When you're just starting out, you’re going to get a lot of career advice (from a lot of different people). That’s definitely a good thing, there’s no end of the things you can learn from those who have already made it. However, just because someone is your senior, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to give you stellar guidance.
As folks advance and rise through the ranks, it can sometimes be difficult to look back and remember what it’s really like to be young and hungry. That’s why I wanted to hear from young people, just getting started in advertising, who are actively putting advice into practice.
I asked five women living and working in Minneapolis to share both the best and the worst pieces of career advice they have received thus far. What bits of wisdom have been deemed diamonds and which ones were just plain rough?
Nicole Folgate, Designer at SapientRazorfish | nicolefolgate.com
Best Advice: Take stock of your personal interests and use them to differentiate yourself from your peers, especially when you’re looking to score your first job.
Her Take: Whether it’s a passion project or incorporating your interests into a portfolio piece, these are the projects that will help you rise to the top in a pile of portfolios.
Worst Advice: Keep your social media presence hidden from potential employers.
Her Take: While you may not want potential employers to see those embarrassing high school photos on Facebook, consider the role each social media platform plays in the advertising industry as whole. It can be a great outlet for sharing with your work, connecting with others in the field and voicing your opinion about what’s happening in the industry.
Best Advice: Consume as much good stuff as possible (and let your freak flag fly).
Her Take: Read annuals, books, go to the movies and stay involved in your hobbies. Also, just be yourself, that’s probably why you got hired in the first place.
Worst Advice: Take what you can get.
Her Take: There’s a huge difference between settling and paying your dues. Paying your dues is putting in the time, effort, asking questions and being surrounded by awesome people. A lot of young creatives think it means taking any gig they can get. I made that mistake. Putting your time in is something else entirely. That can still be ‘grunt’ work, but if you’re in the right place, it sure as hell won’t feel like it.
Shareina Chandler, Intern Copywriter at Colle Mcvoy | Co-Host on Borrowed Interest Podcast
Best Advice: Always come from a place of truth.
Her Take: Truth is what makes good ideas, great ideas. Without truth, ideas fall flat because they don’t resonate with people. You can spend a million dollars on an idea and no one cares, but with truth you can spend $10,000 on an idea and people will share it because they see themselves reflected in it.
Worst Advice: If your work is good, no one cares that you’re an asshole.
Asia Cruz, Media Planning Intern, Space150
Best Advice: After asking how to be valuable at work, someone told me, "there's always room for a good idea." I think this is true in work and in life: curiosity and uniqueness of thought take you far.
Worst Advice: It's not advice per se, but I remember assuming the career path at an agency was relatively straightforward. I see now that it looks more like a cross-country run and less like a race around a track.
Erin Slayton, Junior Art Director, BBDO
Best Advice: Go to portfolio school.
Her Take: I avoided portfolio school for a long time because I didn't want to go to school again, but eventually decided to apply when I wasn't getting the opportunities I wanted. Some people can get a job without it, but it helped me get my current job as an art director. I made lots of great friends who are now in the industry and the connections with teachers were invaluable because they're typically from the industry.
Worst Advice: Attend every networking event.
Her Take: I hate networking. Just the word makes me cringe because I'm an awkward introvert. I went to so many networking events without meeting anyone because I was too nervous to introduce myself or it was overcrowded to the point I couldn't hear myself have a conversation. The most valuable connections I've made are through the people I know. Ask your teachers and friends and coworkers and classmates to introduce you to people they know. Then ask to meet with them one and one. Network to find out more about a place or what you want to do, rather than to have more connections on LinkedIn.
/Written by Olivia Boone