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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Switching careers; do I really need ad school at my age?

Switching careers; do I really need ad school at my age?


I want to start a career in advertising, but I was wondering if it was a realistic path for me. See, come from a fine-arts background of painting and drawing at SAIC. After graduating, I’ve been working as a marketing assistant and in house, jack of all graphic design, for three years, so I know my way around Adobe programs and such. The thing is, all my work has been for only 2 clients (the places I’ve worked at) and while it was effective & approved work, it’s not reflective of my creative voice.
So how the heck do I build a portfolio and get a job in advertising? Can I do it on my own alright? I’ve got a BFA. Or is portfolio school a must? If I apply right now, I’ll be like 31ish when I’m done. Now be honest, will hiring managers only be interested in the work of 22-25 year olds? Will I have to get microdermabrasion and plastic surgery to trick them into considering me?
Please let me know what you think. Your time & thoughts are greatly appreciated.
Sincerely,
Art Degree, not Art Director

intro Switching careers; do I really need ad school at my age?The real question is do you really want a career in advertising, or is it a default career? The people who make it are passionate about it, really on fire to do the job. Your age isn’t the issue. One of the better art directors we know didn’t start his art direction career till he was almost 40.

You have a good background to hit the ground running. Your fine arts and design experience is relevant and a good springboard. However you do have a lot to learn to become an art director (we assume that’s your goal). A good portfolio school is a good way forward. We know some who have instead had big help from mentors in the business to build their books. Ideally, we’d go the school route.

Again, the question to ponder is what do you really want. Starting “late” doesn’t matter if your goal is clear and it’s grounded in true interest. If not, we’d suggest you keep thinking about what would make you happy to go to work every morning.

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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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