Hello everyone. Meet James Hodgson. Our first ever W+K Planning Placement recruit. He'll be here with us for three months getting stuck in. You'll see him popping up on the blog a lot over the coming months too. He'll be keeping you updated on his jourmey and sharing something interesting with us each week.
In his own words...
"Hello, I'm James. I am a baby proto-planner, a connoisseur of fine brazilian films from the 60s, GSOH, into long walks and thinking about how to take over the world. My other aims in life are to grow a full beard and make cool ads happen."
So those of you who follow the blog will know we ran an application and interview process in late 2012 to find potential Planners to join our team for a three month placement in 2013.
We were graced with over 500 applications, from all around the world and from all different backgrounds. Thank you to everyone who made the effort.
Eleven candidates came to see us for an interview day. The kitchen flooded, we lost power, we couldn’t offer anyone a cup of tea, but we made it through together. Everyone put in a strong effort and really impressed our judging panel.
Since then, we have been lucky enough to confirm this week three young Planners who will be joining us each for three months this year. More on them once they arrive.
In the meantime, we have collated all our feedback from the applications to help you next time. Here’s our top W+K ten application tips.
1. Understand who you’re talking to
This is a Planner's bread and butter - understanding your audience’s needs, desires and motivations. You need to show this same understanding when applying to be a Planner. The person reading your application probably has a pile of over 50 applications sitting in front of them. How do you make sure yours is noticed? Make it simple for them to read it and quick for them to find your best bits.
2. Speak to your audience personally
Show you understand them, show you know who they are. Like with W+K, show you understand our values and culture, that you’ve gone further than copying and pasting our website homepage.
3. Be careful with ‘zany’ applications
In a bid to stand out, don’t damage your application chances. Gimmicky language and CVs that the reader has to ‘decode’ can make it hard for us to get to your best bits. Be confident in allowing your application to speak for itself.
4. Keep it simple
When writing briefs, Planners need to be able to distill complex information into a straightforward solution. Treat your application in the same way. Don’t overwhelm us with information; give us a topline so we want to read on. You may have life-changing genius on page 23, but that’s no good if we stopped reading at the third paragraph.
5. Research, research, research
Show you’ve done all you can to get to the bottom of a problem. Read a book, do a Google search, download a market report. But even better get out there and speak to people, go to watch people shop in Tesco, see what people are saying online, ask your friends, your mum, your six year old nephew. Get as many opinions and facts about the problem as you can.
6. Then, FILTER
Now you’ve got all your data, separate the ‘useful’ from just the ‘interesting’. Interesting is great, but useful helps you solve your problem.
7. Structure your argument
So important! Think about the argument you want to make with your answer. Say it, say it, and say it again. Use the introduction to set up the problem, the bulk to go into depth and the conclusion to draw it all together in an inspiring way. Use formatting to help signpost the reader though your argument – bold, italics, bullet points.
8. Present it well
Planners spend their days having to present information to people and how you do this can make all the difference. We’re not saying style over substance, but don’t underestimate the power of a well-styled document. What’s more, considering the presentation of your answer forces you to prioritise the most important points.
9. Sweat the small stuff
We're all human, we get that. (And thanks to those avid readers who spotted the cunningly encoded mistake in this very post!) However, taking the time to proof read can make all the difference. We spotted spelling mistakes, typos, untitled CVs, questions missed out, clients' names spelt wrongly and even our own name spelt wrongly!
10. MOST IMPORTANTLY show us who you are
We’re an agency made up of people. People we like. Curious people. Funny people. Smart people. People who cook. People who run. People who have hidden talents. Show us you are one of those people. We want to see more than just the stuff that makes you fit the job description. We want to know about you, because you're great.
Thanks again to all who got involved, we only wish we could squeeze you all in!
Whilst it's really sad news that this is Lee Newman's last week as MD of WK Amsterdam, there's always a silver lining. And here in London we're so delighted that Clay Mills has been promoted to fill Lee's big shoes. Clay has been at the agency since February 2010 where he's been running the Heineken Global account and heading up Business Development. So he already has loads of great work and many wins to his name for the WK family...
Above is a picture of Clay. It's pretty corporate. We reckon there'll be more exciting shots to come after this weekend's Founder's Day. Congrats from us in London, Mr Mills.
Planning Director Kevin Chesters received a letter today from an admirer / stalker who wants a job at W+K (apparently the same one who previously sent us a cast of his arm in solid chocolate). The applicant thought that he would get our attention by sending us a dinosaur costume. Obvs.
The sight of Kev in costume certainly attracted attention.
Every now and then, we get a stonker of an unsolicited application. Here's one just in (name changed but otherwise unaltered):
Somebody sseer ?
OK, I will start... So, here I am. Yes.
Misha is the name. Misha, yes ... It is only written with "sh" as in french France, they do not have the "sch". Did you know that ? I didn't, before I heard of. They also heaven, no -- havn' -- have not gott (damned) "got" the "W". Did you know that ? Thsi is why my sirname at the end is written with "ff". Ja, Ja, that's what it is like... And you ? How are you doing ?
Here, it's fine, so long. Quite warm today, nearly 20 Celsiusses (or "Celsi" ?) imagine this one. Went biking for 2 hours... Oh, "cycling", moreuber, Sorry ! My English sacks a bit. But my prrronauncaician is qwite fine -- rreelly now !
Hm, what did I want ? Oh, yes: Ahm (this is German for "Er"), so you guys are running a firm that tries to make such things like -- publi...advent...publi-commarketing -- such stuff ?
Becaouse, I kuutt be tempted to give it a try as well. Oh, Yes. Yes, Yes, Yes... I ssought ssatt maybe for maquing for you, and your companies you work for as well, clear, so to say that perhaps, if you do not mind, only, for sure ! To make my point rather earlier than later, I had the idea becom -- to -- for (?) becoming, no: getting for you a -- Copywriter ? (Finally !) Hmm ? Would this amuse you a bit, maybe ?
Becaouaose I am have true super idears, ErHmmm ! Funny ones. All my friends always luuf about me. And ssey call me "The Enabler". Yes, Yes, Yes... Kuutt I has ssis tytle on my name-ticket ?
Come on, you DO want to hire me, right ? :) Ssis is no problem, london*, you are not allone, we tschust had to having has to neg...talk about all the money I want to have from you.
*Is it allowed to have sis prename in London ?
You must not have to... You do not... I expect... I have time, so don't... You know what I mean ?
Now I am a bit exh--ATCHOOO ! (Wait a second...TRUMPEEEEET !!! Sorry, I have a cold cuff)...a bit flat (plat ? plat-flat ?) me am now, from sis masterpeace hier.
So, Oh ! time is overtooking me, the counter in this internet cafe without cafe says that...10 seconds, Oh my God, london, I am waiting for your r... [PLOPP !]