So you’ve spent several gruelling years at university learning about your industry, the many roles available within it and most frequently, learning about how challenging and competitive getting a job will be.
You’re now looking to start your career – you’re excited, but mostly terrified.
When leaving university and starting to look for your first job, expectations are high. Expectations from your parents, peers, university and most importantly yourself! I can relate, which is why I was ecstatic to find a role as an Account Executive right out of the gate, and nonetheless, at an agency I knew I wanted to work at for years. Bright Blue Day as an agency is all about blue sky thinking combined with fool proof delivery and forward thinking creative. We help our clients to be interesting, useful and entertaining. And that’s exactly the type of agency I wanted to be a part of.
So when you also find that dream role and agency, here are 5 truths to bear in mind…
Learn your role and find your place
Yes, when you apply for your first job, the role will be outlined to you. However it takes time to really understand the parameters of all an Account Executive does – and it is a lot! If you’re lucky, you will do a lot more than expected in a short amount of time and truly become a valuable part of your new team.
Being at BBD for almost 10 months now, I’ve had the opportunities to attend brand and strategic brainstorming sessions, lead on projects and give my input in the projects I’ve been involved in – not just a paper pusher.
When you’ve understood your many exciting roles within your agency, it’s now time to learn your place, as these are two different things.
An agency is a blend of so many talents, personalities and job roles. So how do you fit in? As an Account Executive, your role is to support the client services team and support your clients. Your place in the team is up to you!
Learn your strengths
You will have many!
It’s important and easy to see your weaknesses, and these are often revealed by mistakes we make. But mistakes are great, they teach us lessons we don’t forget so we aren’t likely to make the same mistake twice.
I had a recent experience that shows just how true this is, so here is a tip: when asked to organise a client meeting, be sure to confirm time and location. It sounds very obvious, but in the mist of many emails back and forth between all the meeting attendees that you are trying to co-ordinate, it’s very easy not to confirm one simple thing – will the meeting be at your agency, or at the client’s office?!
A great lesson learnt here.
But what’s harder than identifying weakness is really understanding your strengths. Be sure to be reflective on these, and once you see them, improve, polish and promote them.
One strength I have had identified is an ability to write a thorough email – and clients really appreciate it. An email a day recapping urgent actions is a simple way to organise both yourself and the client so that you can always remain on the same page and feel like you are really collaborating.
You’re still learning
After a lifetime in education, you may think it’s time to stop learning and start doing, now that you’re starting your career, right? Wrong!
We know our industry is fast-paced and constantly evolving, so you too need to be quickly and constantly evolving your knowledge.
Focus on settling in and learning your role, and as soon as you’ve learnt this, continue to learn about your industry.
Always ask questions and remember, Google will always be your friend!
It’s all about relationships
Both in your agency and with your clients. When starting out, it’s so easy to be caught up in wanting to impress within your agency, and so you should. But after that first month of settling in, your attention needs to shift to impressing, delighting and being positively noticed by your clients.
For me, I’ve had the chance to be the daily lead on several client projects. With one client in particular, through creating a process of a morning catch-up call and an end of day wrap-up email, I have been able to build a strong relationship with the client through these frequent and friendly interactions. Showing a client a bit of love and attention is a sure fire way to delight them.
What’s your style? Everyone has one
Finally, you can now begin to think about your client servicing style. I’m currently at the 10 month mark, and I am still finding mine. Use the people in your team to figure this out. Account Managers, Directors and even fellow Execs; everyone in the client services team has a style and approach to dealing with clients.
Do you live by a set of processes to get jobs done, which you then instil upon your client? Do you take time to understand their process and then adjust your approach around this? Are they the type of person who is happy to receive a smiley face in an email? Or strictly keep to full stops? A very controversial matter!
This can take time to identify and perfect, but it’s important to always consider how you are interacting with your clients and your team. As I said, it’s all about relationships.
So if I had to summarise my first months as an Account Executive at Bright Blue Day, and if I could give you one key takeaway from this blog, it would be to step fearlessly into your first agency role and remember when you get there that the real learning is just beginning and that’s a great thing!