Working in advertising can be a lot of fun. After all, an eclectic mix of creative individuals surround you. But let’s be honest, it’s probably one of the least conventional industries out there. From time to time, we get asked the question: “What does it take to survive and thrive in an agency setting?” So, whether you’ve landed your first job in an advertising agency or are starting out in any career, here are a few tips you might find helpful when it comes to succeeding in the crazy world of an advertising agency!
TIPS TO SUCCESS IN ADVERTISING:
- Think we, not me. Throughout your entire academic life you’ve been focused on yourself. Your GPA. Which school you’ll be accepted to. Your major. Well, fast forward to the professional workplace. The focus shifts towards the team. An advertising agency can only thrive when the sum of its parts are working in harmony. When disputes happen (and they do), as long as they are focused on making the work stronger and serving the clients better, the team is put first.
- The success of the work depends on the success of the relationship. The relationships within an agency. The relationships with your vendors. Most importantly, the relationships you develop with your clients. In fact, the best relationships are those that turn into friendships. It makes the easy conversations more fun and the hard conversations easier. This doesn’t happen overnight. Oh, and while we’re on the topic of relationships, make sure you stop and say hello to the receptionist or administrative assistants – they are the eyes and ears of the company and they know everyone.
- Be overly prepared for every situation. Be responsible. Be responsive. Be resourceful. In doing so, you’ll exceed what’s expected of you. If you work under the assumption that everyone is dispensable, you’ll always go two steps beyond what you’re being asked to do.
- Details matter. As the saying goes, measure twice and cut once. In advertising, measure ten times and then cut. We work in a fast-paced environment with lots of moving parts, but that’s not an excuse to cut corners. Check your grammar, spelling of client’s name, phone numbers, etc. If you can’t take care of the little stuff, should you be trusted with the bigger stuff? Oh, and if you do screw up (and everyone does), own it and learn from your mistakes. Improve the process. Just be sure not to make the same mistake twice.
- Always look busy, even if you’re not. Sure, this sounds a little old school. But the truth is, perception is reality. In meetings, always take notes – even if you’re just drawing stick figures. Be the first one in the office and the last one out. If your work is done, find someone who could use some help. It’s okay to have time to sharpen the saw, but don’t be the person that never looks busy or is always out of the office. It’ll catch up.
- If you don’t know, ask. Don’t be an order taker. Understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Ask questions. Often. Your boss will take comfort in knowing that you’re engaged. It also helps ensure you get things done right the first time.
- Understand your bosses’ communication style and adapt to it. Every person is different. The sooner you get this down, the more effective your team becomes. Ask yourself, “How can I help set the table for my boss?” instead of waiting for the table to be set for you.
- Above all else, don’t forget to have fun! You’re working in one of the coolest, most creative industries out there. Enjoy!
Esteemed peers, what other tips would you have for those trying to break into the business?