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September 30, 2013
Making the Jump from Agency to Client-Side Gigs
 
Hello there! So, you work on the agency side and are thinking about making the move over to “the dark side” – the client side. You are not alone. Many senior-level agency professionals are now looking for client-side gigs. So, just how do you compete?
 
Fret not, job seeker. As an agency person, you have several advantages.
 
You are not bound to one industry.
 
As an experienced agency veteran, no doubt you have worked on many different brands and over a variety of categories. This means you might qualify for more jobs.
 
You have “been there, done that” more than others.

You have experience helping clients solve many kinds of marketing challenges. Again, this expertise can mean you’re a good fit for more positions.
 
There’s also a potential benefit to employers here, too. Sure, you can solve the current challenge faster and more efficiently than others. But you can also continue to be valuable in the future, as the brand evolves. You’re a “utility player” for the company.
 
You possess a larger and different network of contacts.
 
This is another positive aspect of your past work experience! Your network includes more than just clients. You know agency people, suppliers, media reps and more. The more folks that keep an eye out for you, the greater the chance you have of uncovering a good gig that fits you well. Who knows, a friend can even put your resume in the right hands.
 
You bring innovative thinking to a given job.
 
The ways you solved a problem in one category can be seen as new and innovative in another. This thought can be particularly helpful if you are trying to get a job in which you have no direct industry experience.
 
You are more current than the average bear.
 
Some client-side professionals are behind the times. As an agency person, clients expected you to be more on top of the latest marketing trends. This understanding can be sprinkled into job search cover letters and through interviews.
 
If you’re particularly digitally savvy, you can also leverage social media to learn more about a particularly brand, company or hiring manager. All of which can help you stand out from the next candidate.

You just might communicate better, too.
 
Senior-level agency people tend to communicate well. Need a 25-page deck on brand challenges by this afternoon? No problem. Have to present the latest plans to the board? Bring it! You are comfortable thinking, writing, and delivering a smart point of view. Your communication chops will help you in the search process.
 
You can also use the interpersonal and client-handling skills you have honed in agency life to articulate, align, and energize a team. Any client would welcome these proven abilities.
 
Of course, none of the above suggests you are intrinsically better than folks with client-side only past experience. These are just ways of thinking about your agency background in a potentially different way. At the minimum, it offers up some hope and a little positive juju as you search for the right job. Your years of working on the agency side bring many benefits. Sometimes, it just helps to be reminded of them!

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Business consigliere Steve Congdon owns Thunderclap Consulting Group, a boutique that helps agencies grow through smart, relevant new business prospecting and closing activities. Find him online at http://thunderclapcg.com.
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