Never stop practicing and creating. Advisory board member Desmond Hall believes that a creative "relentlessly searches for the new" and he's right, you have to be relentless about your pursuit to stay current with the latest tools used to produce you ideas.
Develop your skills. Your mind creates the ideas but you have to know how to use your creative tools to execute them. Whether that be, writing, drawing, computer programs or your brain, learn to use them all in order to execute your ideas.
Keep going until you feel like you can’t go anymore. Then go some more.
Start putting together a portfolio, it will be the most important part of your creative career. Gather your ideas and ads in paper to show others what you've created and your skills. You can keep a printed book or a website.
Join an advertising club in your school or city. If there aren’t any ad clubs we can help you start one. Advertising Clubs create a community of people helping you develop ideas and are a great way to form partnerships to execute concepts. If you don’t know much about ad agencies, this will provide a lot exposure to what it means to work as a creative.
Always be nice and work hard. Personality and work ethic are everything.
Practice your skills at an Ad Club. Share your ideas, look for mentors and get feedback from those already working in the industry.
Start building your professional network of resources. Collect business cards. Make friends. Share emails. "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Advertising is a close-knit community and ten key connections can open you up to fifty people.
Attend a portfolio school and/or college with an advertising program if you think this path is right for you. You will be encouraged to research, think, practice, network and get a taste of what working in a real agency is like.
Many universities have advertising programs that teach you all facets of the industry from media planning to creative to give you a well-rounded education. Many also encourage internships and have teachers who have worked in advertising.
Portfolio schools have only been around since the mid seventies, but serve as a creative bootcamp. Many of the teachers are currently working in the industry and the focus here is boosting your thinking, creative and presenting skills so you can get a solid portfolio and be more ready for a job.
Internships are a great way to gain experience in a structured program. Some internships are paid but many are free. The most important thing is make the most of these internship opportunities by asking questions, networking and practicing.
Freelance at an agency or local marketing company. Some companies look for freelance creatives when need special or additional help. Or you can offer your services to companies in need of your services for at a fee.
Enter contests. Ad clubs, brands, agencies and even schools are always having contests you can enter to show off your work and get a name for yourself.
Get a job. These experiences will look good on your resume and help give you a strong and creative portfolio. Research and visit agencies to see which one you’ll fit in best at and soon you'll be able to earn a position as a creative professional. Emphasis on "earn" – you are not entitled to anything regardless of how great you think you are.
Remember a good personality will take you far, so be humble and eager to learn.
FAQs (answered by top creatives)
What do I do if I can't think of an idea?
Quit thinking about it. Do something that is so far removed from your task, that when you come back to it, you see it with fresh eyes. In other words, stop looking for the creative long enough to let it find you. –– Fran Westbrooks
Do I have to be able to draw to be a creative? What do I have to know how to do?
No, although having some drawing ability does help to communicate your ideas. In order to be a creative, I believe the most important things are to be able to continuously spend time coming up with ideas over and over again, to constantly be learning from the world around you and to have a willingness to experience things from different perspectives. –– Carlos Fernandez
What are the steps to getting a job as a creative in advertising?
Though there is no right way to become a creative in advertising, in recent years the doors have opened in many ways to get into the field. Previously getting into the industry meant you either had to know someone or you needed to be related to someone.
Today, most agencies have internship programs, colleges have advertising programs and portfolio schools allow students to prepare for a career in advertising through teaching and technical understanding of the industry. –– R. Vann Graves
Do I need a portfolio? If so how many pieces do I need in my portfolio?
The answer is unequivocally Yes.
The concern is over the quality of the work, never the quantity of examples.
Yes, normally it would be difficult to land the job with only one sample, but if it is dynamic, innovative and relevant enough to the viewer then anything is possible. –– John Jay
How do I know which type of creative to be?
This is really a gut check. Life on the creative side is filled with long hours and lots of rejection. So this job really has to be one that you'll love doing - even after the clock strikes midnight and you are still in the office (yes, it will happen often.)
So if you're a great communicator, have a penchant for words or enjoy writing - fiction, poetry, song lyrics, etc. - then copywriting is probably for you.
If you are a visual person, love design, can express yourself best non-verbally or you\'re an artist at heart - then you may be more comfortable with art direction. –– Shameka Barbosa
What are steps to get a job as a creative in advertising?
Though there is no right way to become a creative in advertising, in the recent years the doors have opened in many ways to get into the field. Previously getting into the industry meant you either had to know someone or you needed to be related to someone. Today most agencies have internship programs, colleges have advertising programs, and most recently portfolio schools have opened up allowing students to prepare for a career in advertising through teaching and technical understanding of the industry. –– R. Vann Graves