Skills & Expertise

11 Ways to Crush It in Your First Job

Here’s some hard-won wisdom to take you from media newbie to rising star

You did it. You survived the interview process, and now you’re ready to impress at your new job. Maybe you’ve already arranged a few personal items on your desk to keep you motivated—a graduation photo, some Emerson quotes, the lucky fortune you got with your Chinese food last night.

That’s a good start, but it’s going to take a lot more than a little desktop motivation to keep you going once the responsibilities of your new role kick in.

The marketing and advertising industry is “full of talented, creative people, and many do the jobs and assignments they’re given,” says 360i CEO Sarah Hofstetter. “But the people who really move up the ladder first and fastest are those who raise their hands and ask for opportunities.”

So how can you set yourself apart and do more than cross assignments off lists? Try some of these 11 tips to really rock your new job in marketing.

Keep it simple.

Consumers’ attention spans are getting shorter by the minute, and your marketing cohorts are no exception. Know what point you want to make before writing an email or starting a conversation.

Be visible (but for the right reasons).

There’s a fine line between being famous for your friendly office banter and infamous for idle gossip. Be known as the person who always asks for opportunities and stays until a deadline is met.

Master the art of managing up.

Even the best managers are made better by great employees. Managing up is about setting clear expectations and regular communication. Examples include asking for specifics around vague requests, identifying needs and sharing your ideas.

Know crisis can be opportunity.

Even optimists acknowledge an emergency is going to happen sooner or later, and how you react under fire can make or break your reputation. Fight the urge to express frustration and instead get to work helping solve the problem at hand.

Don’t call the baby ugly.

Remember that your company was around long before they hired you. You may be tempted to pick apart past efforts, but proceed with caution. Use your new ideas to add to previous work, not tear it down.

Remember early is on time, on time is late.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Seasoned marketers have little patience for newbies who show up late and unprepared. Avoid both by being early whenever possible.

Make friends with the right people—they’re not always who you think they are.

It may pay to have friends in high places, but it pays more to make friends in the right places. The HR manager, office manager or receptionist can all be valuable resources for you as you learn about the company—and often have the ear of upper management.

Check yourself often.

There’s a saying: If you’re always putting out fires, you’re probably an arsonist. If you find yourself tackling the same issues over and over, make sure you aren’t part of the problem.

Be loyal to a good supervisor.

If you’re lucky enough to have a stellar boss, you want to help them get promoted so you can rise with them. Remember, you aren’t competing for their position.

Track your successes.

You may be the best at what you do, but can you prove it? Keep track of any challenging tasks you complete, monitor performance of campaigns you work on and document any praise you receive. This will come in handy as you look to move up or seek other positions.

Be humble and hungry.

Realize that you don’t know everything, but at the same time, you should strive to know everything. Take any opportunity you can to learn, and consider taking an online course to supplement what you’re exposed to on the job; the people who do this are the ones senior leaders look to first when there’s a promotion on the line.

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