Advice From the Pros

5 Reasons To Consider Starting Your Career at an Agency

You have your degree—now what?

For a young professional just entering the business world, an advertising agency can be an attractive fit. They are commonly known for having great culture, cool office spaces and exciting work, but also come with frequent late nights and a lot of hard work. While the hours could be better, they’re an incredible place to develop in your early career.

If you’re not sure whether an agency is right for you, here are a few great benefits to consider.

1. It will be easier to find a job

Advertising agencies go out of their way to hire, train, develop and retain young talent. They recognize the fact that young people are, to some extent, “shaping” the digital landscape, and for that reason they want their perspectives and minds in-house at their agencies. With the sea of options for young graduates, you will see that agencies will be more receptive to hiring somebody with little experience because they are highly valuing your mindset, creativity and potential for innovative ideas.

2. It will help you find what you like about business

When I first started out in marketing full-time, I had no idea what department or aspect of marketing would interest me the most. College courses give you a brief introduction to what an ad agency will be like, and what other marketing jobs are available, but you don’t truly know until you get out in the workforce.

For instance, I thought I would want to be in Account Management, managing people, relationships and process—but I quickly found that I loved digital media and doing the actual implementation. I didn’t know until I got into the workforce how addicting spreadsheets and data analytics can be. Ad agencies give you the ability to work with multiple departments, see what other individuals do and allow you to just take in what all goes into driving business results.

3. It will make you better at time management

Working at an advertising agency as a young professional will form you into an incredibly well-organized, time-management machine. It will be stressful and you will have to meet multiple deadlines in one week (or day!) but give it a few years and you’ll see that those stressful times helped mold you into a more efficient employee.

Although they have a reputation of being fun with pool tables and ping-pong, ad agency employees are some of the most hard-working people I’ve ever met. Luckily most do embrace the work-hard, play-hard attitude, so you will be rewarded for those stressful days. Either way, I’ve taken prioritization and time management learnings from my days in agency life and I now apply them universally to the rest of my life, and it’s invaluable.

4. It makes you a better sales person

Ad agency work is challenging—not only because of tight deadlines and volume of work, but also because of the need to sell the value of the work once it’s done. Meetings with clients are always sales meetings to an extent, because with the average client switching agencies every three to five years, you need to let them know you’re providing consistent value.

Additionally, you learn to sell yourself and your own value, not just the agency’s value as a whole. Personally, in regards to digital media management, I often track optimizations that I make and calculate their potential dollar value effect on the company. That’s something I learned to do by working at an advertising agency because you can tell a client, “had we not done x, you would have missed out on x amount of dollars.” As a young professional, you’re going to need to sell your value and sell your company’s value, and an agency will give you the opportunity to practice that while you are still developing in your career.

5. It lets you see all angles and perspectives

Whether you’re working as a freelancer, at an agency or in-house, it’s easy to forget that there are other perspectives and ideas out there. You think that your way of looking at things is THE way. However, when you are able to find common ground and understand other people, it makes you a better professional in whatever field you’re in.

Working at an advertising agency allows you to see their side of the marketing world, which in turn makes you a more understanding employee on the other side. Nothing is more frustrating when you work at an agency and the client just “doesn’t get it”— it’s hard to sell through ideas and it’s hard to make them realize certain things are just not possible because of timelines or other logistical constraints. When you can understand and relate, it makes everybody more efficient.

Was that convincing enough?

Hopefully it gets you to at least consider it! If I could go back in time and choose again, I would renew the “work at an agency” option over and over again. Although there are pros and cons to any career path, I think it gives you the most flexibility to learn, understand and develop at a young age. As a result, employers in the future will see you as more valuable, and your future colleagues will be blown away by your effectiveness.

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