Confessions of the Newbie

So in my last post I talked about how I was about to start a new job, in a totally opposite industry from what I was working in before. I’ve been with my new gig for about a week now and WOW has it been quite the experience. From college professors and career fair speakers, I’ve been told time and time again that the advertising industry was a fast one, but now that I’m actually working in it I KNOW it’s fast…like really really fast. I’ve loaded my brain with so much information this past week that I feel like it might pop at any minute. Luckily I’m a great note taker.

I’m all about lending a helping hand to new or soon to be college grads, especially my fellow MSU Spartans, about what it’s like working in the real world after graduation. I know I could have used more advice, especially about how the advertising world works. Although I’ve only been here for a little over a week, I think I already have a pretty good feel for how the whole agency business works and I’d like to share a few tips for those of you out there looking to pursue a brand new job in advertising.

Career Sign

1.  Ask to meet people in the agency. You will meet so many people and you’ll want to remember who is who. Write it all down! From the account and creative teams to print production, you will need to establish a good relationship with them because first of all, they are much higher up on the ladder then you and you are there to work for them as they work to please the client and secondly, like I said you will most likely start out on the bottom of the food chain, so you want to establish relationships with everyone you work with. Learning who does what in your agency and being able to talk with them and learn from them is a great way to gain insight and open the door to an array of opportunities down the road. The ad world is all about who you know.

2. Bring a note pad. Whether you are writing down the names of the people you meet or helpful tid bits about the client or agency you’ve picked up during your first few days, taking notes is absolutely crucial. I have half a note pad already filled with notes. It’s probably a good idea to then type up and organize your notes when you have some free time. This goes with any job.

3. Ask Questions. Be willing to learn! I’ll admit that sometimes I like to think I’m always right so I’ll avoid asking questions to clarify things. When you are starting a new job, any job, but especially in advertising where if you do something wrong it could cause a MAJOR problem, you need to ask questions. Don’t assume you know the answer. I’ve learned in the week I’ve been here that there is a very specific way to carry out each project. If one step is missed it can really mess up the process.

4. If you can’t be organized, advertising is NOT for you! This week I already have 2 huge projects going on at once. I had to catch on fast and be able to keep track of everything at once. This requires some pretty good organizational skills and the ability to multitask. Trust me, when there’s a Friday 6 pm deadline and you are trying to get a project through it’s final stages, the last thing you want to have happen is misplace something or mix up your projects. You need to develop a system that works for you…and fast!

5. Don’t let the stress get to you. I’ve been having a tough time with this one. My life isn’t 9-5 anymore. When you work at an agency with highly active accounts you will be working till 11, 12, 1 am sometimes even. This has been a huge adjustment for me, and I’ve been having some trouble at times getting used to it considering I’m used to a 10 pm bedtime. There are times when everyone around you will be in a state of panic. Just breathe, keep your cool, and do your best to work with the panic. Offer to help and find out everything you can do in order to aid in moving things along smoothly and efficiently.

6.  Learn to love coffee. That’s pretty self explanatory. There’s no time to be tired on the job

7.  Help and ask for help. People in any work environment want you to succeed because in the long run it’s all about the client. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help if you are in over your head. Some projects will be slower than others so ask if you can help out someone else if you find yourself having some down time.

8.  Have fun. It’s pretty cool to see the ads you see on tv or on billboards take shape. There are a lot of fun things happening around the agencies as well, from theme parties to bar nights after work with your co-workers. When everyone isn’t running around trying to get a project out to print, it’s a cool environment.

Well that’s all for now. Hope this helps all you soon to be grads looking to take on the advertising world.

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