I'm a firm believer that some of the best advice comes from those in the first five years of their career. Equally inspiring as an agency vet with 20 years experience is someone who's recently made the transition from student, to intern, to full-time employee—someone in the thick of it who sees firsthand the reality of this ever-evolving industry as it is today.
With that in mind, I tapped three fresh faces who graduated in the last few years, secured jobs, and are killing it at their respective agencies. Start the new year fueled by their advice on landing your first job and transitioning into a full-time role. (*Read on for some exciting news towards the end of the email!)
Joey McRobert, Associate Copywriter at Firstborn, University of Oregon '16
Was there anything your realized or learned during the process of finding and getting your first job?
I used to dread interviews because I thought you had to be perfect—and I bombed my first few trying to put that into practice. After I realized I just had to be me, it became way easier. I was still awkward and nervous, but it was genuine, and I think they saw that. People care just as much about who you are as a person as they do about the quality of your work. So be you.
What was the biggest adjustment to working full-time? Anything you didn't expect?
I think when graduating I had a sense of, "I did it, I'm ready." I knew best practices for how to write a headline. I had read, Hey Whipple. I knew I had more to learn, but I thought I had the basics down. In school we learned about advertising as a singularity: big brand campaigns. Whether it was social, digital, print or TV. It was always about the big push.
Getting out into the field, I realized immediately that that was just one flavor of the spectrum. On top of brand campaigns there's website building, content strategy, product creation, content creation, just to name a few. Half the stuff I do in my job today I would have never considered to be advertising. It was a big learning curve at first, but I'm so glad I landed in an agency that opened my eyes to a wider definition of our profession.
Peep Joey's take on things on Instagram and Twitter.
Laura Beck, Designer/Art Director at 72andSunny, UCLA '15
What was the biggest adjustment to working full-time?
My biggest challenge was making the transition from intern to a junior, and changing my coworkers' perspectives regarding my transition. I was hired onto the same team that I interned for, and at first, my responsibilities did not change that much. So while my adjustment to a full-time, day-to-day workload was pretty smooth, I had a bit of difficulty figuring out how to position myself to my team members as a junior, and no longer as an intern. I made sure to push my creative work to the next level and raise my hand on new opportunities. I also had open conversations with higher-ups on my team regarding the matter, and their advice really helped me find solid ground in my transition.
Follow Laura's agency life on Instagram and Twitter.
Camila Moni, Junior Account Manager at Outbrain, Parsons School of Design '14
Was there anything you realized or learned during the process of finding and getting your first job?
The greatest insight I took from my job search was to never underestimate the power of networking (and major stalking on LinkedIn). Prior to searching, I wasn't comfortable sitting down with a stranger and talking about their job, much less ask for one. After a few times, I started to enjoy these chats and would look forward to meeting up with all types of professionals. Whether I was looking to apply to their company or not, I enjoyed learning about different companies, as well as understanding some similarities and differences within roles. The search process forced me out of my comfort zone and I made a lot of new friends in the process. It surprised me how friendly and willing everyone was to help out. I hope to one day be able to do the same for someone.
Take Camila up on her offer, and stalk connect with her on LinkedIn.
These are my favorite kind of emails, because I couldn't have said it better. Having met so many just starting out who question whether they'll make it, I hope these snippets from those on the other side are a reminder that you can do it.
Here's to 2017 and everything it'll bring,