In my opinion, there hasn’t ever been an easy time to get into advertising; however, in the COVID era, it has definitely got to be one of the hardest times. The competitiveness that already exists within the industry was amplified twice over, frightening a recent graduate and strategy enthusiast such as myself out of my wits. The cherry on top of this COVID-induced dread was that I am an international student with an extremely narrow professional network in the country. Sounds peachy, right?
After a few jittery days, I made friends with my worries and calmed myself down, thinking, “Am I cut out for advertising if I’m unable to treat this situation as a high-stakes, but nonetheless solvable, problem?”
It was then that I got to work — polishing my skill set, working on personal projects and reaching out to people I thought were inspirational (in other words, people whose jobs I was vying for). The introvert in me was crying happy tears — Coursera, LinkedIn, Behance, Zoom and Canva are now my new best friends. Trying my best to not judge the effectiveness of these practices in terms of how quickly I’ll be able to land a job — between this and working part-time — I was very happily occupied throughout my days.
The first silver lining was landing a strategy internship at an esteemed agency in Toronto, albeit part-time. The second one was that slowly and steadily, after corresponding with so many brilliant, talented and kind professionals, I realised that I was becoming a more confident strategist and overall, a better communicator. Keeping the hundreds of rejections (internship, job and freelancing applications, LinkedIn messages and what not) aside, that’s when I knew I was doing something right.
In other words, proactivity became my second nature — emailing my coworkers with all my ideas every week, reading up to be able to contribute better in team meetings and most importantly, acknowledging when I needed a moment to gather my bearings.
The key is to keep trying and focusing on the little things that do end up working out. In these unprecedented times, these little nudges of positivity are enough to propel me forward. These, Baileys and tons of chicken curry.