When I was first introduced to the agency world, I was so surprised by the office setting. There weren't any cubicles, or many offices for that matter. Everyone sits in an open room, which is usually divided by department. It’s a team environment, where everyone collaborates throughout the day. The individual mentality goes right out the door, and you learn to work together through everything.
Since the agency business is so unlike others, it obviously attracts a different type of person – but what does that mean? Working at an agency is fun and exciting, but it’s not for everyone. And some of the skills you need aren’t easily listed on a resume. Here are five essential qualities you need for an agency job and how to show them off in an interview.
1. You need to have High Energy
From morning til night, we’re in client meetings, brainstorming meetings, and fitting in work somewhere in the middle. It’s a creative, collaborative space where we feed off our co-workers energy. The better energy we have, the better we seem to perform. Everyone is passionate about the work they do, and geeking out is highly encouraged.
Show it off: You’ve got passions and interests, right? Talk about them. People want to hear what moves you, what keeps you up at night. Energy doesn't mean slamming seven Red Bulls; energy means you get excited about projects instead of just going through the motions.
You need to keep up with a fast-paced environment. There’s always something to do, always a deadline to hit. And in this business, deadlines and deliverables can change at any point. You’ve got to stay on your toes at all times. But hey, time goes by faster when you’re not staring at a clock all day!
Show it off: Multitasking comes naturally to you; translate your ability to focus on seven different things at once into a job. Give examples of when you've worked under pressure and hit deadlines.
3. Lifelong learner
The digital age we live in is always changing. It means that as a business, we’re always changing. As quick as Facebook makes an update, or a startup comes up with an amazing app, we need to adapt and include what’s best for our clients. If you’re in the mindset of doing what you know, we can’t help our clients move forward.
Show it off: You don’t live under a rock (and if you do, there’s probably WiFi). Brush up on what’s going on in the world, particularly with technology, marketing, design and social media. Got an opinion on an ad you saw in your News Feed? Talk about it.
4. Lean-In personality
Collaborating on projects always involves a lot of people contributing their ideas. There are those who freely speak their mind, and there are those who are afraid to say something stupid. The great thing about working in a creative space is that there are no stupid answers, and there are no wrong answers. Learn to speak your mind.
Show if off: Remember all those group projects you did in school? Time to talk about them! What did you do well? What did you do poorly and learn from?
5. Be Open to New Experiences
I think the greatest part about an advertising agency is the culture. The rumors are true – we love to have fun. From different types of clubs, to happy hour, to events outside of the work week, there is a heavy focus on bonding and camaraderie. It’s a chance for you to break out of your element, and do some things you would never do. I even ran a Tough Mudder my first year in, which I swore I would never do. Don’t be afraid to try new adventures.
Show if off: This can be tricky, it’s easy (and expected) to say, “I love trying new things!” Remember those passions we talked about earlier? Here’s an extra reminder: don’t forget to talk about them. If you write a food blog or you’re designing a line of clothing for cats, talk about things you’re interested in and get excited to share with other people. We won’t judge.