New Grad’s Guide on How to Transition to the Real World
Everyone is going to give you “advice” and “tips” on how to get the perfect job out of college. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you my story about how I had absolutely no plan after college and eventually ended up finding my passion and working in a job I love. No advice, just experience.
The day I graduated was an exciting day! It was also a scary one. With peers getting jobs from their internships, I’d be lying to you if I didn't tell you I felt a little behind the curve. I spent 4 years with professors giving me “advice” that the competition is high today, and you need to be the best of the best in order to stand a chance in the real world. There was a lot of pressure to be employed quickly.
My story doesn’t start out with countless interviews and finding the perfect navy blue suit, (because statistically, you have a higher chance to be hired in a navy blue suit.) The truth is, I was at a party. I was talking with my fellow new grads about their new internships and jobs, which I mainly just listened to due to the fact that I hated the question “Hey PJ what are you doing now?” I met one of my friend’s older brother, who by chance was looking for a copywriter for his web development company. I said “I can do that!” By Monday, I had a job!! Part-time, but hey, I had an answer to the dreaded question.
The Copywriting Days
I worked on writing blogs, social media content, copy, and SEO meta descriptions for a small web development company. It was a team of four of us and I worked about 15 hours per week. The best part about it was the creative freedom I could apply to the work.
Eventually though, I found that I really needed something more full-time. I applied for a copywriter position at a big corporate web development company, and got it after the 2nd interview. This had me excited at first, my first “big boy” job was a huge national company. I saw myself climbing the ladder to CEO status, hopefully by the time I was 30. A long shot? Yes, but hey you got to dream big, right? Well that dream slowly diminished as I learned the difference between a small company and corporate. Simply put, I found my skills to be a lot more valuable outside of the corporate world.
I quit. Everyone told me I was being foolish to quit a steady job without another job lined up. I didn’t care. People also told me “your twenties are a time to screw up and bounce back”. So that’s exactly what I did. It felt like the right thing to do, so I took some time and re-evaluated what I really wanted out of a career. The bills never stopped however, and I was eating Easy Mac and ramen for a while.
Sometime later, I got a call from the first small web company about W2 information. It ended with, “Oh, so we were picked up by an ad agency, there’s a sales position open if you’re interested”. It just so happens that I just finished watching the movie “Yes Man” and I was all about opening myself up to new possibilities. I got the interview, made it past the second interview, and got hired.
My first day, I felt completely overwhelmed, but I surprisingly picked up the pace pretty quickly. This experience was different. I didn’t feel like I was doing meaningless tasks that no one else wanted to do. I was thrown into important meetings, large deals, and big clients all at once. After a while, you become comfortable in this realm. Before I knew it, I was the one hosting the important meetings.
I learned how to speak to potential clients, how to negotiate a quote, how to close deals, how to manage projects, how to work with a budget, how to produce results, and most importantly how to love what you do for a living. Working in accounts has been challenging and exciting all at the same time, and I feel like I have something that a lot of people don’t find in life, career passion.
So I didn’t get a prestigious internship that led to the perfect job. I made mistakes, opened the wrong doors, and fell into the right place. My only advice to someone stressed about graduation is to never be afraid to fail, because you will. You ARE going to make mistakes, so it’s better to learn to roll with the punches than to avoid the inevitable. Life throws curveballs and you can only plan so far, so make sure to never lose the courage to change, it could be the best change you ever made.
Real Mad Men, 1960 vs 2013
One of my favorite aspects of the television show, is how they nail the creative process. The research, development, execution, and pitch. Sometimes no matter how hard you want to magically have a great idea, it just won’t come to mind. Other times you can think your idea is ground-breaking, but the client isn’t onboard with your direction. As far as the business world of a career in the creative industry, Mad Men is spot on.
Always watching their back from their coworkers, the cast of Mad Men are consistently out for themselves. Everyone is trying to get ahead, and willing to go to extreme lengths to be at the top. Today, this would be the perfect set up for a failing business. Burning bridges won’t get you far as an agency, as well as taking the time to lend a hand. A successful agency is sustained by good relationships, not only with clients but also with the entire team. Going the extra mile rather than cutting corners is what makes a great agency stand out from a good agency.
The Power of Advertising
In my opinion, this is the biggest change to advertising due to technology. In the 50s and 60s, the media had a certain control that it no longer has. With so many product options, advertising clutter and noise, ways to order, and convenience of the internet consumers’ brand loyalty is nowhere near where it was in the past. Being able to search for the best prices around allows consumers to be fickle with their purchasing decisions.
The power today is in the hands of the consumer. Rather than creating a marketing plan that you think is effective, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. Would I benefit from paying attention from this ad, or is it just feature dumping like the other 3,000 advertisements that I see on a daily basis?
So, would an agency like Sterling Cooper be a top agency on Madison Ave. in 2013? No, just as the world evolves over time, so must agencies. Technology has pushed agencies to become more consumer-driven in their strategies. While Sterling Cooper would wine-and-dine their clients into their ideas, it was mainly their way or the highway. Today a lot more listening needs to be done rather than talking.
As Don would say “If you don’t like what people are saying, change the conversation.” However Don never had to deal with Yelp reviews. Sorry Don, your persuasive words might not make the cut in modern advertising. Time to work on your people skills!
The Giving Tree
I'd be lying if I said I remembered the first time I met Dale Regan. She was already a key figurehead at the school long before my arrival, and our encounters were brief during my time as a student. It was not until I returned to the school 4 years later, seeking employment at my alma mater, that I really got to know the woman behind the position.
Episcopal opened its arms to me, as it does to everyone, and by offering me my first “real job”, continued to educate me through my adult years, as the location did through my childhood. Episcopal is a community where you couldn't turn a corner without bumping into a friend, confidant, mentor, or simply a smiling face. It's a place that feels like home the minute someone utters “Nice to meet you”. A place I will always attest to raising me to be the educated and accomplished woman I am today. Which makes sense, as it was an environment that commended creativity, encouraged education, and really begged you to be the person it knew you could be.
As I mentioned before, there are few early memories I have of Dale, but the later ones, where she was my mentor and confidant are the ones that stand out. You couldn't pass by this woman without hearing a kind or encouraging word. She would often call me into her office just to see how I was doing – and her timing always seemed impeccable, as though she knew I just needed to talk. I vividly remember my last two conversations with Dale. The day I told her I was leaving Episcopal to pursue other job opportunities and then our very last conversation at a fund raising event for the school shortly before she left us.
You know that a mentor will always be a mentor when you tell them you're resigning and their first response is “good!”. I was terrified to go speak with Dale, and tell the woman who gave me the position that I wanted to try new things and grow through new experiences… I was afraid I would be letting her down, or disappointing her. But, the words she said, “I'm glad you're leaving” just sent my head into a whirl! Of course, her comments were slightly in jest, and followed with, “don't get me wrong, I'm sad to see you go, but get out of here and go make your mark on the world…” When she said, “yes, you are done growing and learning here. I agree it's time for you to move on, and I'm happy to see what you do next!” That's when I knew I truly met a remarkable leader. Although Dale will not get to see my path she had inspired, it's more to the point that it is still her inspiration that leads me to where I am today and will be tomorrow. She encouraged me to take chances and seek out growth opportunities. To never settle and keep reaching for the sky.
The last time I spoke with Dale, she told me she would see me again, and she followed this sentiment with “Episcopal gives you roots and wings”. The stability to set a secure footing, but the tools and inspiration to expand your potential to reach higher heights than you ever imagined. Dale herself is the school's roots and its wings now. With her connection to the 800yr old Great Oak, and the beautiful plaza dedication today, to the wings she wears… She is in our past, our now and is in our future as we all aspire to the greatness she always knew we had.
“Once there was a tree…. and she loved a little boy. And everyday the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. And they would play hide-and-go-seek. And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree…. very much. And the tree was happy.”
– An excerpt from The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.
Dale, you gave us all you had, and you were always more than happy to do so! This excerpt is the perfect reference of the day, and the Great Oak, the perfect symbol of your love and sacrifice for the school, to which you gave your life.
Thank you Dale, for everything.
Mad Men Marketing Looking to Hire
An Account Strategist is responsible for the initiation and execution of the company’s business development strategy. He or she will be responsible for identifying new business opportunities, generating new leads, learning about a potential client’s needs, educating prospects about the agency, closing sales, and taking care of the day-to-day workings of accounts – including estimating and project management.
Our ideal candidate must be self motivated – with a positive attitude, and have the desire and ability to focus on growing new and current business. The position is suited to an individual who is “sales driven” and who can utilize his or her exceptional skills to produce effective and successful results.
– Lead generation, cold calling, and getting appointments
– Develop new business relationships and grow current accounts to generate income for the company
– Present to potential clients through: direct communication in face-to-face meetings, telephone calls, and e-mails
– Actively and successfully manage the sales process: lead generation, credentials pitch, asking questions, solution pitch, negotiation, close, and delegate further tasks to internal departments
– Self-management of time and individual responsibility for new business. Support by management and staff is available for pitches and strategies
– Managing and maintaining a pipeline and ensuring all sales administration is current
– Effectively interact with other departments
– Establish contact with Company Directors/Marketing Managers utilizing existing or self-generated leads
– Develop and promote sound working relationships with all external customers in order to promote the company and enhance business awareness
– Develop and maintain positive relationships with agency account and creative teams
– 4 year degree from an accredited university
– 1-2 years of sales experience
– A positive and determined approach to researching and analyzing new business opportunities (with new and current business)
– Travel. You will be expected to spend 80% of your time out of the office in meetings.
– Valid drivers license
– Ability to use initiative and pay close attention to detail
– Capable of hands-on problem solving, with the ability to generate ideas and solutions
– Ability to cope with competing demands and to prioritize tasks
– Strong communication skills in all forms, including written, oral, e-mail, telephone and presentation
– Excellent organizational and time management skills
– Capable of working independently with individual responsibility
Mad Men is a B2B and Business to Consumer marketing agency with expertise in consumer driven campaigns for all types of media.
We empower consumer driven brands. It’s simple. We take a company’s mission statement. Strip it down to its essence. Make it speak to the consumer. And sell. You take credit for the smashing results.
Since 2008, we have the advantage of being new to the market, contributing fresh ideas to a dried up industry, with a small efficient team to produce excellent results.
Mad Men headquarters is in Jacksonville, FL – In the heart of the downtown district.
Jacksonville-based Mad Men Marketing, is a privately held company servicing Jacksonville, the St. Louis area, Nashville and NYC. The company is a Full-Service marketing firm providing a variety of specialties based on client needs locally, regionally, nationally and internationally; offering interactive creative ideas, with consumer-driven branding; all incorporated through the three types of media services using our specific capabilities to get the job done. Additional information about Mad Men Marketing may be found on the Internet at www.madmenmarketinginc.com.
MMM Helps Beach Bash Create a Splash!
This year, Mad Men Marketing was given the opportunity to team up with the highly respected community of Beaches Habitat for Humanity. This partnership began just in time to help Beaches Habitat more than double their net proceeds at their 9th Annual Beach Bash.
The team at Mad Men helped Beaches Habitat by designing the logo for the event, create and print the invitations, design and place advertising for the event, and help with various other promotional efforts around town. The event was even more special this year, as Beaches Habitat announced their partnership with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), providing housing for veterans who were injured during their service in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.
This year’s family, the first family from WWP to receive a house from any Habitat for Humanity affiliation, was Sgt. Ryan and Gena Smith, along with their son Aiden. To recognize this new partnership and honor the Smith family, Mad Men Marketing also created a seven minute video announcing this partnership – detailing Beaches Habitat as an organization that helps thousands of families in our community – concluding with an interview of the Smith family, chronicling their strengths through immeasurable hardships faced during their young marriage.
The success of the full-scale marketing campaign enabled Beaches Habitat for Humanity to nearly double their attendance at the Beach Bash event from 250 guests in 2011 to an estimated 400 in 2012. In addition to record attendance, net proceeds of the event came to just shy of $100,000 – which is also the record for Habitat for Humanity since beginning the Beach Bash event nine years ago.
Mad Men Marketing is very pleased to have the opportunity to help raise awareness for such a generous and heartfelt organization. We look forward to continued success for their upcoming events in 2013.