Why did you seek out a career in the advertising industry?
Patience has never been my strong suit, so finding a career that allows me to see immediate results was a natural fit for me. Advertising provides the best of both worlds – a perfect combination of working directly with clients and leveraging creativity. The best part? You never get bored or stop learning. Diving into each client’s business, you become an expert in their vertical and product category. Additionally, as someone who dislikes waste (wasteful time, resources, money, etc.), accountable advertising is a path that fulfills the desire to reduce waste as we are able to maximize the cost of media and generate an ROI on the media spent. The greatest reward is seeing clients’ businesses grow and watching the executives we partner with flourish in their industries as a result of the campaign success.
What was your first job that helped you to get to where you are today?
I started out as a talent agent trainee before becoming a Television Literary Agent for the large firm, WME/William Morris Endeavor. My client management experience and expertise representing individual writers, directors and producers for TV directly translated to the advertising world. As a talent agent, my focus was on growing my individual clients’ careers. In advertising, I had the opportunity to represent a bigger entity –an entire brand.
What are your tips for preparing for job interviews?
I’ve always been someone who is over prepared for job interviews. If I had to narrow down my tips to just the 6 most important, they would be:
- Dress to impress – first impressions are everything, and your choices for how you will make a physical impact matter.
- Bring a black portfolio holder – pack extra resumes and sample work you’d like to showcase.
- Do extensive research – it’s surprising how some candidates rely on their experiences without doing the research to connect the dots. Extra effort and knowledge of case studies and people who work at the company will go a long way.
- Don’t stop at preparing for questions they might ask you – prepare questions for them. The biggest red flag in an interview is a candidate who has no questions for the interviewers.
- Show that you’re self-motivated – it’s not enough to say it. Share examples of your experiences that speak for themselves.
- Be excited – smile, show confidence and enthusiasm. No one is going to give you a job just because you have an impressive resume. People want to enjoy working with you and know that you’ll be a positive, enjoyable extension of the team.
Are there any books that have helped you along the way?
The top book that comes to mind that has helped me grow in my career is Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman. Traction is a phenomenal book and philosophy that takes the best elements out of all the business operations and team building philosophies out there and combines them into one holistic platform. It’s a game changing platform for businesses to operate on.
Things are changing very fast in the industry, how do you keep yourself updated?
- Please list techniques or newsletter, podcasts, events etc.
I have a news channel on in my office all day to see the headlines. I still scan every email that comes in for industry headlines and events. I attend both industry conferences and those that have a more global perspective (TED, Singularity, etc.) to fuel my brain and future thinking of how our company wants to give back to society as a whole. I read through hard copies of key industry trades, as well as top tier national outlets like Forbes, Fortune and Harvard Business School.
What is your advice for someone looking for job in the advertising industry?
Advertising is becoming so much more data-driven than ever before. Creativity and client service skills must be accompanied by background in statistics, programming, data science or math for success in today’s advertising world. If you’re looking for a job in advertising, strive to combine your Right Brain creativity with Left Brain data, and you’ll truly succeed in delivering ROI for your clients.
Why do you think you were selected among other candidates when you began your career?
Before I started my first job out of college, I had already interned at smaller talent agencies, film production companies, music video production companies and had done computer graphics and editing. I think I stood out from other candidates because I was an artist, but I also knew the business side and how to represent artists and their interests.
What lessons have you learned from jobs you were turned down from?
Everything is meant to be, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Every job interview is a learning experience and makes you a better interviewee.
Jessica Hawthorne-Castro is the CEO of Hawthorne, an award-winning technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns for over 30-years. Hawthorne has a legacy of ad industry leadership by being a visionary in combining the art of right-brain creativity with the science of left-brain data analytics and neuroscience