4 Ways to Make the Most of Your First Job in Advertising

Prove you can get things done, then ask for more

The advertising industry is ripe with opportunities for new talent. Whether you are graduating from college, worked in a different field or just have a passion for writing, storytelling, technology or even rocket science, there's a place in this business for you. 

Sarah Hofstetter, 360i CEO

The first few years on the job will set the tone of your early career and can jump-start the next few decades of growth and achievement in the workplace. Here's what it takes to make the most of your first advertising job:

Be Hungry

The advertising business is full of talented, creative people, and many do the jobs and assignments they're given. But the people who really move up the ladder first and fastest are those who raise their hands and ask for opportunities. Senior leaders at agencies and clients are looking for employees who are eager to go the extra mile, whether it's for new business, new service offerings or new ideas.

The trick is that your primary responsibilities always come first. Once you get those done, and done right, you can take on new opportunities after hours.

Be Brief

We learn as marketers that consumers' attention spans are shorter than ever. That's no different with your clients and your bosses. If you need to get a point across—whether in an internal email, to a client or vendor—be as brief as possible. Crisp writing skills are essential for roles across an agency. If you need help getting to clear and concise writing, learn the basics of journalism. It's something we have been offering at 360i to help teach foundational skills in writing and clear articulation, and it has paid off for many of our employees.

Be Aware

Learn your own communication style and the style of those around you. It will foster greater self-awareness and improved collaboration and productivity—inside and outside of the office. People who have high EQ, or emotional intelligence, not just IQ, are more likely to get promoted and have more productive relationships. At 360i, this is so important that every new hire at every level participates in an emotional intelligence workshop so that employees and managers can better understand how to work together to their fullest potential.

Be Persistent

Take the time to learn everything you can about your agency, its offerings, clients and, more broadly, how to navigate the professional world. This is not an easy business. If the front door is closed, don't back down, but instead look for a window. If that doesn't open, try the chimney. You will be able to use the skills you learn from day one throughout your entire career.

While you may face setbacks, success is usually preceded by challenges. We've all been there. In the end, you'll only come out stronger.

Sarah Hofstetter is CEO of 360i, an Adweek Digital Agency of the Year. Follow her on Twitter at @Pezmeister1.