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Hopefully this meets the FAQ under the 'Non-fiction, technical' section.

I work as a Graphic Designer, but I want to apply for a job as an Advertising Account Manager. While my title at my current job says "Graphic Designer," in practice I do a lot more then that. Our company is frankly pretty bad, and as a result our Acct Mgrs just try to lie and swindle to get clients to sign a contract; then they pass the file off to me to do everything else. They don't follow-up with me, they don't proof the ads, they don't do anything but convince the person to sign the contract - I do everything beyond that. On multiple occasions clients thought I was the Account Manager, because they end up talking more to me then with the actual Acct Mgr. I've also been responsible for some up-selling and finding new leads.

I do freelance on the side which means I am my own Acct Mgr for those clients. Part of being an Acct Mgr is being a good Brand Ambassador, and I've got experience in that area too - I served in the US Peace Corps, which is very much being a Brand Ambassador 24/7 in the "glass fishbowl," as they like to say.

Part of me wants to just explain the above without being negative towards my current job. The other part of me wants to write in a way that shows I understand the point. Something like

I am a creative, friendly, detail-oriented problem solver. I thoroughly enjoy analyzing questions and designs to make sure that they serve their point and are completely free of errors. For the work I do, that is to communicate an idea and create interest in a product or company. In the case of this letter it is to create interest in myself. If offered a position I would bring this same dedication, salesmanship, creativity, and outstanding attention to detail in creating an interest in both AGENCY NAME, and in our clients.

But I'm concerned in the above that it doesn't really explain my experience and my resume doesn't particularly show Acct Manager experience just Graphic Design experience. How could I better convey the above and also explain my current experience without it becoming too long?

The description:

AGENCY has an opening for an experienced and ambitious Account Director. This person will drive new business and manage creative marketing programs utilizing our full range of services—design, digital, strategy, and product development.

The Account Director will be responsible for developing a deep understanding of client needs and objectives, and managing resources to deliver relevant, integrated solutions. A successful candidate will be able to lead several multi-disciplinary projects simultaneously, while still identifying and developing the next great client opportunity. Expert communication, project management experience, and creative thinking required.

Job Functions: Account Management, Business Development & Sales, Design Management, Marketing, Project Management, Research, Strategy & Planning

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Interesting question! I've done some minor edits and re-titled to focus on your primary difficulty. If I misunderstood anything or made a poor edit, you can edit anything right back. –  Standback Mar 6 '12 at 13:11
    
Thanks, I see nothing wrong it. I did edit out the company's name just now as I didn't even realize I put it in there. –  Ryan Mar 6 '12 at 13:44
    
I also have an Account Manager here that is willing to speak on my behalf to confirm all of this and that I'm capable of doing an excellent job. Perhaps I should be a bit unconventional and include that directly in the Cover Letter as well? –  Ryan Mar 6 '12 at 13:49
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2 Answers 2

I agree with Lauren Ipsum's answer. Some additional points:

The paragraph you posted for the cover letter talks about what you want to do, but you've actually done this. Call that out; lots of people have aspirations, but you've got solid experience. Consider working in something like the following:

My current position allows me to go beyond the traditional scope of a graphic-design position. I work directly with customers to do (thing) and (thing), demonstrating my creativity, flexibility, and knowledge of (domain). (Something about positive customer reactions.)

Second, on the resume itself, make sure you call this out. I have been in positions where my official job title was "technical writer" but I was doing programming, technical leadership, and project management besides. On my resume I address this in two ways: first, I have a section up front called "key qualifications" that talks about what I'm good at (the "functional resume" approach). Second, in the job-listing section, I add summary notes right after the job title, like this:

Company, dates
Senior Technical Writer (programming, interface design, team leadership, documentation)

Anecdotal evidence suggests that this has worked for me, though I have not been on the market in the last few years so I'm not as up on current trends.

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Thanks these seem like really good tips! –  Ryan Mar 6 '12 at 18:29
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Been there, done that, designed the T-shirt. Some suggested bullet points, mix and match as needed:

  • Acted as secondary point-of-contact with clients
  • Assisted Account Managers in dealing with client contacts
  • Acted as junior Account Manger. Handled significant direct client contact. Upsold existing clients, generated new leads.

Be blunt about what you did. Put the Brand Ambassador material into the cover letter.

ETA I wanted to address your blockquote:

I am a creative, friendly, detail-oriented problem solver. I thoroughly enjoy analyzing questions and designs to make sure that they serve their point and are completely free of errors. For the work I do, that is to communicate an idea and create interest in a product or company. In the case of this letter it is to create interest in myself. If offered a position I would bring this same dedication, salesmanship, creativity, and outstanding attention to detail in creating an interest in both AGENCY NAME, and in our clients.

I have a number of problems with this.

  • Is it in the job description that you are supposed to be nitpicking everything which crosses your desk to figure out if it's doing the job it's supposed to do? Isn't it the job of the Art Director to make sure that a design fulfills its purpose before the job is, you know, designed?
  • Is proofreading part of the job description?
  • Right now you are the designer. Is it your job right now to come up with the concept of the ads? That is, are you also the marketer?
  • "In the case of this letter..." Yeesh, don't call attention to the man behind the curtain like that. The entire point of a cover letter is to create interest in yourself. Why else would you be writing one? If this clunky and obvious line is an example of how you're going to create interest in a product, you're not doing a good job.
  • "If offered a position..." That's fishing. You can talk about all those qualities, but in the context of "I bring these X qualities to bear on every job I do" and leave the implication that those qualities could help the employer to whom you are applying.
  • You can only use "our clients" if this is a move within your existing office; I'm unclear from your intro.
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I'd be very grateful for any suggestions regarding any part of what I wrote including what's in the blockquote. Those are well worded bullets for sure. You think its okay saying, "Acted as junior Account Manager" even though I don't hold that title and my office doesn't even have such a position? –  Ryan Mar 6 '12 at 17:50
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Yes, because a resume is intended to get your foot in the door. It's showing what skills you have. By saying you "acted" as a jr acct mgr, you are describing the tasks you did. Once you get an interview, then you can explain in detail what that line means. I will edit my answer to address the other issue. –  Lauren Ipsum Mar 6 '12 at 18:48
    
I just added the posting to the question for you to see. It is not within my existing office so you're right that it should be "Your clients"... if anything. –  Ryan Mar 6 '12 at 23:06
    
I'm not sure why you say proof reading I think its because of "free of errors"? What I mean is that for example a file where I currently work there could be a conversation requesting certain particulars and I have to make sure that the Insertion Order (contract) as well as the artwork produced meets those requests. I'm pretty sure the Account Manager traditionally holds that responsibility or at least shares it with the creative and should be checking. Where I currently work the Acct Mgrs don't read the files, they'll even say this. They take last year's IO and fax it out. Thats it. –  Ryan Mar 6 '12 at 23:10
    
Maybe I'm naive to think its any better anywhere else. Maybe their making it sound like the Account Managers are supposed to be creative and detail oriented when really all they'll care about is also getting a signed contract. I don't know unless I can land an interview to learn more. –  Ryan Mar 6 '12 at 23:12
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