Contributed by Jane Putnam
Many of our staffers are involved in various mentoring programs throughout the area with different universities and colleges. One of the most-often asked questions is along the lines of advice—what do soon-to-be graduates (or graduates trying to break into the communications world) need to know? What do we wish we had known?
We took this question to some of our team and had them share what they wish they had known, or what piece of crucial advice or guidance they are so glad they were told years and years ago. So, to the class of 2012 and others looking for career advice, this blog post goes out to you.
“If you can afford to get to a big market, do. Learn everything you can. Then move back to be by family and bring your wisdom with you. We can always use great talent locally and there is nothing like living by family, especially as your parents begin to age. If you can’t afford to get to a big market, learn more than anyone else in your market about what it is you do and become the best there is in that field. Then there will always be someone willing to pay you more than anyone else in your area of expertise and you will never hurt for employment opportunities.
– John Haynes, Managing Partner
“It’s 30 percent what you know, and 70 percent who you know.”
– Mike Brian, Partner
“When I told a professor that I was going into media, he said, ‘Agency or sales? There’s more money in sales.’ If I had just chased the money, I might be richer, but not happier. Some people like sales and that’s great. Do what you’re interested in and where you can best make an impact, not what your dad expects you to do. One of my internship supervisors told me that my first job in advertising was going to be a sweatshop but not to complain, just sweat harder than everyone else. Eventually you’ll get an office with air-conditioning and a window.”
– Marc Stryker, Media Director
“You need to be prepared to be creative and figure out solutions among a lot of barriers. Be a problem solver. Stay curious. Listen and then recommend.”
– Stephanie Miller, Public Relations Director
“Be good to everyone. Life is too short to let position, promotion or power get in the way of forming lasting relationships. Be genuine. Trying to be someone or something you’re not will eventually catch up with you. And people will probably like you the way you are anyway!”
– Justin Smart, Public Involvement Director
“Save your money for your old age. You’ll need it after being in this industry.”
– Traci Houghton, Finance Director
“The most important thing I have learned is the balance between work and career. Do your job well, love what you do, but don’t let your job be your life. Find a company/organization to work for that suits your talents, personality and culture… and make the best of it.”
– Frank Harnden, Production Manager
“A positive attitude, proactivity and willingness to do anything with your full effort, including the menial tasks, will show that you are capable of success in any capacity.”
– Lora Hudson, Outreach Coordinator
“Gravitate toward what you are genuinely interested in. If you’re sitting in an office checking sports scores all day, you have the wrong job. If you can’t stop checking AdAge and Mashable, even on the weekends, you have found your niche in communications.”
– Jason Alleger, Assistant Media Planner
“Take golf lessons. Business is done on the golf course. It’s where people network, develop relationships and gain trust in their business partner. The game has a way of revealing integrity, personality and tempers. How a person acts and reacts in a round of golf can often be compared with how they act and react in the business world. “
– Brent Wilhite, Account Supervisor
“Cross the line, but in a good way. Each company draws functional lines between employees, teams and departments. Excel in your role, but also make an effort to get into what happens outside of your assigned seat. Really try to see the big picture better than others and learn a broad set of industry skills. If you consistently work in this way, you will develop into a more successful problem solver, a more effective communicator and a more valuable employee no matter where you work.”
– Clayton Carter, Senior Account Manager
My two cents: You really need to love what you do. If you don’t, the long hours and really hard work will be just that—long hours and hard work; if you love what you do, every long hour you put in and all of that hard work adds up and helps you in the long run.