Career Tips from Adweek Executive Mentees – Part 1

Be curious, read everything, and diversify your experience. These gems are amongst the top pieces of advice our current Mentee class, composed of senior-level marketers, have received throughout their careers. Whether you just graduated college or starting out in Marketing and Advertising, read on to find out what this year’s group say was critical in their climb upwards.

We’ll be back with more soon - our 270+ mentees from Round 2 of the Adweek Executive Mentor Program have a lot to say!

 1. Be curious.

“Be curious, be prepared, measure impact on the business and most of all don’t forget to ask questions. The more you ask and the more people you’re able to talk to the more you’ll be able to pick up knowledge quickly and grow your career.” Martijn Scheybeler, vp marketing, RVshare

"Raise your hand often and say yes to everything. Sit in on that brainstorm, ask to work on that new business pitch, offer to help on another account. Get as much exposure as you can early on.” Philip Pirkovic, creative strategist, Google

“Come to the table with ideas and solutions - not just problems and issues. Get to understand the business of your clients and put yourself in their shoes - often (if you are agency side). Ask questions. Then ask more questions. Be curious.” Charlene Coughlin, managing director, TWIST Creative, Inc.

“The journey as a marketer is a marathon not a sprint.  The consumer journey will evolve and so must your approach to reaching them.  Get to intimately know the consumers you are marketing to very early, this will guide your decision making and the value that you bring your organization.  Stay connected and curious about how consumers are engaging with brands. Take your time and learn as much as you can.” Jamie Wideman, vp of marketing, Terlato

“Ask questions and be curious. It's ok to not know something!” Annie Jean-Baptiste, head of product inclusion, Google

2. Express the right attitude.

“The one thing that's in your control from day one is your attitude.  Your outlook and can-try approach will quickly leave a positive impression and earn you respect.  It's the easiest aspect, but often times overlooked because people are busy trying to prove what they know.” Jared Melzer, director of global marketing and partnerships, TE Connectivity

“Make yourself visible and valuable: Visible to your bosses or hiring manager by creating personal 1:1 connection with a balanced give and take. Valuable to your team by being proactive, solutions-oriented, and always operating at 110%.” Ashley Buxton, group director of communications design, Initiative

“Don’t forget the critical importance of building your own personal brand. I attribute a large part of majority of my success to tracking toward my own value pillars: attention to detail, hard work, integrity and transparency. When you put the majority of your energy in focusing on your core values (which in turn comprise your personal brand), the rest will pay dividends.” Kenna Ranson, director, account services digital, WarnerMedia

“Be resourceful, and make yourself a resource. Often when we're gaining knowledge it's tempting to ask others where to find answers that we need and forget that they are likely accessible to us. Rather than creating what can possibly be viewed as a project for others, try your best to put together the best answer, and then ask for feedback. In making yourself a resource, be proactive in compiling helpful information and share that with your colleagues/clients/customers, etc. There's no better way to build community!” Kelly Byrd, director of customer success & insights, Onclusive

3. Learn as much as possible.

“Be a sponge for knowledge. Read and learn as much as possible about the industry and the different functions available. Build a network of peers and mentors that will give you insights and advice as you progress through your career.” Alin Dobrea, head of marketing solutions and partnerships, Zalora

“Your role as a student is never over. Approach your career and life with a beginner’s mindset. Remember that every moment is an opportunity to learn with and from others around you. Your first job may not be your dream job, but it’s your opportunity to put in the work and build towards the dream.” Kate Ruda, brand marketing manager, Nike

“Read everything. While growth is highly dependent on experience it’s equally important to not be limited by your own lens. The most successful advertisers, brand- or agency-side, consume as many outside perspectives as possible.” Lucy Glaser, director of business development, Unconquered

“Just because a brand seems prestigious, doesn’t mean it’s the best learning environment for the early stages of your career. Take chances. Don’t shy away from a role because it seems non-traditional - it may prove to be your best training ground.” Avish Sood, associate marketing manager, The Clorox Company

4. Build relationships.

“Hustle. Reach out to every recruiter, personal connection, and employee you can find on LinkedIn. Send a connection request asking about entry level opportunities. Follow up 3 times. If you don't hear back, do the same on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you still don't hear back, ask for feedback on what you can do better and move onto the next one. Don't worry about being annoying. We respect the resilience. Trust me.” Timothy Stiefler, founder, Gush

Collaboration. Communication. Creativity. Companies are made of people with unique stories and experiences. Collaborate and build relationships with diverse people across levels and teams. Communicate clearly and consistently. Creatively solve problems and help those around you.” Fahad Khawaja, former head of marketing, Human Performance Institute, Johnson & Johnson

5. Diversify your experience.

“There are so many verticals within the marketing/advertising industry, (media, creative, strategy, sales etc.) try as many of them as you can early on in your career. You’d be surprised at what your true ‘superpower' may be.” Asia Gholston, senior manager, integrated sales & marketing, National Football League

Move around within Marketing a lot to gain a wide variety of experiences, especially early on when it is easier to do so. Lateral moves have been some of my greatest decisions!” Michele Martin, senior manager, brand amplification, L.L. Bean

“Be patient and open to opportunities you may not have originally imagined for yourself right out of college. You may not even have “marketing” in your title and that is okay. Diversify your experience and skills to set yourself apart when you go after that dream marketing role.” Kayla Santos, brand manager, Under Armour

6. Seize opportunities.

“Take every opportunity that comes your way. Don’t be afraid to say yes to something you don’t know how to do and find resources and contacts who can help you accomplish it.” Leah Pilcer- Pitman, director of communications & digital strategy, New Belgium Brewing

“Don’t let your title define what you know and do in your job. You should always be learning and saying yes to things that are outside of your job description. I am thankful for the experience I gained from taking on projects that stretched me. I believe it has made me a better creative leader and collaborator." Laillah Rice, CRM & marketing analytics lead, Godiva

“Don’t be afraid to make sacrifices for the career you want. In the long run, it will pay off. My first job after graduating was part-time, but it was a role in marketing strategy, which was exactly what I wanted to do. I voluntarily worked extra hours as I saw it as an investment to myself. It led me to a wonderful run at Disney and Marvel.” Henry Ong, (former) senior global marketing manager, Marvel