4 Tips on Navigating Agency Life: Early Career Edition

Starting a career in communications can be overwhelming at times – clients with a variety of needs, figuring out your personal organizational style, constantly juggling time management, not to mention managing relationships with colleagues as the new kid on the block, all while striving to traverse the professional landscape with some semblance of confidence.

Many essays, books and articles have been written about the avenues taken and strategies employed by successful executives and C-suite personnel to achieve greatness. Not overlooking the value in these pieces (advice which can be applied to any level in some cases), I respectfully ask: where does that leave us, associate employees, looking to make that move to the next level?

After a few years of navigating agency life, there are some valuable insights I gained along the way and humbly pass along to my peers.

Pay attention to the details.

A mentor once told me, “If you overlook the details and people doubt you on the little things, it will give them reason to doubt you on the big things.” Formatting, spell check, punctuation actually do matter – make a point of minding the details.

Surround yourself with colleagues you strive to emulate.

No one has all the answers, so surround yourself with colleagues whose opinion you trust and can learn from. Request to work on a specific project or with a particular colleague to put yourself in a position to learn from the best.

You have an opinion – share it.

As an associate, at times there is a perception that you should stay quiet, furiously take notes and do as you’re told. While there may a time and a place for that, you have a brain and the right to have an opinion, so make use of it and make a thoughtful contribution to your team.

Have a good attitude.

We still have a lot of learning and growing to do, so whatever the task, approach it with a good attitude. Sometime it’s the best asset you can bring to the table, so don’t underestimate it.

Maggie Easterlin is a senior account executive in Stratacomm’s Washington, D.C. office.

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