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Career Stories - Maria

picky.com, the style site on Oxygen

My first job was an International Research Assistant at Grey Advertising, New York.

AEF: How many people did you have to meet with?

Maria: Three - an HR person, the International Research Manager (my immediate boss), and the SVP of Grey International.

AEF: Did they ask you any surprising questions?

Maria: No - they had seen my résumé, and I'd been referred by a recruiting firm, so the Manager's questions were mostly about what I liked, did I think this job would be appropriate for me, was I excited at the prospect of what would essentially be a lot of academic work, etc. The meeting with the SVP was fairly perfunctory, since the Manager had already met me and liked me; so he was just sort of checking me out. They were both very nice, very mild people.

AEF: How long a period of time were you there being interviewed?

Maria: About an hour -- an hour and a half.

AEF: How long a period of time passed between your interview(s) and your start date?

Maria: About five days.

AEF: How were you notified that you were hired?

Maria: I was pretty sure that I had the position when I left, because they'd both been quite enthusiastic. Then I got a call from the recruiter the next afternoon; she told me they'd made an offer. We negotiated salary for about a day or two and then I accepted.

AEF: Did you send a thank-you note?

Maria: I sent each of them a thank you note that afternoon. I think you have to send something, even if it's hastily written or via e-mail, as long as it's gracious - and grammatically correct, with the name of the addressee spelled correctly. Maybe I'm a doddering old lady, but I would hesitate to hire someone who didn't send one.

AEF: Things you know now that you wish you knew then:

Maria: That you don't need to wear a knee-length skirt suit, even to an interview at Grey. This one is so inane, but that you really should just be yourself; it's a hard industry with long hours, and talent notwithstanding, a lot of how you do will ultimately be determined by how much people like you.

AEF: Things you wish someone had told you when you were just starting out:

Maria: The truth? That advertising can be extraordinarily tough for women. Maybe that's changing. I hope it does. I can't say if dot coMaria are better places for women to work as a rule, since I work for a web site for women, staffed largely by women.

AEF: How many jobs have you had since then?

Maria: From my first job at Grey I moved to another big agency for almost three years, then to an Internet start-up, and then to my current job - which I wouldn't have gotten without my agency experience.