The Neiman Adventures: Preparing for My Journey

Hello, my name is Xand Griffin. Currently I’m an art direction intern at Neiman. I’m writing this post because my team just won a major account. Not only is it the first project I worked on, it’s a very exciting one for the agency as a whole. We were in the running for a long time, and presentation after presentation we were in the last two. Now we are the agency that company chose to work with. It’s a good feeling to win.

I had to beat someone to get into my current position. It’s not pretty, it’s not nice, but’s it’s life. There is always a loser, and I was determined to win. I loaded up my metaphorical utility belt and was on my way to the interview.

Resume, Rock Candy, and CD Portfolio

Personal branding and my variety of interests definitely helped me to get the job. My own personal selling point is that I’m a “madvertising scientist”. As I’m an art director, my resume was designed, I have my own logo, I had a special case for my materials, and my portfolio was packaged specially.

Always give them something to remember you by – I got rock candy, threw some green dye on it, and labeled it with a tag that said, “Failed Experiment #42: Try, try again”. The person who interviewed me still has the rock candy on her desk. Corny and kitschy as it may be, it gets my point across. I’m interesting. I’m creative. I’m something different. That’s what you got to do, get your own USP and run like heck with it.

Personal recommendations were also a huge part. If my teachers at Temple did not stand and deliver my accolades I don’t know if I would’ve gotten the job. You’ve heard this a million times before, but networking is everything. Talk to your teachers after class. Bring them an interesting article you might have read that relates to what they teach. Talk to your fellow classmates. They might be students now, but next year they could help you get a spot in an agency by vouching for you.

Going on a slightly different topic, I have worked at a doggie spa for 3 years now, and loved every minute of it. I love the physical nature of working with my hands and also being able to support myself mostly without my parents help. The only problem is, that experience doesn’t lend itself well to a career in advertising. So I made ways to get experience in advertising through a completely different company type.

If you like this, make sure to look for Bow Wow and Meows Spa on Facebook

I created the business’s social media accounts and redid their website. I did this so that I could not only help out my boss’s business, but to also build support on my resume for my experience. Bow Wow & Meows Grooming Spa now has over 300 active fans on Facebook, we’ve seen an increase in online reviews, and we won Philly Hot List 2011. You can always reach out, wherever you are working, and do something extra. This way it gets you good relationships and you have extra valid experience for your career.

My personal branding, my recommendations, and my experience all helped get me an edge over the standard interviewee. I like to win. Anyway, off my soap box. The reason our agency won the account was in part because of our creative process. Which I’ll go into in the next blog post, The Creative Jungle.

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  1. Go Xand!! I love your USP I haven’t seen anything like it. Im in the process right now of building a brand for myself and finishing my portfolio. Question: How long did it take or how hard was it to find your USP (I know that’s a trouble spot for me)?

    • Thank you Alex! To be honest, it took me a long time to get to my own USP. I started developing it about a year ago, but didn’t figure it out all the way till last semester. My own branding I’ve been changing around for the last three years – but once I found my USP it all fell into place.

      I think it took me so long because I did not even realize that I needed one – I just thought I had to be cool and creative on paper. The little story behind my work now, “madvertising scientist” helps tie my theme and concept together.

  2. Wow! You have such a strong drive towards your ideal career path! I loved reading about the doggy spa! That’s such an awesome accomplishment to push two of your passions together (dogs + advertising). Also, your resume is crazy cool. Good luck with everything at Neiman!

  3. Xand, I’m about to send this out to my portfolio students to read…as you know, I had a feeling about you from the first time I had you in class. You have passion, drive…and you act on your ideas—all powerful pieces of the puzzle! (Love the Madvertising Scientist too! It’s perfect for you). I tell my students they need to market themselves, separate themselves from all other applicants who have great resumés and excellent portfolios. And…one day your USP will be a match with an agency, creative director, etc…hopefully one day soon!