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Alumni News

Kirk Allen

Powerful Connections

November 17, 2014

Kirk Allen knows first-hand the importance of following up. After graduating from Sheridan’s advertising program in 1982, he applied for a job at the Montreal Gazette daily newspaper, keen to work in his hometown. The Gazette’s advertising manager suggested that Kirk come back in a year when he had gained some experience at a smaller newspaper.

Undaunted, Kirk went on to work for the much smaller Sunday Gazette, learning the ins and outs of the newspaper advertising business. A year later, he came knocking on the door of his connection at the Montreal Gazette once again asking for a job. Although there was no official position available, Kirk was hired, and began building an impressive career in the industry.

After working his way up to senior management at the Gazette, Kirk became VP of Advertising for the National Post based in Toronto, and soon thereafter became Executive Vice President, Integrated Advertising Sales at Postmedia Network Inc., (formerly Canwest and Hollinger Inc.), Canada’s largest network of daily newspapers and websites. In 2012, he co-founded the Toronto-based digital marketing company, Reshift Media Inc.

"My experience proves the power of the follow-up,” said Kirk, who offered words of wisdom to advertising students and alumni as the keynote speaker at Sheridan’s Advertising and Marketing Career Opportunities Alumni Presentation event in November. “Connect with people. That’s the key to giving a great impression. It’s not enough to send or hand someone your resume. Go for what you want, even if there isn’t a job posted. You will then be ready when an opportunity comes along,” he recommended.

The alumni panelists at the event echoed Kirk’s advice, pointing to online tools such as LinkedIn, as well as in-person networking events as key components in their job search.

Today’s social media platforms give job-seekers a big leg up, said Kirk. “Take advantage of them to do your research. Find out about who will be interviewing you so you can make that personal connection.”

It’s never been easier to connect today, whether you are marketing yourself or on behalf of your clients, Kirk adds. “Marketers are in a wildly enviable position these days to take advantage of endless creative opportunities available online to reach their target audience. Whether the strategy includes digital display, SEO, SEM or social media platforms, the analytics behind these initiatives allows for near instant measurable results. It’s difficult to find challenges in such a time of growth and opportunity.”

Thanks to Kirk Allen and the alumni panelists at the event:

  • Shaylyn Austin, Media Assistant, UM Canada (Advertising, 2014)
  • Rachel Brock, Account Representative, The Hamilton Spectator (Advertising and Marketing Communications, 2014)
  • Kristopher Makuch, Digital Traffic Associate, Mindshare (Advertising and Marketing Communications, 2014)
  • Shin Phan, Marketing Coordinator, Maple Lodge Farms (Advertising, 2013)
  • Alison Van Buskirk, Strategist at OMD (Advertising, 2013)
  • Meika Yeo, Account Executive, Cotton Candy (Advertising, 2013)