Know the Industry. Know Yourself.
By Mike Costanzo
The range of positions open to someone in the marketing/advertising industry offers two different types of work life. Whether you choose a job working in an agency or work in corporate America, each one has its distinct differences. To start, the life of a corporate employee begins with one account at a time. Focusing on one client allows the team to create professional work in the industry they have been focused on for the duration of their project. While it is slower moving with more red tape day to day, you gain much more knowledge about the business, its culture, and the job role. It provides longevity and stability, but it lacks variety. While some of the aspects of corporate life may seem daunting, there is always a trade off. When compared to corporate positions, agency life is almost meant to be the exact opposite of corporate advertising.
The stigma of agency advertising is that it is fun, fast paced and always changing. Straying from the more traditional sense of business, agency culture allows for creativity and a more fluid role in terms of job positioning. Working with a variety of clients, and balancing a heavy workload is at the forefront of agency work; while the job is both stressful and time consuming, it is always new, exciting and engaging. Having the opportunity to discover new industries, and becoming a mini-expert in all of them allows you to find out what you like and don’t like. In ad agencies, you may have the opportunity to meet very knowledgeable and experienced individuals, who may have tried their hand in a corporate setting, but prefer the agency lifestyle. However, a downside to agency life is that you aren’t always privy to internal client discussions, and are told about new initiatives much too late. So as a rising professional, your job is to figure out which spot you belong in.
As a senior in advertising and public relations, these are the ideas that I have begun to think about as graduation is just around the corner. There are thousands of communications students entering the industry this spring, and all of them have to ask themselves the same questions. So the real question is, how do you choose? It is critical that you take time to review your skills and strengths, so that your final decision is made with your best interests in mind. Some may find that they are better suited for corporate life, where others like myself may seem to enjoy agency culture more. Millennials seem to excel in dynamic work environments and staying on top of current trends seems to be a trend in itself.
Making these decisions as a young 20-something may seem scary at first, but just as you learned to navigate college, you will do the same for your professional career. Know the industry, know yourself, and everything will work out!