As a marketing graduate, your first week at a marketing agency will be one of the most exciting, overwhelming and interesting experiences that nothing can prepare you for. But I'm going to try.
If you've just been offered an agency position, congratulations! Getting a job as a digital marketing graduate in this economy, coming out of 2020, is no easy feat. Give yourself a pat on the back. If you are currently applying for a job, hang in there! Job applications are grueling and agency positions are highly competitive.
I was offered a job at Direct Response Media (DRM) after completing two degrees in marketing and media, and a whole lot of internships. But nothing prepared me for the whirlwind that was my first week. Here are some tips I wish I knew as a marketing graduate when I started at DRM:
#1 Be prepared to dive into the deep end
For me, the attitude was learn as you go - with a good mix of training and then putting what you’ve learned into practice. There was no place to hide. On my first day, I was posting content on the company's Instagram account and after the first week I had completed a competitor analysis and planned 2 weeks of social media content. I loved this approach as it never let the fear of creating content and publishing my own work for a new company build up. Having such a supportive team of mentors that guiding me with trust and confidence helped me to embrace the practicality of the role. Getting out of my comfort zone early was definitely worth it.
#2 An open channel of communication
Asking questions can be intimidating at the best of times, but asking questions when you think you should know what you're doing definitely feels uncomfortable. I made the mistake of overthinking my questions. Am I asking too many? What if I come across like I don’t know what I'm doing? What if they realise they have made a mistake in hiring me? Trust me, your team would much rather you ask questions along the way than spend hours on a project without clarity. That's not a good use of anyone's time. Remember that your team has worked at the company longer than you and they are here to help.
#3 Take a lot of notes
Take notes. Take too many notes. Even if you think you will remember, take notes anyway. In your first week, you are going to be given a lot of information that in the moment you will think you will remember. Trust me, you won’t remember a lot of it. And you will probably want to. Write down everything that may have importance — business goals, tasks, passwords. Just take notes. And If you have missed something, refer to #2 above.
#4 Meet new people
Starting at a new company can be daunting as more often than not you don't know anyone. I highly recommend making an effort to chat to people when you can—while you’re eating lunch, while you’re waiting for the elevator, filling up your drink bottle. It makes coming to work a little bit easier when you have some friendly faces you can put a name to. My boss made me organise a one-on-one introductory meeting with everyone I hadn’t met in the company. Depending on how large your company is this could be unrealistic. Instead, reach out to key team members or limit it to members of your immediate team.
#5 Be open to new ideas
Every company runs very differently. Just because you have learned something at university or a past position, doesn’t mean it is the be-all and end-all. Be prepared to be wrong. Be prepared to be corrected. Be prepared to learn new methods of doing things. No matter how much you have learned from previous experience, you will still be receiving feedback, so go into every day with an open mind.
My first week as a marketing graduate at DRM was ridiculously challenging but I wouldn’t change a second of it. I have been so lucky to have a wonderfully supportive team of colleges that are so eager to nurture me and foster my professional growth. At the end of the day, you were hired for a reason. Good luck and have confidence in yourself.
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