How to Land A Job at Creative Agency

Five Ways for Candidates to Stand Out to Hiring Managers

Words by Tamrah Chalom, Marketing & Communications Manager
Published April 30, 2024
Last Updated July 11, 2024

In today’s competitive job market, landing a job at a creative agency requires more than a stellar resume.

Agencies want candidates who possess not only creative chops and well-rounded skills, but also a unique toolkit that will enhance the agency’s repertoire. After all, agencies are in the business of producing smart strategies and impactful ideas, so they want team members who can contribute by challenging complacency and going above and beyond for clients.

NJI Senior Human Resource Manager Kirsten Tieder and Senior Account Manager Addison Bailey share five tips to job seekers in the creative industry.

Make It Personal

In the sea of applications inundating the creative market, personalization is key. Candidates who convey personality, offer a unique perspective, share a memorable anecdote, or make a distinct connection with an existing employee can grab a company’s attention.

At NJI, authenticity is vital. “Make It Personal” is one of our core values, and candidates who bring their whole selves to work set themselves apart.

“The best candidates are the ones whose passion shines through, whose interviews go over time because we get so deep into a project,” says Tieder.

“The candidates who show the human behind their work always stand out the most.”
Kirsten Tieder NJI Senior Human Resource Manager

Cover letters are a great tool to help applicants distinguish themselves from others with similar backgrounds and highlight their soft skills and personality traits.

Go Beyond the Status Quo

Matching a job description is not enough. Candidates land interviews when they go the extra mile. Whether including an extra work sample, incorporating industry or company research, or offering strategic insights to show they’ve done their homework, candidates who put in additional work are more likely to get noticed.

“Apply intentionally and put your energy into the applications you’re most interested in. What you write and how you connect and network with people stand out more than tweaking a resume,” recommends Bailey.

At NJI, we love to see candidates using their creative talents to land the job. We’ve had designers infuse their resumes with creative elements, video producers submit a video cover letter incorporating their camera or editing skills, and development team members create custom websites.

“We look for individuals who exceed our wildest expectations and create opportunities for us to take our work to the next level. By the time those individuals join our team, they come into client work with fresh perspectives and new energy that is contagious to the whole team,” says Tieder.

Culture Fit vs. Culture Complement

Too often candidates emphasize how they fit in with an organization’s culture. But many companies aren’t looking for candidates who can blend in—they want people who will augment and enrich existing teams by contributing fresh perspectives and unique skills.

“At NJI, we look for culture adds instead of culture fits,” says Tieder. “People who align with our core values, show the ability to think creatively, and love a challenge thrive in our workplace.”

Interviews Are a Two-Way Street

Interviews are just as much an opportunity for the candidate to learn about a company as they are for a company to learn about the candidate. Don’t be afraid to clarify expectations, inquire about professional development opportunities, and ask questions about the people you’ll be working with.

At NJI, we incorporate our global team in the hiring process through a series of panel interviews, allowing candidates to meet team members across departments and portfolios. This process helps NJI and the candidate determine whether there’s a fit and understand how the candidate would operate as a member. It also ensures that when a candidate joins NJI, they already feel like they are a member of the crew.

Communication Is Crucial

Regardless of the position, exceptional communication skills and a desire to collaborate are key to success in the creative industry.

“Our team does our best work when we are all in the loop and work together to build upon ideas and concepts,” says Tieder.

Especially when working in a fast-paced hybrid environment, being able to navigate google platforms, communicate via slack, and track tasks in project management software is essential.

By embracing a hiring process that values personalization, ambition, and cultural enrichment, NJI cultivates a team dynamic that fuels our ability to deliver impactful results for our clients.

If you’re ready to push boundaries and make waves in the policy space, check out our open positions.