What do I need to know to land an account director gig at a direct marketing agency?

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In today's competitive market, experience, tactical expertise, education and a mantel-full of industry awards may not be enough to land you a job, let alone your dream job. In fact, they may only be enough to get you a "thanks for your time." To stand apart, you'll need more.

At Wilde Agency, we recognize the importance of an expanded skill set that goes beyond the traditional and expected. Let me share two things I look for in an account director.

First, be human. Too many of the candidates we see try to be perfect. They focus on what they've accomplished, their successes and how "good" they are. As people, I think we learn far more from our failures than from our successes. I learn far more about a candidate and his or her true strengths by learning about how they've dealt with adversity.

The truth is, things happen. Unpredictable things. Not always good things. Especially in direct marketing, and especially in account management — or, as we refer to it, client advisement. Emphasize how you've been tested by and navigated through something for which you couldn't have been prepared. Describe a situation in which you've been uncomfortable yet followed the truth, won a hand with the cards you were dealt - or ground past the status quo to achieve something notable. Remember, it's not only about the products, it's about the process.

Second, as with any communication, you need to be relevant. Know the company you're speaking with. Go beyond what's published and find out what makes them tick, and what their aspirations are. Knowing where they've come from, where they want to go and how you can help them get there — information that's relevant to your interviewer — can catapult you out of the pack and into the lead. l

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