“Be yourself” can seem like risky advice in a competitive job market. But you know what’s riskier? Being nobody. Apple Ad Man Ken Segall explains how he followed his passion to a storied career in advertising.
Ken Segall: Sometimes people ask me, you know, what's the best way to get involved with a company like Apple, and it's interesting because I remember my own early days just trying to break into the business in general. I received advice by—you know, I went to copy school to learn how to write ads, and we're talking really, really basic stuff, but they teach you there that you need to put together a portfolio and you need to make it diverse and show that you can handle all kinds of things, like technology and food and restaurants and cars. And I dutifully did those things and I went off to the big city. I was living in LA at the time. I went off to New York, which was the big city, went around and really got nowhere. It took me like six months, but near the end of that time a wise person said, "What are you passionate about? Why don't you, like, pick something and really show someone you can work on that?"v
So I did, and technology, surprisingly, was my thing. And I remember what it was: I did a campaign for a—I would say it's a DVR, but in those days it was a videotape recorder, and it was about some cool way to watch television, you know, being able to record it. But I really blew it out and I did, you know, instead of just doing one or two ads, I did like 20 of them, and I showed that I had this passion for this category and that . . . you know, the theory was that you'll bump into an agency that shares your passion, and they'll be more turned on as opposed to some guy who knows how to do a detergent ad.
So I'm using marketing, advertising, as an example, but I actually believe this applies across the board to pretty much any industry, that, you know, rather than trying to show someone that you can do absolutely anything . . . you know, "Whatever your need is, I can fulfill it" . . . why don't you decide what it is you're passionate about? If you have a passion, describe it. Make it obvious to someone who's interviewing you that you are really, really into this thing. And when you find someone who is looking for that thing, they're going to be a lot more impressed with you than some person who . . . "I like these ten things, which one do you have?"
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd