On Thursday, September 26, hundreds of college students from all over the Philadelphia region will head to Saxbys HQ for Create Philly, Campus Philly’s event for creative majors looking to gain insight, advice, and connections from young professionals working in Philadelphia’s creative industry. The evening will start with a panel discussion featuring three individuals making an impact in the creative space in Philly, followed by connecting with others over FREE dinner from honeygrow and a coffee bar at Saxbys.
Campus Philly recently sat down with Matthew Vesely, Junior Copywriter at Tierney, a full-service advertising agency in Philadelphia and sponsor of Create Philly. Matthew and other creative professionals from Tierney will be at Create Philly to meet students and share their Philly stories, and how their career path led them to work for one of the city’s top agencies. Sign up for Create Philly today, and read Matthew’s “Philly story” on the Campus Philly blog!
Matthew Vesely, Junior Copywriter at Tierney, takes us through his day-to-day life at Tierney, shares his networking experience and provides us with tips, and offers advice to students when it comes to internships, jobs, and taking advantage of all the opportunities offered while in college. And of course, we cover why he’s doing it all here in Philly.
Check out our full interview with Matthew, and learn about his Philly story, below:
Tell us about a typical day for you at Tierney. What is your day-to-day work life like?
As a copywriter, I get to be creative with words all day. But, there’s so much more, too. I do a lot of headline writing, body copy, and script writing. A lot of a copywriter’s job is spent thinking, “What does the client want to say, and how can they say it best?” But every day is different, and we’re always getting new requests from clients. The creative work can be very collaborative with groups of us in meetings. Based off what the client is looking for and recommendations from our strategy team, we’re always thinking, “How can we be the most innovative for this client?” Or, “What is the best way we can get their message across?”
When we brainstorm together, we’re concepting ideas with each other, building and building until it becomes this big idea that you leave the room just so excited to work on. When the work is ready, we send it to the client for feedback and approvals until, finally, we can say, “We all love this, it’s polished, let’s put it out into the world.”
What is your favorite part about having a career in Philly?
I’ve been raised professionally in Philly, and the first thing you learn about Philly compared to other cities is how accessible people are. You can send an email to someone you admire professionally, and most of the time you can get them to talk to you. Of course that usually requires a polite follow up—and keep in mind that people have busy schedules—but they’re more than often looking to help others. So, having this career now, I have the mindset of being helpful to others.
What’s great about Tierney, and Philadelphia as a whole, is when new faces come around or we see opportunities to mentor, we always want to help them—in Philly, we lead with compassion and kindness, and then the work will obviously be awesome afterwards.
What excites you most about your job?
When I was interning at Tierney, and now, as a Junior Copywriter, the coolest part is that the work I do goes out into the world and takes on a life of its own. I get to see it evolve and grow and become something that’s really cool and reacted to, even. So, with client work, say I get to write a radio script, then that’s something I get to see go through a whole process of being recorded and produced. When I was an intern, there was a script I wrote that got picked by the client, so that went into being recorded. A month afterwards, I was driving to Rowan and it just popped on my radio, and I said “I did that! That’s a thing that I did!” and I was proud of myself.
What college did you graduate from, and what was your major?
I graduated from Rowan University. I went into Rowan as a Theater major, so I studied Theater and Dance with a concentration in Musical Theater. I’ve always known I’ve had this love for writing, but it kind of came down to, “I don’t know if I really wanna get involved in writing courses or a writing major, because what if I start to hate it?” But, during my sophomore year, I took one class and was like, “Never mind, I still love it! I’ll take a major.” So, then I added onto my Theater major with a Writing major, and I had two concentrations in Creative Writing and Publishing—both of which I use today!
Where did you intern while in college?
My first internship was actually at the college I went to, so Rowan University. I worked with the writing arts department on their website, blog, and social media, and it was a very fulfilling opportunity. Through my work there is actually how I found my internship at Campus Philly! I started as an intern at Campus Philly and had a wonderful time there. I spent two different semesters working as their Social Media/Editorial Intern. After I left there, it was the VP of Partnerships at Campus Philly, Ashlie Thornbury, who suggested me for a Copywriting Intern role at Tierney. I spent two semesters interning at Tierney, and then I ended up being hired full-time at the end of the summer.
If you could offer one piece of advice to a college senior who is soon to graduate, what would you tell them?
Don’t wait. Don’t wait for anything when it comes to doing internships, when it comes to finding where you want to work, or spending time with your friends at college senior year. Don’t wait on anything, start it now.
Do you have any interviewing tips to offer students as they apply for internships or jobs?
The internship applications that are going to be the most fruitful are going to be ones you already have some sort of connection with. So, start off [meeting people] at your college, go out to networking events, like Create Philly!
Meet, face-to-face, people that are going to be looking at your applications. When you talk to them, get to know them as people first: What they do in their job, get to know what they’re looking for, what positions are open currently. Don’t just think of them as the people that are interviewing you—think about it as a conversation, you want to know more about their company, and about them, too.
Do you have any networking tips to offer students?
If you get to know someone and you make a natural connection or get to be friendly with them, chances are they’re going to be in your network for life. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Would you rather have two great friends, or a hundred not-so-great friends?” But, in networking, if you’re doing it correctly, and you’re talking to people, like actual people, in 10 years you’re going to have a hundred people that are also great friends. That’s going to be the best thing for your career—you’ll always have an opportunity, you’ll always have people to talk to, you’ll always have people to support you, you’ll always have places to go. And most of the time, you’re going to go up.
Meet Matthew and other creative professionals at Create Philly, taking place on September 26, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., at Saxbys HQ at 2300 Chestnut Street. Sign up here!