In college, I majored in communications (with an emphasis on public relations) and minored in marketing. I am one of the few people with that degree who is actually working in that field. Many of my friends and classmates are in an industry different than their major, which is completely understandable. Advertising and PR looks really glamorous from the outside, but it can be a pretty tough field in which to thrive. I have considered a career change a few times in the last seven years.
But in general, I really like my job and enjoy working in marketing. And a large part of how I got to where I am today is from my experience working at agencies.
In my opinion, if you’re interested in working in marketing — whether that’s PR, print, advertising, digital, etc — start with a job or an internship at an ad agency. It’s the best way to learn the industry fast. Agency life is varied and fast-paced, and you’re forced to learn the ropes pretty quickly.
My first job was working at a small agency that specialized in website design and development as a junior account manager (aka: I made sure our client was always happy). My second job was at a larger agency as a media planner for a financial client (aka: those ads you see across websites, TV and radio? I helped plan and place them.) Both of these agencies and roles were very different, but I learned SO much about the world of marketing at both.
It was never a long-term goal to continue moving up the ladder at an agency; it was always a stepping block for me. My real goal was to work on the client-side of marketing, which is what I’m doing now in my current job. (Client side, aka: developing marketing strategies in-house and hiring out agencies to design and create the work.)I’m very happy with my current job, but am curious to see where my career will lead in the next few years, especially in an industry that is constantly changing. But I know for sure I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the experience and knowledge I gained at my two agencies.
Do you work in marketing? Have you ever worked at an agency? Are you working in the same industry that matches your degree? How has your career evolved over the years?