So you want a career in advertising?
May 21, 2013
I was recently contacted by a college student who asked if he could interview me for one of this classes. One of the questions he asked is one I get a lot, so I thought I’d share my answer with you here.
If you aspire to be in our business — I hope it helps. If you’re already in the business — what did I miss?
What advice would you give to anyone who was aspiring to enter the field of advertising?
Yikes… there are lots of things to know but here are some of the biggies.
- You cannot do it alone so surround yourself with really smart, good-hearted people who you can count on.
- The day you stop learning is the day you begin to become irrelevant. There is always more to learn.
- Before anyone will give you their business, they need to know you care about them/their company.
- When you make a mistake (and you will make a ton) be very quick to call attention to it, own it and work like a dog to fix it. And never forget to say I’m sorry.
- If you help other people whenever you can, when you need help – there will be someone there to offer it.
- There’s nothing wrong with making money. Don’t be ashamed to charge what you are worth.
- Owning your own business means that when times are tough, everyone gets paid but you. So be very smart about not overspending your money and build up a nest egg for those tough times.
- The smartest person in the room is not the one who knows all the answers. It’s the person who asks the best questions.
When I hire, I don’t worry too much about the degree the person has or things like grade point averages. I can teach them about marketing but I can’t make them honest or hard working.
I look for people who have a passion for helping other people. I hire people who volunteer their time, have a passion for a cause and instead of whining about it – do something about it.
I definitely want good writers, no matter what position they might fill. In today’s business world, with email etc. – everyone needs to be able to communicate clearly and be well spoken, both in face-to-face encounters and in writing.
I also look for someone who gets that our business is not 9-5 and isn’t going to freak out if they have to work late or over a weekend. Our business is very demanding and depending on what’s going on with our clients, we can put in some incredibly long, grueling weeks.
I also want someone who is willing to do “grunt” work. In a small agency, everyone pitches in and does what it takes to get the job done. If I can stuff envelopes or whatever – so can they.
I want someone who is a self-starter, a lifelong learner, a reader, someone who is funny, ethical and someone who resonates with our company’s core beliefs, which are:
- Passion cannot be ignored.
- Breakthrough thinking breeds breakthrough creative.
- The guys in the white hats do win.
- We take our work seriously. Ourselves, not so much.