Know your craft first. Your time will come later.
Here are excerpts of job descriptions I’ve seen recently:
“Creative Director should have at least 5 years experience…”
“Wanted: Associate Creative Director with 3-4 years experience…”
“Hiring Creative Director. Have 5+ years working on brands…”
And we wonder why creative is so universally poor these days?
Five years of experience should barely be a mid-level creative. At that point in your career – I don’t care how good you think you are – you’re still learning (or SHOULD be learning) your specific craft. How can you possibly be expected to not only know you own job, but be able to give feedback and direct creatives with specialties that you don’t even do?
I don’t want to sound like an old man on his porch yelling at the kids to get off his lawn, but these days I see so many creatives expect to be hired at (for example) copywriter level, work for a couple years, get promoted to sr. copywriter, work for a couple more years and then get promoted to ACD.
In reality, it probably takes 2 years to move from jr. writer to writer, another 5 to go from writer to sr. writer and another 3 or 4 years to move to ACD. Of course that varies depending on talent, but not much.
Unfortunately I know way too many creative who get promoted because “Well, they’ve tried hard for a few years” or because the think they’re ready when they’re not. But that’s why we end up with sr. art directors who don’t understand the basics of leading or kerning and writers who can’t write a 20-word sentence in less than 45 words – let alone creatives who can come up with big, original ideas.
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