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The Modern Copywriter: The Evolution of Soft Skills For Hard Times - Pt 2
The Modern Copywriter: The Evolution of Soft Skills For Hard Times - Pt 1
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How To Be a Twenty-Something Advertising Graduate

Posted by Ailien Phan on January 7, 2014

Looking at popular blogs and websites that are catered toward the twenty-something demographic, I have found multiple entries that deal with being a twenty-something. Popular themes of said blog entries: how to conquer the awkward transition between student and adult life, reasons why you should enjoy being this clueless at this age and the differences you can expect between college life and the real world.

I can usually relate to these blogs and it leads me to think about the things I’ve learned* since graduation at my uber** cool job at an Austin ad agency.

  • You are fresh out of college – it’s okay to ask questions and need help. This ranges from advertising things that they don’t teach in college but should: ie., “How do I write this firm but polite email that says you’re being ridiculous without actually saying that?” to general grown up knowledge: “So the change jar at my front door is not the same as a 401K?” College lays the foundation for your career but the people you work with and the experiences you have will give you what you need to succeed. It’s cliché but true – the only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask. Seriously, it took the coffee machine actually exploding for me to ask how to use it. The struggle is real, people.
  • Bullet point #1 being said, you also should have confidence in your knowledge and instinct. You went to school and you were hired for a reason. You should put your thoughts and opinions out there. Sometimes it won’t be right but sometimes it’ll be right on the money. Our fresh perspective is valuable and definitely worth using. And if you’re shy or unsure, run it by a coworker that you’re close with before presenting it to the big bosses, they’ve probably been in your position before.
  • Dress to impress clients – you need to look like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. Your clients need to take you seriously and - if you’re anything like me - you probably look about 15, so don’t give them any more reason to think you’re an intern that’s tagging along to take notes. And if someone thinks they can walk all over you because you’re young and just starting out, do everything you can to prove that you can execute anything they ask for exceptionally well.
  • Take all assignments to the next level – pride yourself on how well you can answer the phone or find miscellaneous office items. You’re a rookie so don’t expect that every play will end in you scoring a touchdown and prancing around the endzone, pouring popcorn on yourself. Sometimes you have to be that guy that holds the ball for the kicker to kick the game winning field goal (is that guy called a longsnapper? I think that’s right... I should ask Joe later.)The big projects are always important but don’t be bitter/mad that you still have to do little things. Your time will come!

Every day is different and, not going to lie, sometimes I am stumbling through life, wishing I was waking up at noon for a class where I would immediately go back to sleep. But I am one of the lucky few to stumble their way into advertising, which is one of the most fun and interesting industries for young people. People can give you all the advice in the world, but you’re honestly going to figure it out as you go and then later laugh at yourself for taking it too seriously.

*These are my observations, not to be taken as concrete facts of ad life.
**Disclaimer 2: I never say uber so please understand that’s how highly I think of my job and company.


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