“Go through the grind and keep asking questions” - Al Ain Water & Innovations Marketing Manager, Falak Jalil

Progression should be a key part of your strategy when you start your marketing career. But, rather than obsessing over being seen as a high performer and trying to take shortcuts, there’s value in laying down a solid foundation in both knowledge and reputation first.

The one common piece of advice that top industry leaders all share is that you need to first accept “the grind” to learn the ropes of advertising and marketing. This can mean putting in long hours, working on any project so you can learn more about your craft, and creating a network that appreciates your inputs.

Michelle Webb, Vice President - Commercial at the National Football League (NFL) thinks that getting yourself noticed for your hard work is essential in driving your career forward. But, to do this, you need to put in the work. You can create a strong CV by volunteering and doing extra curricular activities in the fields you’re interested in before you even start applying for jobs. You can also start networking with the brands and people you hope to work with ahead of arriving on the scene. Just like Jordan McDowell advised us to “say yes and be nice,” Michelle tells new starters to “use a network, get yourself out there, and be noticed” for all the right reasons. 

Volunteering or working in the field you’re passionate about early on can provide a solid base from which to market yourself. It will also give you some starter knowledge for your first job, where you should be prepared to “go through the grind,” as per advice from Falak Jalil, Marketing Manager at Al Ain Water & Innovations. When Falak spoke to us on the podcast, she shared how in Urdu, there’s a saying that effectively means that you have to go through the experience of being rubbed against something hard. 

What does this mean for a young marketer? It can be anything from long hours to very basic work that feels unrewarding in the short term. These challenges actually teach you how marketing works from the ground up. And, “when you understand a system from the ground up, you can manage it better when you’re in charge.” 

At the same time as accepting the grind and being humble in your first job, you should also take the opportunity to ask as many questions as possible to build your career path. Without going around the business and understanding what everyone does, you’ll never know if an alternative is right for you. And this is all part of the process of building a good network, where those around you respect you for the respect that you show them. 

In the end, it will all help you create your own opportunities. Alex Jenkins, Managing Partner, Editorial at Contagious, told us how important it is to constantly put yourself out there and create opportunities for yourself during the very first episode of the Shiny New Object podcast. This also means making your own way in your career, not just necessarily accepting how things are done or applying to existing roles for example. Wherever you go, “you’re bringing experience that other people don’t have” so you should always value yourself and believe that you can make a difference. Sometimes, this may mean that you need to create an opportunity where one may not be obvious at first glance.

There are more great tips about choosing your career path and following your dreams in the full book. Download it to find out how to develop your knowledge, self-awareness, a career strategy and leadership skills. 

This advice comes from “How to Make It In Marketing Vol. 1” - a collection of tips from 45 industry leaders in advertising and marketing, compiled from interviews on the Shiny New Object Podcast. Tom Ollerton is the host of the podcast and the founder of Automated Creative. If you wish to download the book in full, click here.