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Top Tips for Your First Agency Job

Congratulations, new hire! You’re fresh out of college and just landed your first job in an advertising agency. You’re ready to get started and grow your career. To succeed, you need to not only be the best at what you do, but also to remember some basics.

Here is some advice that I’ve learned over my 25+ years in the business and what we expect of our new hires:

  1. Come in early and stay late. Agency work is notorious for its long, deadline-driven hours. Always remember that you are in a service industry, and that means being available to meet your clients’ needs. These extra hours will pay off as you demonstrate your commitment to your clients’ and agency’s success.
  2. Be prepared! Being in the ad industry requires you to be prepared for anything! This will come with experience, and sometimes you will learn the hard way. So always have a back-up thumb drive, power cord, pen, paper, presentation copies, business card … whatever.
  3. Keep a positive attitude. It is guaranteed that you will have days that are very demanding and stressful. But no matter how bad things may seem, always keep your composure and a positive attitude.
  4. Be a problem-solver. If you have a situation that you’re not quite sure how to handle, don’t manage up to your supervisor. Think through the situation and approach your supervisor with a recommended solution, then do whatever it takes to get the job done.
  5. Pay attention to details. This is crucial. Sloppy work is never acceptable. Do not present something that you are not absolutely confident is accurate and the best that it can be.
  6. Ask for more responsibility. Be willing to do anything at any time and always be willing to step outside your normal responsibilities to get the job done. Asking for more responsibility gets you recognized and rewarded.
  7. Add value! When you are asked to do an assignment, think of how you might be able to take it to the next level. Don’t deliver the minimum that was requested.
  8. Have fun! I’ve had the great privilege and pleasure of working in this industry for more than 25 years.  I’ve worked with some of the most talented, creative, dedicated and interesting people in the business and I could not have asked for a better career.

Best of luck as you begin your new job!

Joanne Michael is an Executive Vice President at Domus, Inc., a full-service marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at or 215-772-2805.

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