself fortunate to get a job, know that pay will be low to start but that with success comes a lot more money later.

You are going back to your home with the big advantage of a great education (we love your school) not available to most of the grads you’ll compete with. Your best story is that you’ve just graduated from one of the best schools in the U.S. and your heart is pointing you back home, where you want to make an impact on the advertising industry. A good way to get the attention of the busy CD’s in email is a subject line that says ‘Top U.S. ad school grad wants to come back to Vietnam’. (or, wants to work at [name of agency]). Good luck.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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