By: Marisa Bennett
If you are a college student who wants some type of employment in their chosen field, there is a good chance you have had to search high and low for an internship. I know I spent probably a solid 5 months constantly applying for internships and interviewing with many companies I can’t even tell you the names of today, along with my dream agency, Global Team Blue (formerly Team Detroit), on the backburner. I knew it was competitive, so I kept a realistic mindset that I have a good chance of not getting in. But by some stroke of good fortune, I was one of the chosen students to participate in their coveted internship program, The Greenhouse. Going into my first day as an intern with the Ford Motor Company and Lincoln Motor Company websites account team, I did not realize how much I would learn and also many things I didn’t know made an advertising agency tick. Here are some of the things I had a chance to learn during my time at GTB…
- Always carry a pen and notebook – When you have a chance to be a part of the thriving environment that is an ad agency, there are going to be so many little things you learn in meetings, through colleagues, and other resources. Luckily, I was provided a journal to document what I had learned in my three months. Truthfully, I had filled out a good chunk of my notebook. I pretty much documented all meetings and interactions. You never know what you can catch when you’re paying attention.
- As. Much. As. Possible. – In advertising or in really any communication-based profession, it’s truly about who you know. I can’t emphasize it enough. I know it sounds like a lot of energy and time to talk to others, but you never know where it can take you in the future. Networking also gives you the opportunity to get to know so many people, and typically you can connect with someone on even the smallest of things. To sum it up, it does not hurt to know a lot of people in your field.
- Teamwork is key – This sounds pretty basic, I am aware. But it rings true. Advertising in particular is a people’s profession; you are always communicating and working with others on many projects at a time. With a client as large as Ford Motor Company, you were kept pretty busy (even as an intern, take it from me). From preparing client meetings to auditing video content on the websites, every assignment was a team effort. We all supported each other and did whatever we could to help our colleagues. How else could we get all these large assignments done?
- You WILL mess up, it will be okay… – I feel as though this one is slightly underrated. People don’t talk about how they have messed up in their career. But in the beginning, there’s a good chance you will make a mistake. Actually, you probably will. It’s a learning curve. You will live. Your team will live. The project is not doomed. But you do need to take necessary actions to fix your mistake. Be honest and sincere, it will take you a long way with your supervisor. But when you make a mistake, you will grow from it. Nothing wrong about that.
- People really want you to do well – Think about a new tech toy you got. When you buy it, you would want all the parts to work, right? Otherwise, there could be a malfunction and it won’t work. Think of your co-workers this way. Most people really want you to do well and help make the agency machine work strong and consistently. In my encounters, just about everyone wants your best and look out for you. Your coworkers want you to succeed and grow. Being in advertising means you are always learning and always keeping up with what your customers want from your particular brand. Like I mentioned before, this is a teamwork based business, we’re all in this together.
As these seem to be basic understanding of the advertising world, and even the world in general, you truly learn once you are in the position and are in the middle of the action. Advertising is a constant roller coaster of change and growth through creativity and strategy, but these things will mostly remain the same. It is important to know the foundations of what it takes to be in this business, and I feel so lucky I had a chance to learn so much about all of them.