Most grads have some preconceptions as to what it means to take their first foray into the advertising and communication’s landscape. Coming from the safe haven that is university life, often these can be misconceptions.
As with many industries today, university prepares you as much as sitting in a lecture hall can, however the education truly begins when you take your first steps through the door of your professional career. Whilst thrilling on most levels, being the fresh-faced “newbies” can also be daunting on so many others.
Getting the first step alone can more often then not prove to be a difficult process. With little or no practical experience behind you, being offered a seat at the ad-land table is rare.
DDB Group Australia is one of the only leading communications and advertising networks in Australia to offer this opportunity to up and coming grads. Each year it opens its doors to hundreds of hopefuls with its Grad Program, which has been securing the best new talent for the past 15 years. Through this process grads have the prospect of securing a full-time, permanent paid position with the group.
As it now enters its 16th year, one of last year’s successful grads, Stephanie Cusack, took time out of her busy role as a Business Coordinator on the group’s Telstra account to share some practical thoughts on what grads can expect, with some tips on how to make the most of being a grad….
1. You’ll need to listen twice as much as you speak. As a newcomer, you can learn a lot through observation and reading between the lines. Study the way your colleagues work, how they speak and what motivates them. Be a sponge.
2. No two days are the same – which is great, as you never get bored! As a grad, you’ll probably be tasked to do all kinds of random things. Finding 50 random people for a video shoot in less than two hours, packaging up hundreds of gifts for bloggers, or going on a Maccas run to get the latest burgers are just a few examples!
3. You should become an oracle of wisdom – your team will be coming to you with questions about campaigns, clients, competitive work and an assortment of other random things. Be the go-to person, it is invaluable – making you invaluable.
4. You’ll be learning a new lingo. Decks, pitches, WIPs and traffic – these are not things you’ll find in the average uni textbook, so be prepared to integrate this into your new vocabulary. Better yet, learn the terms before.
5. People will expect you to be a tech genius. As a young gun and ‘digital native’, you should speak tech fluently. So start learning. If you’re unsure of something, ask Google and/or your IT department. Often the solution will be straightforward and you’ll seem like a mastermind for knowing how to solve the problem!
6. You will be drinking on the job – but you should always stay two drinks behind everyone else. If you’re at drinks with clients, charity events, off-sites, or even some training sessions , remember that you are building a reputation for yourself. Have fun but know your limits.
7. You will need to be a yes person – never allow “No” to be your first response. Please see #2 for the kinds of tasks you may be asked to undertake. Attitude is everything.
8. You will need to make friends with the right people (this also helps with #2 random tasks). Office manager, finance, IT and reception are a great start.
9. You can put your suits and ties to the back of the wardrobe, because you probably won’t need them. This is a creative industry – most of us don’t spend our days crunching numbers and wearing cufflinks, so you can express your individuality and show off your new threads, within reason of course!
10. You should “stick your fingers in lots of pies”. Not literally, but you’ll make friends and have a lot more fun if you are involved in activities beyond your campaign work. Help on pitches, join a sporting group, plan parties with the social committee or fundraise for a good cause. Show initiative and enrich your experience.
11. Finally, stick at it – you never know where the first step will lead, maybe even CEO one day, it has happened!
The DDB Group Australia grad program has been the launch pad for many of today’s industry leaders – including the current CEO and President of DDB New York, Chris Brown who started out his career as a grad at DDB in London.
With this year’s theme, “Big Hit, Little TV”, applicants are required to create 30 seconds of amazing content that will make them a big hit on DDB’s online channel, Little TV.
Further information can be found across a number of platforms