It’s not you, it’s me… and oh yea, thanks for reaching out.

Can you guess how many applications I have now sent to ad agencies?

The answer:
Over 1,100. I have personally contacted every agency in Canada and every agency in 37 American states. No word of a lie I send dozens of personally tailored and researched letters to ad agencies every day. I personally follow up with people and now send them samples of my spec ads to give them a taste of my style.

You figure with that much effort the results must be astounding, right? Wrong. As you know I was given a freelance copywriting job with Saatchi and that is all fine and dandy. I successfully wrote some febreze ads last week and I am still waiting for my next assignment.

That’s it though. Of course we are facing a recession and ad buys are down across the board and many agencies are cash strapped and simply aren’t hiring new talent but you figure I have got to stumble upon somebody who just landed a new client who now has staffing needs, right? I follow Ad Age magazine, I write to every agency that lands a new account personally and tie my letter to their new account. For example one agency was just named the AOR (Agency of Record) for Virgin Mobile. I wrote to these guys congratulated them on their new deal, introduced myself and told them that I could help make the 911 fees and other annoying billing features sexy as a joke. No response.

When you do get a response in the Ad industry people are very nice and the one line you get over and over and over and over again is “Thanks for reaching out.” If I had a dollar for every time I have had this phrase written to me in the last 2 months I wouldn’t need a job let alone one in the ad industry. Gee whiz.

I feel like I am trying to ask the captain of the cheerleading team to the prom and she won’t return my calls. On paper I am exactly what she’s looking for but no matter how creative I get or how cool I am she is going to pick the dude on the motorcycle wearing the leather jacket.

Today alone I received 9 personal emails (and its only 3pm) all of them congratulating me on my wit, creativity, ingenuity and writing ability. Presumably these are skills that these agencies would want to recruit, but in the same breath they consistently tell me that there are no openings.

Here are some excerpts of emails I have received, just today:

“Thanks for the kind words and taking the time to email XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Of all the submissions to Talent I have received to date, I must say this is one of the most witty I’ve ever read.
We’ll be going through your work and we’ll keep you on file should a need arise in the future, as we are not hiring at this time.”

Never give up your dreams. I remember times being out of work and went
through what you are going through. These are difficult times for
everyone. Take a job outside the agency business for the time being.
The experience will pay off later when you least expect it. All your
experiences will find its way into a great campaign someday. David
Ogilvy was a door to door salesman, researcher and chef before getting
a job in the business. He used much of this experience later in his

“Just shared your work with a colleague, who was also impressed with your work. ”

Thanks for your interest in RLF and a most engaging email\cover letter. It does get one’s attention. I have no openings on the horizon, but will keep your skills and creativity in mind. Best of luck with the job search.”

“I think your ads look nice and clean.”

How can something like this not catch my eye…happy to catch up with you on the phone if you’d like and have copied XXXXXX XXXXXX, our chief creative officer as well to talk.
Let me know when you might like to speak with one or both of us…we aren’t really hiring right now, but you sure cut through the clutter.
All the best.”

“Hi Liam,
Thanks for reaching out to XXXXXXXXXX. (NAME REMOVED) is our creative recruiter and is the one you should be in touch with. I’ve copied him here and forwarded all your attachments.
Good luck”

“Good evening Liam!
I did in fact receive your email as evidenced by the fact that it sits right below this message. And while having an office fern who can silly walk with the best of them is downright appealing, having a lion-clothed man who smells of raw fish and pine tar wondering aimlessly about the office is not. Which is to say, I have no budget for a new person (or fern) at this time, but will file away your silliness in case of serious silliness emergency.
Good luck in your search (and cabin building endeavors).”

“Liam, thanks for your email. You’re correct! Haven’t received one like that before. And that can be a good thing. I am directing your info to my erstwhile partner, XXXXXXX XXXXXXX, who supervises our creative discipline. His email is in case you want to shoot him a note directly. Thanks – I hope the two of you talk soon.”

I should mention here that I have a new approach with my opening email. It has become infinitely more absurd than it was originally. This is what you would receive if you are a creative director or partner at an Ad Agency:
Good day (Insert name(s) here)!

I just finished reading your website and I felt compelled by the power of Bill Bernbach to write to you and introduce myself. I hope you have 5 minutes or are a speed reader with less than a minute to spare.

We haven’t met before, but I think we should. You want interesting people, in fact you need them. So here I am – wanting to work for your agency. You have no idea how badly I want this – I actually dream about it.

I want to work as a copywriter in a Jr. position, an internship. Heck, I’d even dress up like a fern and stand in the front foyer during business hours to add to the decor if it meant me getting a crack at this place. All I need is enough to clothe, feed and house me. If you can do that at a minimum then we’re talking. If you can’t well I guess I could consider making an outfit out of loin cloth and sleeping in a self constructed log cabin in the woods. After all, I am from Canada and know how to survive this thing we call “winter” and we love the outdoors – a lot. As for the food part, I was never any good at fishing or hunting but I suppose I could give it a try if I had to, we have lots of moose and geese up here.

If you can’t stand the thought of me dressed as a potted plant in your office, then know that I just got a gig freelancing for Saatchi.

I realize you probably get more ‘job application’ emails than you could possibly shake a stick at – but I doubt you get many like this. So before you delete this I ask that you do a few things for me (I know we just met, relax, I am not asking you on a date or anything):

Read the cover letter I wrote for you (because I think it is super cool and therefore you will too) and take a look at my CV – it is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. I promise.

With all that in mind I have attached the following:

1. A mugshot so you can see who you are dealing with
2. Cover letter
3. Resume
4. An ad that I made just for you

The attachments are big so I would really appreciate it if you could email me to let me know that you received my application. This way I will know that this email hasn’t ended up in the nebulous world of the internets.

Also, you should know that my portfolio dwells in this internet cave: – keep an eye out for the cover letter inside.There is a lot of spec ad material in there. You will find the most relevant stuff in the “Print” folder. If I modified an ad previously made I simply included the original, labeled it as such and included my revised versions with the new copy, you tell me if I improved the ads. Some of the ads are original concepts that I wrote and designed myself. My favourite work is in the “Smart Car” and “Vespa” folders located inside the “Print” folder.

Thank-you very much for considering my application and I hope to hear from you soon!




This has definitely yielded a lot more responses! People are taking notice that’s for sure. But what give with one of Toronto’s best independent agencies? I emailed their HR Department, and every single partner, all 11 of them and I have not received a single response. Makes me wonder.

Now, this isn’t meant to be all gloom and doom, it’s just simply a sample of what I deal with each and everyday. I wake up early apply and by the end of the day I am so thoroughly frustrated that I can’t imagine applying anymore, but then I wake up the next day and realize that if I stop applying opportunities will stop presenting themselves. Funny how that works.

Before I go I want to apologize for not writing at all in the past two weeks. My mind has been in other places.

Peace in the Middle East,



2 responses to “It’s not you, it’s me… and oh yea, thanks for reaching out.

  1. Hang in there Liam!

    Here’s some advice that my grandfather shared with me that applies to both business and pleasure. Hopefully, it will help on your quest.

    1) Be accomodating, but never obsequious.

    2) A real man stays Clint Eastwood cool at all times.

    3) Stop caring about if you f*ck her or not, just enjoy the thrill of the chase.

    Good luck!

  2. Luke,

    Thanks million for this awesome comment. Your grandfather is clearly a wise man.

    I guess you are right, there is a certain thrill in all of this.

    Trying to keep cool, like ice. That’s pretty cool.


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