Category Insights, Inspiration, Moose Life
For many agencies, the first week in June marks the start of “intern season.”
As you get settled in, I think it’s appropriate to push out a little POV, and teach you what I’ve learned after 30+ years of watching this show.
First of all, if you are in an agency environment that thinks your job is to get lunch or make coffee and copies, you’ve learned your first lesson in business: Always ask what is expected and what you can expect before you take the job.
Next, if this seems like a “cool” place to hang out while you’re thinking about law school or something loftier than our humble profession, you will hate this summer, and the agency will consider you a waste of space. Lesson two: Don’t pretend to be something just for show.
For those of you who really like the advertising business – and want to understand it, there is no better opportunity than an internship where you can participate and learn from a variety of agency types.
Our industry needs talent, and we need people who can exhibit the qualities our clients respect – and ultimately demand. So here are a few things to think about as your summer kicks off:
1. Be informed. Every day. There are professions that allow you to get certified and take refresher courses once a year. Ours is every day, probably several times a day. Learning didn’t stop in college, and you can’t be lazy about it. Study ideas and concepts – how did they work? Why did they work? You need to build your library of ideas. And if you need a place to begin your research, MooseTracker offers more than 1,600 case studies to get you started.
2. Be confident. Now is your opportunity to hear your voice. Speak up in meetings, but don’t dominate the conversation. Come prepared with good ideas, and state them clearly. The more practice you get at this, the better you’ll be when it’s just you and the client.
3. Play well with others. Our industry has a thing about culture. We get that we can’t control a lot of what goes on in the rest of the world. But we can control our own social space, and we do it by weeding out mean people. If you have a team attitude, you’ll still get your chance to shine.
4. Listen really well. If you’ve ever had any kind of customer service job – working in restaurants, managing any relationship that involved complaints or unhappiness – you get bonus points, my friend. Put that hat on and you will be surprised how easily the relationship side of our business comes to you.
5. Get digital. Really get it. Spend as much time as you can asking questions and connecting the dots for how brands and consumers participate in the digital space. You have an advantage – you have come through both high school and college with Facebook as second nature. Getting digital is probably more important than your degree. Flaunt it.
This is a great business and a great way to live. But here’s the rub. You have to want it, and you can’t fake that. If you want to work in advertising – ultimately you will.
Have a great summer.
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