THE ADNEWS NGEN BLOG: How to survive your first five years

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The AdNews NGen blog

The AdNews NGen blog

AdNews has teamed with NGen to help its members (those with less than five years experience in the industry) to have their voices heard. Each week a new member of the NGen committee will give their perspective on the latest industry news.


‘Tis the season of holiday parties, New Year’s Resolutions and an influx of new grads into the media world. As we’re both on our last legs of NGen eligibility, we’ve reflected on the overly generic advice given to us at the start of our career by parents and mentors…

1. Plan ahead
2. Build your brand
3. Be confident
4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

'Niggas in Paris' got it right…”I don’t even know what that means? No one knows what it means. But it’s provocative”. So here’s our provocative interpretation that turns the generic advice into useful tips for surviving your first five years. 

#planahead
Paul: When you’re a fresh faced grad, you may not be your normal effervescent self the following morning given the ten shots of Patron the night before. A couple of micro-sleeps at your desk might cure your hangover. It probably won’t though. You might need something more substantial
Handy Tip #1 – Open your latest media plan. Print screen. Set as desktop screensaver. Face your screen. Drift off into dream time at your desk.
 
Kristine: You jump into the lift and panic when you notice it’s just you and the CEO. This is your time to shine and have a one on one chat with the big man, but instead your mouth goes dry and you stare a hole into the bottom of your coffee mug.
Handy Tip #2 – Go to your desk and Google your boss. All of a sudden you have material to talk about like tennis, their kids and the conference they’re speaking at this week. Next time get stuck in the lift with management on purpose.

#buildyourbrand
Paul: My uni lecturer once said that you can throw a brick out the window and chances are you’ll hit someone in advertising. We all need to be a little unique New York sometimes to stand out from the crowd.
Handy Tip #3 – Add a Rick Roll to a presentation. Go all Tom Cruise in a rep meeting, jumping on the tables after hearing the best idea someone’s ever presented. If you’re going to be the guy that wears too much denim…wear too much denim.

Kristine: Go on, be “that girl who volunteers for everything.” Whether you’re after a promotion or a Young Achiever of the Year award, you won’t get it without a list of impressive credentials.
Handy Tip #4 –Enter every industry competition, ask to be on your agency social committee, present at the all-staffer and even organise company karaoke. You’ve gotta be in it to win it.

#beconfident
Paul: My current boss swears by this principle. As contentious as it may sound, listening to rap music before a job interview makes you 10% more likely to get the job (not proven). Apply this theory to big presentations and you’ll nail it every time.
Handy Tip #5 – Log on to iTunes. Download Watch the Throne. Listen to 'Niggas in Paris'.

Kristine: I remember one of the first meetings of my media career. “Kristine, can you check on the average CPC and CPM, and also the SOV? We’ll share it in the WIP.” What the…? I mean, yep, I can do that.
Handy Tip #6 – Say yes and then pray. Move over Laura, Megan and Katie. Google is your new best friend.

#makemistakes
Paul: You may not be a fine diner or lover of the culinary art. My first three hat experience involved a bed of rock salt. Embarrassingly, I confused it for what I thought was a type of crispy rice. I never lived that down.
Handy Tip #7 – Spend more time watching Masterchef. Google ingredients on the day. Swallow with confidence.

Kristine: The famous last words, “Any questions?” Crickets. You can barely hear over your heartbeat, but you ask anyway. You have saved the day by using your newbie grace period to the fullest.
Handy Tip #8 – Ask the question before it becomes a “dumb question”.

Those are our top tips, but we want to hear yours. Do share!

Kristine Ballensky
Communications Strategist
UM Australia

Paul Den
Communications Strategist
UM Australia

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