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Caitlin Sherman with the etc she’s sung follow me to since high school. The singer-songwriter landed a copywriting gig ~ performing a self-penned tune in an interview because that an internship. (Jonathan Spiers photo)


She got in it hoping because that an heralding internship. However by the end of she interview with downtown firm Madison+Main, Caitlin Sherman had actually sung her means into a full-time copywriting gig.

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A singer and songwriter many of her life, the VCU grad had put in her applications portfolio that her very first accomplishment in creating was winning an compensation from a newspaper when she was 8, for a story she’d written around a pet she’d wished she’d had.

It to be one of plenty of accolades she received because that she’d hope would help her land an interview, which – regardless of graduating magna cum laude, with a 3.8 GPA and an ext awards to her name – had actually eluded her due to the fact that her commencement last year indigenous the university’s undergraduate advertising program.

“No one had actually taken a opportunity on me yet. I had actually been using everywhere,” Sherman said. “I had all these points going because that me, and I didn’t know what to be going wrong.

“I was functioning as a organize at a restaurant in Richmond, and it was really hard to discover jobs,” she said. “I felt choose I no have sufficient internship experience.”


So, once she learned that Madison+Main was trying to find an intern, she no think twice as soon as Derek Fair, the agency’s senior copywriter, inquiry if she’d create a song ahead of her interview, note the award she’d discussed in her application.

“He basically challenged me come it. Ns think it to be a joke, but I take it it seriously,” she said. “I said: You know what? What execute I have to lose? If it it s okay me this internship, i’m doing everything I have to do.”


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Sherman with a classmate when they were named “most musical” in high school. (Photos courtesy Caitlin Sherman)


Having sung in choirs farming up and also in weekly open up mic nights transparent high school, Sherman had been composing her own songs because that years, earning some recognition along the way.

One tune she co-wrote with former collaborator Madie Paige, called “No Rhyme, No Reason,” won the central Virginia’s got Talent competition as soon as Paige performed that in 2019.

Drawn to declaring by a jingle in a TV advertising for education Connection, Sherman enrolled in VCU’s Robertson college of Media and society and worked as a prior office assistant at the VCU Brandcenter, placing a pause on her songwriting to emphasis on ad writing.


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Sherman performing at her high institution graduation.


“When I visited college I had to placed music ~ above the backburner, due to the fact that I to be so focused academically. Then i realized if I could mix the two, I’d it is in so lot happier,” Sherman said.

“When i heard Education connection for the first time, the jingle obtained stuck in mine head, and also I do it mine goal every throughout mine college job to grasp the arts of the earworm. That has constantly been my thing: to make points that people will not forget about, like that song did because that me.”

In around 15 minutes, she’d created up the song for she Madison+Main interview – about, as she placed it, “being 22 and also how lot it sucks when you graduate through high honors and also you have actually qualifications however you’re no going anywhere, or at least it feels that way.”

The minute-long ditty also mentioned the compensation she won once she was 8, and also what she would lug to the company if she gained the internship.

Over a Zoom call, in spite of the formalities of a professional interview, Sherman perform the song, strumming she guitar follow me to text like: “Rebranding, I’ve excellent that/Full-campaign in a month flat/And go I mention that I can sing?”

While the call was not recorded, Sherman created her very own clip the the song:

“They to be like, ‘Wow, we’ve never had actually anyone interview through a track before,’” she said. “I would’ve excellent it even if they hadn’t request me to, because that is my strongest suit: my ability to interact through songwriting.”

Her strong suit paid off. When the agency called to follow up, Sherman recounted, “They said, ‘So we just want to let girlfriend know, we’re not relocating forward with you for the internship. Instead, we desire to sell you a full time position together a small copywriter.’”

“I to be like, ‘Can I simply accept now? i really don’t require details,’” she stated with a laugh.


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“That has always been my thing,” Sherman said, “to understand the art of the earworm.” (Jonathan Spiers photo)


Sherman started with the firm in mid-September. Together a junior copywriter there, she creates content for clients such together calendars, blog short articles and, that course, ads.

“It’s to be so cool due to the fact that I’ve gained to find out so many facets behind those things,” she said. “I think school just prepares friend so much and also then, once you get into the genuine world, the basically college 2.0.”

As for her goal of mastering earworms, Sherman stated she hopes to one day merge her music v marketing. While jingles space not part of her current job duties, in a way, she said, they currently are – in whatever copy she writes.

“I have told them, the way that ns think as soon as it involves creativity, I have actually to nearly view things choose a song first and then switch gears in mine brain. If you need to write something quippy, ns think of that favor the hook, what’s going to acquire people. That the exact same thing,” she said.

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“The rest are verses and also a bridge. That’s wherein my mind goes.”

This is the recent installment in our Downtime series, which focuses on service people’s pursuits exterior of the office. If you, a coworker or someone you know around town has a unique way of pass time off the clock, submit suggestions to because that previous installments that Downtime, click here.