Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Want to Work in Advertising? Here's 5 Traits You Need

Before I get into this post, I want to clarify that I'm not writing this because I think I know it all or claim to--I'm writing this because I want those who are passionate about working in the ad industry to succeed, and here are some tips I've gathered from my experience in the agency world:  

1. Question Wisely
At first I wanted to phrase this as "question everything". If you're on a call and someone is talking about implementing a "pixel" to a website for tracking purposes and you don't know what the hell they're talking about... speak up and ask. What's a "QSR"? Don't know? Then ask (QSR are quick service restaurants like Quiznos). No question is a bad question BUT the point is knowing the best person and time to ask. If you're in a 10-person meeting, it's probably not the best idea to ask every question. List them in a notebook and only ask the ones you can't ask someone after the meeting or google. You can't learn, if you don't ask.

2. Learn to Simplify
It's amazing how stupidly tedious certain processes can be because no one was smart enough to fix them or everyone was just too lazy. If a process is frustrating and unnecessarily time consuming, fix it. Find a way to make it easier for yourself and others. Also, we're in the business of getting a point across quickly, so we (myself included) should exercise some restraint and editing of powerpoint slides.

3. Keep Busy
Seriously if you're online shopping or catching up on last week's episode of The Bachelor on hulu, you probably should ask around for work. If your manager doesn't have anything and your team doesn't have anything--venture to a different department, consider submitting ideas to an open brief, research new business opportunities or "simplify" something. Boredom is a terrible thing.

4. Be Positive
Sounds simple but you'd be surprise how easy negativity flows through agencies. It's tough being the person to challenge creatives to see the opportunity in a low-fi microsite or work with a miniscule budget--but you just have to keep pushing for amazing work. And amazing work rarely happens unless everyone believes in it.

5. Be Fearless
Of all 5 traits, this one is most important. Dive head first into projects. Believe in something? Then just do it.

It's no surprise that most students out of college aspire to work for the Wiedens, Drogas, BBDOs and Crispins. I know I did and still do; however, it's not the agency that makes good people, it's good people that makes an agency. And good people are everywhere, therefore strong advertising can come from any agency. I'm grateful to wake up each morning hungry and happy about what I do and hope the people I work with are just as hungry and happy too.

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