Recruiters share tips and tricks to getting hired in advertising

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 2 November 2018
Simon Hadfield, Sheryn Small, Courtney Robinson, Patrick Flaherty, Luke Achterstraat and Lindsay Bennett

Creating the perfect resume can be a daunting task. Not only do you need experience, but increasingly extra-curricular activities are needed to stand out from the crowd.

The industry is more competitive (and more complicated) than ever before, which is why AdNews asked some of advertising's top recruiters to share the tips and tricks that can help emerging leaders get ahead.

Sheryn Small consultant at iknowho, said recruiters and companies are impressed by people who are generous with their time. For example, getting involved in voluntary work or attending and speaking at industry events is a great way to get noticed.

"It shows the candidate is the type of future leader who is willing to go that step further and invest in their own training and development," she said.

Small was speaking at AdNews' Lessons in Leadership event, on a panel alongside Publicis Communications talent acquisition director Courtney Robinson, Scout managing director Patrick Flaherty, Hourigan International leadership consultant Simon Hadfield and Commtract CEO Luke Achterstraat.

It's no secret that personal brand has become more important than ever before, with Robinson adding that LinkedIn plays a huge role in getting hired today, with personal recommendations and referrals giving candidates a leg up.

Hadfield, whose background is in creative agencies, said Hourigan International recommends being a "person on the renaissance", which means staying well-educated and well-read.

"You need to have a view on what's going on in the world," he said. "I try and read the Australian Financial Review and I don't do it all the time, but you've got to try and make time to do it because that's what you will need in five or 10 years, depending on where you are at in your career."

Referencing the panel that had three top CEOs discuss their trajectory, including Jaimes Leggett, Melinda Geertz and Willie Pang, Flaherty said emotional intelligence is something that has come to the forefront in recent years.

"When you're building your self-brand about what you think of yourself and what others think of you too, emotional intelligence is the most powerful thing when you're coming through as a leader - to really recognise who you are as a person first and foremost."

Achterstraat added that humility is another key attribute recruiters are looking for, which can mean admitting times in your career that you've made mistakes and being open about stumbles you may have made in your career.

"The more people embrace their faults and don't shy away from them, the more authentic they are," he said.


  • Get volunteering 
  • Get involved in industry events and see if there are any speaking opportunities
  • Build your LinkedIn profile and focus on your personal brand
  • Stay well-read and well-educated on what's going on in the world and the industry
  • Be humble, authentic and transparent about your shortcomings

AdNews Live: Lessons in Leadership, was presented by MediaCom with supporting sponsors Commtract and TVSquared.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus