Marketing Grads; Read This: Why I Wish I Listened to Don Henley in my 20s

With graduation season and Memorial Day past us, the celebration of your accomplishment with family and friends is trending down. Fourth of July is quickly approaching and before you know it Labor Day, the unofficial close of the Summer, will be a reality. Maybe you have already secured a role to start your career or are pounding the pavement looking for jobs. Perhaps you just want to take this summer off. But when this summer passes, nobody will be on the road, nobody will be on the beach. You’ll feel it in the air, the summer’s out of reach.

I was recently asked to speak to a marketing graduate and provide guidance; the graduate was on the beach, actively seeking (pun intended). As I was coming out of my internship program, I wish I’d had the sense to sit down with a marketing professional and pursue insights on career planning and tips on how to maximize my career trajectory. If I could go back in time, I’d take a deeper listen to Don Henley’s, The Boys of Summer:

Don’t Look Back, You Can Never Look Back

I remained in my first job out of college in media for five years in the same role. While I was fortunate to keep this position through multiple rounds of lay-offs during the recession, my career to plateaued in the 4th and 5th year as the the job market recovered. During this period, I asked for promotions after taking on responsibilities when our workforce was reduced, but they were respectfully rejected; I chased a carrot. Post-recession taught me that the notion of being patient allowing hard work to pay off is not efficient. I was blessed to have series of great leaders following this experience that demonstrated that true leadership is being committed to my development from day one.

Advice: In your 20s, give yourself a maximum of three-years in any role. As you are rounding your second year, if there isn’t an active conversation in your development plan to advance you to your next role, look externally. Be persistent in your growth and never look back.

You Got That Hair Slicked Back, and Your Sunglasses On

The allure of the agency world is fascinating. Sensationalized by the series Mad Men, I wasn’t charmed by agency life until my late 20s. The vast knowledge I absorbed in a quick two years there was remarkable. I was surrounded by exceedingly astute marketers who provided insight from which I still reap the rewards. I look back and wish only that I had transitioned into this world earlier than I did.

Advice: You may be eager to land a position at a large brand but explore a role at a large advertising agency for the potential to develop a comprehensive foundation. Agency life provides the opportunity to be exposed to a diverse set of industries, a varied customer base, and it provides integrated planning experience across multiple marketing functions. Being able to pull these levers in the future job searching may separate you from other candidates as you shoot upward with your Wayfarers on.

I Can Tell You My Love for You Will Still Be Strong

While my path has crossed with many, early in my 20s, I didn’t recognize that my skills and experience will only play a certain part in my advancement. Personal rapport with colleagues, getting to know industry peers, keeping in touch with old classmates or bonding from someone I just met will all strongly impact my future ability to advance. Various factors can lead to positive or negative experiences, but remaining genuine, regardless of the circumstance, will always have better outcomes. A wise leader of mine has shaped me to seek innocence from everyone in every situation. I do my best to stay poised on being pleasant, regardless of energy I’m receiving.

Advice: Value every connection and approach everyone with warmth, regardless of conditions. Your network will be one of your greatest assets in your career climb; show love for everyone and anyone in your network.

The boys of summer will soon be gone and you don’t ever have to forget those nights. But learn to never look back if you don’t have active leadership supporting your development and career plan. Establishing a strong base in your twenties will provide opportunity as you advance; consider slicking back your hair and jumping into agency life. But most importantly, your love for the network you cultivate will be vital to your upward climb.

If you end up joining ‘corporate America’, feel free to read my piece on navigating and embracing this ladder: Embracing corporate America: Climbing the ladder

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like to pick my brain further on my career experiences.

pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] With graduation season and Memorial Day past us, the celebration of your accomplishment with family and friends is trending down. Fourth of July is quickly approaching and before you know it Labor …  […]

Leave a Comment

Reach Me

Don't hesitate to reach out to start collaborating on your multichannel experience.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt