Career Advice from “The most Awarded Art Director Worldwide”



Written by Terra Boake
Photographs by Andrew Pieroni

From creative mentors to bootcamp instructors, our space has been buzzing with influential and motivational minds, including that of Menno Kluin who recently visited from NYC.



1. Know your goal
2. Always deliver (attitude matters)
3. Know the industry & know your boss


Know Your Ultimate Goal

“If you have somewhat of an understanding of where you want to end up, it makes the decisions along the way a whole lot easier.”

For example, if you want to end up in NYC, your decisions should tailor your path in order to get there.

Acknowledge Your Strengths & Weaknesses

“Be aware – be very self aware – know your own shortcomings and what they are and it will allow you to succeed more easily.”

Choosing your Path
Figure out which agency and people you want to work with, both will determine your outcome. Every step is an educational process where you learn new things and acquire new skillsets.


Understand Your Audience
Make sure you know who and where you want to work. What type of work do they do, what do they like to see? Now craft your portfolio accordingly.

Become a Name Not Just a Portfolio
You should have a personality and characteristics that speak louder than just your work. (Although your book needs to be awesome as well).

You’re Not The First
Modelling your career after the person you look up to will help you in the long run.

“Figure out who in the industry best represents what you represent – if there’s a character match you will do better and you can emulate whatever that person did along the way.”

Art Director + Copywriter = No Teams of 3
If you’re a team of two copywriters or two art directors, the agency will unlikely go for your team as they’ll have to hire a third. The only team that works is an art director + copywriter.

Interview Process
The interview process is 60% personal, 40% work. Having that conversation in that moment is what matters – people are looking for people they actually want to work with.

Start As High As Possible
Start at the best agency in the biggest city, one that is well respected and can give you everything you need to start out.

Menno Kluin captivates the crowd at a packed Industry Hero Event.

Photograph by Andrew Pieroni

Destined to succeed in advertising

With relentless optimism you will go a long way!


Make Them Look Good
Embrace this rule for an excellent career: Make the job of your superior easier. They will always take you along and give you the better projects if you make their life easier.

How To Get Noticed

  • Zero attitude
  • Be helpful
  • Show up on time
  • Ideas matter most
  • Figure out who the best creatives are, learn from them.
  • Don’t be shy, be social
  • Risilience

Know Your Boss
Who are they? What have they done? Study who they’ve worked for and who has worked for them so you know exactly what they’re expecting.

Always Deliver On Everything
Figure out when you’re most productive and be mindful of when you work effectively and make the most out of it. Find a routine that works for you, then do it.

Build A Crew
Finding people with similar goals will allow you to quickly figure out which ideas are good, and help turn one good idea into five great ones.

Learn from the Experienced
Just because they’re old dogs doesn’t mean their opinions don’t matter. They actually know stuff.

“Advertising is inherently ageist, but don’t dismiss the skillsets of the people that have been doing this for a long time.”


Congratulations, you’re moving up!
How can you be successful at this point in your career? This means doing things you’re not fond of, but need to master (i.e., Public Speaking).

Optimize Yourself
Observe and learn what works for you and how you dealt with the new position and the stress of a more important role – then optimize yourself toward those practices.

Expand Your Network
Sharing information will help you learn from others’ experiences and figure out how to properly deliver what’s been asked of you.

Only Move Up If you’re ready to deliver:

“You have to be able to deliver. If you take a job you’re not ready for, you will fail and have a 2 year gap in your resume where there are no results.”

A Little Bit About Menno
Currently serving as the CCO of 360i (an innovative digital agency), Menno has held high level positions at Deustch, DDB New York, Y&R New York and Saachi & Saachi NY. He’s been named “The Most Awarded Art Director Worldwide” and ranked amongst the Top 50 Young Creatives, but he has one thing in common with many other success stories, he began his career at Miami Ad School. After graduating from our Hamburg location, Menno helped develop notable campaigns such as: The World’s First Pinterest Yard Sale & First World Problems Response. Now, he’s using his experience as a step-by-step journey to
mastering the industry.

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