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Who's Mark?

Oh, that's my official first name. My parents called me Mark Russell and then immediately started calling me Russell. Always causes confusion with passports or anything official.

Wow, I had about 14 of those in 1970. The best was from P&G enclosing a cheque for 20 quid to cover travel expenses to Newcastle. Dire Straights - Another time, another place.

I got offers from agencies called Roles & Parker and Napper, Stinton, Wooley and did a few months at both as a trainee; then a big break at FCB as a junior media planner/buyer. 2 years later: the big time - JWT as a planner/buyer on Kellogg´s and Guinness. Fun times, great people and the start of my interest in Planning.

Sorry to ramble. . .

Those letters bring back memories of all my ad agency rejections too. In fact they're almost exactly the same as the ones 15 years later! Agencies always seem to get the number of grads they're hiring wrong. I was lucky enough to get work experience at a small agency and wrangle a job after my failure to get a grad job.

BTW isn't Cilla Snowball quite important these days?

Wow, this post is so humbling.

I kept all mine; lovely ones from Rupert Howell, Allen Thomas, the ubiquitous Ros King and Bill Muirhead - and a phenomenally cuntish one from John Banks, when he was at his meretriciously hubristic Y&R zenith. I might scan mine up, too...

This is a genius post. Lets all get out rejection letters out and show that by and large they hired the no mark wankers and rejected the people that actually went on to contribute real value to the advertising industry like you.It confirms my suspicion - that graduate recuitment is simply a corporate vanity exercise for agencies tomake themselves feel important. BTW I was rejected by and worked with Cilla Snowball (from O&M and at AMV) too - maybe there is an anti-Snowball League.

It is funny that we often define ourselves by our failures as well as our successes. In fact, the failures often make for the best stories (only once the wounds have healed) and tend to become more interesting over time.

How many rejection letters have you written that may turn up on someone else's blog in years to come?

I have loads of these letters too. I remember my Dad telling me I'd have to apply to 100 jobs before I got one. He was about right.

Once as an experiment a friend and I applied for the same job as a designer on a Motorcycling magazine (we were desperate). I wrote a typical letter, Dear Sir, really passionate etc etc and he just wrote Dear John, Vroom vroom, Yours Sincerely.

I received a standard fob off, he received a long personal letter explaining how seriously they'd considered his application.

This post really cheered me up.

And I'm quite curious about the cuntishness of Adam's letters.

Good question Lebowski. I don't remember writing many. I didn't hire or not hire a lot of people. And of course head-hunters make the process helpfully impersonal.

I suspect most rejections these days are via email, which while potentially more keepable are, I suspect, actually more disposable. Unless you get one so horrible that you forward it to the world.

Has anyone out there got a rejection letter from me? Was it horrible? (Incidentally, I'm not saying any of the letters above were especially bad. The whole process, apart from not getting a job, was really fun.)

I'm intrigued by Adam's letters too. I think perhaps, though, that we should moderate our language. People's parents read this.

I'm out in Los Angeles, and I'm struck by how many of the letters give feedback on how you could have performed better during the interview process. That strikes me as really extraordinary, I've never had someone tell me how I could have done better at getting a job from them. I wonder is that a British custom? Does it still happen today, or is that a custom from the 80s?

Tell us more about 'your band', Russell. Is that what put you off guitars?

"Cilla Snowball"?! What a great name. If a poor judge of character, of course.

In a similar vein, I saved my uni acceptance and rejection letters. Interesting because I applied to schools both in the US and UK ... I'll have to check back to see if there's any difference in approach or tone between cultures.

I think I might be able to find a rejection letter from Wieden in Amsterdam. Quite different to the standard British 'it was very difficult for us to decide' letter. Although nowadays, it's nice to get a letter at all.

Great post. I liked all those comments about your reluctance to sell yourself and apparent lack of keenness in comparison to other candidates. I don't think this has changed much!

I'm an American that applied to UK agency grad schemes. I've kept all my rejection letters too. I cannot bear to depart with them, likely due to all the work I put into the applications! US agencies don't typically follow up with a rejection letter, they'll just phone you.

In the British agencies I did interview with, I never received specific feedback, it was very general. And that was '03-'05. Trying to get specifics was like pulling teeth. As for the 20 quid you received, Rodney, I traveled from America for one grad scheme interview and was not compensated even for my Tube fare! (I did manage a good pity spree in TopShop on my own dime though.)

Russell, any thoughts on the British style of recruiting, as opposed to how Americans hire new grads - basic interview, no gimmicks? I found the whole process intriguing, and unnecessarily nerve-wracking.

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