Actions Speak Louder Than Words

How I earned my keep in an ad agency

Landing a job is not easy. It takes a lot of energy, both physically and mentally. I was no exception. I underwent so many meetings, consumed so many cups of coffee, and considered so many alternate post-grad options that by the time I was hired I was completely exhausted.

But the journey was over, right? Not just yet.

It wasn’t long into my first full-time, out-of-college advertising agency job that I realized my work wasn’t done. Sure, my interview with my boss and my introductions to the staff went great. But those are all words. I had to earn my keep, and that is done through performance.

When I first started off at the agency, I didn’t have a whole heck of a lot to do. I considered downtime my worst enemy and thought, ‘the less time I sit in this swivel chair, the longer they will keep me on.’ So I did a few, simple things that are now routine and ultimately have earned my place not only with the staff, but in the company’s future, too.

Keep in mind that these go for any entry-level agency role.

Read up on all the trades — Throughout the day I check Ad Age, PR Week, Media Post and Ad Week (that is a fair enough number to your Inbox.) I leave comments along with my agency’s Web site. I love the days when my boss says, “Wow, you should see all the hits we’ve gotten today.” (You will be beaming inside.)

Be a social media dashboard — I set up a Twitter account separate from my personal one to track every piece of information that comes out on the agency and the local ad industry. I follow all my clients/prospective clients, the trades (once again), and local and national news. You don’t need to advertise the account; just use it for yourself.

Web sites — I made the agency’s Web site one I visit as often as my online banking. In addition, I read up on all my clients’ Web sites and take notes. It is amazing how well I keep up with our staff conversations on clients and I haven’t even been here two months.

Fill the empty coffee pot — And I do all the other menial stuff. This includes organizing messed up files, answering phones, running errands, etc., etc., etc. Others appreciate someone who doesn’t mind doing that stuff.

Keep a positive attitude — This is something rare in those who are bogged down with boredom or running errands. I was meeting with my boss one day to discuss the traffic sheet when he complimented my energy and appreciation for my willingness and enthusiasm to work. (You will be beaming again.)

At home — I got some book suggestions from industry professionals to make me more knowledgeable on the business. Here they are (and no, I have not read them all.):

• Where the Suckers Moon by Randall Rothenberg
• Hoopla by Warren Burger
• The Art of Client Services by Robert Solomon
• Hey Whipple, Squeeze This. by Luke Sullivan
• Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
• Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch (former CEO of GE)

After doing all this, I have found that my co-workers see me as ‘a great fit’ and I am now earning the work I hoped to be responsible for. It just takes pushing through the finish line of getting a job. I promise you, too, will earn your keep.

by Carly Rullman, Contributing Writer

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