Thinking about the transition keeps me up at night. I am talking about the transition from college to agency. Many college students get their start in the real world at a marketing agency. For the past four years, we have been able to nap and binge watch The Office throughout the week. Going from this to the fast-paced environment of an agency won’t be easy. After talking with a few project managers, account coordinators, and paid media specialists about their transition, I have a better idea of how to tackle it. Here are a few steps you can take to conquer your transition.
Those terms we memorized in our different marketing classes won’t help too much in a real agency role. However, there is a lot we can do now to prepare. Taking the time to work hard on Jen’s projects in social media and digital analytics is huge. A lot of what we do in these projects is what real account coordinators do on a daily basis. It is also important to master Excel. Get certified in Google AdWords, Analytics, and Facebook Blueprint. Watch videos and tutorials to prepare yourself. Lastly, do lots of research on the company you will be working for as well as marketing agencies as a whole. Know the company culture and know all of the acronyms. You will thank yourself.
Listen, Listen, and Listen
When first starting off at an agency, a lot of information will be thrown at you very quickly. It is vital that you listen carefully, take diligent notes, and ask questions. Asking questions is key to ensuring you have a deep understanding of your role. The more you listen and ask questions, the quicker you will adapt to your position.
Arguably the best way to make your transition a little smoother is to make friends with your coworkers. In life after college, these are the people you will spend the majority of your time with. Having coworker friends means you have someone to ask questions, to vent to, and to enjoy work with. To quote the great Michael Scott, “The people that you work with are, when you get down to it, your very best friends.”
If you start your career at an agency, be ready to work hard and play hard. We have a lot to learn, but if we enter the agency world with an open heart and eager mind, the transition won’t be so bad.