With graduation dates quickly approaching, seniors are eagerly searching for their perfect entry-level career. But most don’t know where to look or even where to start.
As a young alumna, I’ve had many seniors from my college reaching out to me for some advice. So I want to share some common questions I’ve received and my outlook. The job application process is quite overwhelming, so I hope this will help ease your worries and help you figure out if agency life is right for you!
How did you choose to work in an advertising agency versus a corporate marketing job?
For me, this wasn’t even a question. I wanted to work somewhere that had learning opportunities, a casual dress code, varied day-to-day duties, and valued a work-life balance. To me, it was clear the agency life was a perfect fit, but it’s not for everyone! I strongly suggest meeting up with young alumni who work in different careers you’re interested in to learn what their day-to-day is and what exactly they’re passionate about in their career. Is it the culture, their work, relationships, career progression opportunities, relocation options? Once you decide your top values, the decision will be clearer.
What’s your advice to a college senior applying for their first career?
Apply, apply, apply. Seriously. Apply to those jobs you might not be qualified for, but really want. Apply to jobs you’re overqualified for. Apply to internships (trust me, you’re not too good for an internship just because you have a bachelors degree). Apply to the job you’re not even sure if you’re 100% interested in. Apply to the brand you’re in love with but only has jobs open in Los Angeles.
Keep a running list of companies you’re interested in and set a date once a week to check their website for any new career opportunities. Companies are constantly updating their careers page, and you never know when your dream job will be there!
I probably applied to thirty jobs between February – May my senior year, and only heard back from four. Unfortunately, most companies won’t send you a rejection letter. That was the hardest part of the process for me because I couldn’t truly consider a job a possibility until someone reached out for an interview.
Do you really need agency experience?
Yes and no. A qualification on most entry-level agency positions is agency experience. From what I’ve seen, most prefer a recent college grad with an agency internship under their belt. Otherwise, they’re usually looking for someone with one year of career experience.
In my two years in the industry, those are the two paths entry-level people have taken. I interned the summer after I graduated and was hired on full-time afterward. When you’re in college you have the mindset you’re going to be in a career right away, but if you want to work in an ad agency, this isn’t always the case.
What’s your favorite part about working in an agency?
The culture and flexibility! Ad agencies truly have a work-hard-play-hard mentality, and I love it. We strive to create the best work, but we also take time to celebrate each other and national holidays (like National Have Fun at Work Day)!
By flexibility, I mean it’s a lot more relaxed with hours and dress code. Unless you’re in a client meeting, most agencies are chill about what you wear to work. Obviously, don’t wear sweatpants, but jeans are very common and not frowned upon at all. For flexible hours, I can run across the street and grab coffee, go to an appointment for an hour, or leave early if I have a conflict. As long as you have your work complete or make it up later, and don’t have a meeting, it’s cool. But always tell your boss.
Best of luck to you, graduating seniors! This next journey can be difficult, and I hope you fall in love with the path you choose. If you’ve decided you’re truly interested in working at an ad agency and think MBB+ might be for you, add our careers page to your running list of potential opportunities!