Even if you’ve been working in a related field in the same city, the agency game can be a tough nut to crack. Break into agency life with these three proactive, positive ways you can work to make it happen.

1. Network.

This is the most important part. For some people, this is pretty fun, but for others, it’s not. How should you get started? Check in on agency calendars – many of them throw events that are open to the public. Open house-type opportunities are a great way to make a good impression in a low-pressure atmosphere. If you’re really attracted to a particular agency, weave their culture into your life. Hit up their creatives’ art shows and music gigs. Cultivate mutual recognition.

2. Start doing it.

Are you looking to provide visual services? Writing? Learn as much as you can about it and use your down time to build skills and awareness relevant to the field you wish to pursue. Use strategies like these to keep learning and growing, or dive into the incredible range of resources available online. Blogs, online courses, and endless reading and viewing archives are within reach.

3. Appreciate the seed-planting phase.

Any sort of introductory meeting you score through a contact is going to get you hyped up with nerves. It’s may not be a job interview exactly, but it’s a close relation. Most of the time it’s not going to pay off immediately in the form of a job or freelance gig. That doesn’t mean it’s wasted time. Getting in front of people at agencies is important. At the very least, an informational interview could be beneficial. It’s a seed-planting stage that will put you in people’s minds. It could be months before something comes up that makes them think to contact you.

Wherever you start, the point is to get started. You’ll learn things along the way, you’ll meet different types of people, and who knows, instead of trying to break into agency life, one day, you might have what it takes to open your own agency.


Marjorie is a former Creative Circle candidate based in Portland who recently accepted a full-time offer for her dream job. She is a writer/editor and stylist/producer with an emphasis in the design world. If you are interested in working with someone like Marjorie, please contact your nearest Creative Circle office.

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