The Secret to Landing an Entry-Level Job as a Creative Professional

March 9, 2016

Survey Shows Hiring Managers Rate Experience as Top Criterion When Evaluating Creative Candidates

Toronto, ON -- Landing an entry-level job requires work, literally, according to new research from staffing firm The Creative Group. Thirty-four per cent of advertising and marketing executives surveyed rated previous experience as the most important factor when hiring entry-level creative talent. Interview performance followed, with 28 per cent of the response.

View an infographic of the survey findings.

“While it goes without saying that a strong resume and portfolio significantly improve the chances of landing a job interview, in an increasingly competitive hiring market, professional experience is becoming more essential for entry-level applicants,” said Deborah Bottineau, senior regional manager of The Creative Group. “Students and recent grads should be open to exploring internships or temporary work opportunities, which allow them to cultivate practical business skills and demonstrate to potential employers their ability to add value in a new role from day one.”


Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “Which of the following do you consider most important when hiring an entry-level creative professional?” Their responses:


Previous experience


Interview performance








Social media presence


Other/don’t know





*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.

The Creative Group offers five tips to creative professionals looking to land an entry-level job:

  1. Put your skills to use. Internships and freelance projects enable you to gain hands-on experience and get your foot in the door with prospective employers. Some of these opportunities can even turn into full-time roles.
  2. Perfect the basics. Ensure that your resume and cover letter are error-free. One typo could cost you an interview, especially for a competitive position.
  3. Display your work on the Web. No matter what type of creative role you’re pursuing, a digital portfolio is a must -- it’s how you back up the skills on your resume. Always test and consider the user experience of the site before promoting it.
  4. Polish your online presence. Hiring managers are increasingly reviewing social media to learn about candidates. Make sure the content you share represents your personal brand and showcases your skills, expertise and dedication to the profession.
  5. Always be networking. Word of mouth is still the best way to drum up job leads. Join business networking groups and industry associations and partner with a specialized staffing firm to expand the circle of people who can help you with your employment search.

About the Research

The survey was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 400 U.S. advertising and marketing executives.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project and full-time basis. More information, including online job-hunting services and candidate portfolios, can be found at Follow TCG’s blog and @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, [email protected]