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Tips for Creative Leaders Looking for New Jobs

In our 2014 In-House Creative Services Industry Report, 70% of in-house creative services leaders indicated that their next career move would most likely be another in-house creative services agency. As senior leaders looking for your next career move could feel daunting, specially when almost half surveyed indicated they are not confident in the job market and opportunities available for creative leaders. While the number and size of in-house groups is on the rise, our industry is relatively small and openings for senior-level roles are far and few between and marked by the fierce competition of potentially-preferred internal candidates. Getting a new job is not a reactive process—it requires significant proactivity. Based on my past job search and those I’ve helped others with, I’ve listed some key lessons below.

Networking is key and simple with minimum effort. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to current and past colleagues. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts: you’ve made many connections throughout your career and whether new or old, near or far, they’re a group with intangible knowledge, larger connections and, perhaps even, a future opportunity looming. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many will immediately lend a helping hand, point you in the right direction and may even want to recruit you themselves. I’ve also seen direct managers refer their previous manager to join their group as their direct manager! More and more professionals are landing their next position through networking; I did.

Professional Networking Services sites, such as LinkedIn,can be instrumental with your job search. Goes without saying, updating and maintaining your resume current is important. Be sure to list your accomplishments, not just your responsibilities within your roles. You can quickly upload your resume to create your professional profiles on these sites. As you edit and refine your profile, be sure to turn off “profile updates” until you feel your profile is ready to be shared, otherwise your whole network will see each day that you are making changes—and if you are currently employed, that’s probably not a good idea. The more sophisticated networking sites have job posting as well and provide job matches for you, typically at a cost. I’m very impressed on how targeted and suitable these matches are most often. In addition to this service, you will be presented with other similar job profiles. These sites also provide additional information, allowing you to quickly make a decision to pursue an opportunity or not, including salary information, number of applicants already applied and if you have any connections at this company you can try to network yourself in through. A word of advice regarding LinkedIn: even if you aren’t job searching it makes sense to create a profile. If you are interested in getting involved with boards, industry groups and other professional opportunities, your LinkedIn profile is a way to make that known and allow you to be found.

Company Career sites are another great tool to take advantage of during your job search. Though at times these sites require a lot of upfront effort, they are worth it. Be selective on the companies you’d like to work for, find out if they have an in-house creative services group and whether they meet any other company requirements you’d prefer. Upload your resume to their career site tool, most of which may require reformatting into specific text boxes. Take the time to set your search criteria, update settings and preferences. You will receive more targeted job profile matches. This is a great way to let the tool do all the work for you. If an opening comes up within the in-house creative services group, you will receive a notification. It’s not uncommon to receive matches in other departments like marketing, corporate communications and other shared services groups.

Job Boards are not necessarily the top avenue for senior leadership roles, however they are still commonly used by corporations, as well as staffing agencies. Be selective and choose a handful of job boards, taking the time to upload your resume and set your job search criteria, settings and preferences will set yourself up to automatically receive notifications. Again, letting the tools do all the work for you.

Staffing agencies like our sister company The BOSS Group can also support your search for a full-time position. It’s imperative to make a personal connection with an executive recruiter and convey what you are looking for—be sure to mention if your search is confidential.

If you are passively looking or don’t want to set off any “alarms,” you can do all of the above privately by updating specific settings in your profiles to private or even blocking specific individuals.

Are you part of our online community on LinkedIn? Please join the open group “In-House Creative Leaders” to virtually network with more than 1,700 industry peers who may be the connection to your next opportunity.


Cindy Ponce

As Cella’s Creative Services Practice Lead, Cindy Ponce is the lead author of the In-House Creative Industry Report. In addition, she consults with Fortune 1000 clients whose in-house teams span from small and mid-sized groups to large and global service providers. Cindy’s management competencies lie in building and managing internal agency model organizations globally and effectively managing cross-functional teams worldwide. She’s known for her passion and tenacity in delivering optimal solutions with exceptional service and quality work using proven methodologies. Prior to joining Cella, Cindy built and led an international team of 65+, servicing more than 40 countries. During her tenure, she spearheaded increased service offerings to include content development and interactive capabilities.

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