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How to get a job in advertising: Don't think you deserve one, says LIDA's Nicky Bullard

The Drum meets LIDA creative director Nicky Bullard in the latest of a series with twistorstick speaking to leading figures to find out what it takes to get a job in industry

Interview by Marc ShelkinWork hard, be interesting and clever, take the industry by surprise and don't think you deserve a job - those are the top advertising industry job tips from Nicky Bullard, one of the creative sector's most respected names.Known for the cheeky and brilliant Carte D'Or 'he's not your dad' Sunday roast advert, Bullard is now creative director at LIDA, M&C Saatchi, and can boast a wealth of industry accolades under her leadership. Through grinding hard work, late nights drawing up pitches and as many hours as she could work, Bullard climbed her way up the and says anyone looking to get through the door must be prepared to do the same."I do think there's a sense of 'I deserve a job' from a lot of youngsters which there certainly wasn't when I was knocking on doors. You can't go into industry and think you're going to work from nine until six and that's it, you've got to put the hours in. As they say, you only get out what you put in."Bullard originally planned to be a journalist but, after being introduced to copywriting, pursued a job in the advertising world instead. Her advice to those beginning that same journey is to be original and happlily offers some key tips to anybody who might approach her own door."Surprise me. I like a bit of direct mail, something interesting, do something a bit different. Don't just send me an email with the link to your online portfolio - I hate online portfolios. I'd rather you came in and showed me your work, talked me though it."If someone surprises me in the first instance I'm going to think they're clever and interesting and then I'll look at the work."The creative director has over 20 years of experience of jobs in the advertising industry and was named number five in Campaign's top 10 creative directors after taking on the role at Lida. Bullard counts being named in playwright Alan Bennett's book, Untold Stories, as a career highlight, when he called her Carte D'Or ad a "stroke of genius" and said he wished he'd written it.When starting out, Bullard looked up to Saatchi & Saatchi, and remembers the excitement of gaining a placement at the Charlotte Street office in London."They were it. I just remember walking in there and it was really glamorous. I was sitting there working away at 10pm at night and just watching the gorgeous Graham Fink waltzing up and down the corridors - and sneaking into his office, which I probably shouldn't have done. It was just so cool, the work was cracking and they had a filing cabinet of silk cut ads that were just amazing, it was an ongoing brief and people were just trying to outdo each other. It was highly competitive.With a great sense of humour, Bullard has been known for dabbling in stand-up comedy and is currently writing a play about the 7/7 London terrorist bombings. Throughout her career, there is one piece of advice that she always calls on."There's always a better idea. You can bust your gut and think you've got the most amazing idea you've ever had and then the client blows it. You come back and your chins on the floor but actually, if you keep going, there will always a better idea."Rounding off the interview, Bullard took part in a quick-fire questions round.Cannes Lion or D&AD Pencil?D&AD PencilOlympic gold or Oscar?OscarWho is the brightest person you've worked with?Matthew HeathWho is the most creative person you've worked with?Tim StylesWho is the best looking person you've worked with?Never worked with any good looking people - oh, Graham Fink, very good lookingCreatives or suits?CreativesMoney or Happiness?HappinessApple or Android?AppleDegree or no degree?No degreeRetained work or pitched work?BothArt directors or copywriters?CopywritersWeb or mobile?MobileFacebook or Twitter?NeitherAnt or Dec?Ant, big head, love itOutsourced production or onsite production?Depends on the jobDon Draper or Roger SterlingDon DraperAnd lastly, twist or stick?TwistTo find an advertising job in London or any area of the country, visit The Drum's job section

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