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5 Tips for Marketing Grads to Make it in the Real World

Written by Cooper Peebles

The first day I started at Eighty Three Creative back in February this year, I was nervous as hell, which is pretty usual for marketing grads. The day before, I paid for a haircut and shaved my face in order to be presentable and hopefully give off a clean first impression. I packed a lunch and picked out a business casual outfit in preparation for the first day at my first job.

A junior account manager’s job at ETC is to make our clients’ vision become a reality with the skill of our amazing creative teams. Everyone on the team is truly an expert in their craft, and each person brings something different to the table.

Several weeks in the “real world” feels like two semesters of being a full-time marketing student —it’s intense. At first. After a while, it becomes easier to pick up on things. Through the ETC onboarding process, I came up with five tips for recent college grads that just landed their first job in marketing.

Stay Organized

One of the best lessons I learned from my internship was the simple task of organizing emails. Being organized with your emails, files, and notes will add just that little bit of control that you might be looking for when things get hectic at the office.

Being organized both saves time when you’re trying to find files on your computer, and the lack of clutter looks clean, which gives off a more professional appearance when presenting your materials to clients. Starting the day by organizing files and notes is a great way to begin a healthy work routine.

Find Your Balance

Getting your first job is amazing. It’s also amazing to relax at home watching Netflix during weeknights and going out with your close friends on the weekend. Work-life balance is a factor that you probably looked for when applying to the workplace that hired you.

An overabundance of something like work (and play) can be detrimental to your mindset and can lower your overall productivity. To avoid bringing that work stress home with you, plan something non-work related for after the day like exercising, apartment chores, show binging, and/or social media surfing. Make your decisions a habit, and soon the workweek will just zoom by.

Pay Attention

Your workplace is your new classroom. And just as you pay attention and listen in the classroom, you should do so in your new job, too. It can be intimidating at first when your colleagues are using jargon that you only remember from those nights cramming for a test. But listen for context clues or look up terms on the internet. Either way, you’re actively trying to learn and understand how everything works in the real world, and from my experience, that’s a well-received motion.

Participate with the Team

Ask to join meetings even if you don’t know anything about the client or marketing topics. Don’t sit completely idle and let everyone talk over each other, join in on the marketing chaos! Say, “Yes!” when your colleagues invite you out for lunch during the week or happy hour on Friday.

Saying “yes” and agreeing to go to things not only helps you build relationships with your colleagues, but it also helps ease any reservations you had before you started working at your new job. Meeting your colleagues can be a little awkward at first, but if you keep putting yourself out there and hanging around them, over time that awkwardness can turn into a great relationship and grow your expanding network.

Calm Down. Be Patient.

Take a deep breath and relax. You’re not getting thrown to the wolves on your first day. Nerves and anxiety might be commonplace at the beginning, but don’t let that discourage you from the amazing opportunity you earned.

You made it. Don’t let thoughts like, “How did I get this far?” and “When do I actually get to do something?” cloud your mind. Your time to shine will come sooner than you think. Things can get hectic in a hurry and you only realize that through time. So hold on and get ready, because it’s going to be a fun ride.

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