When you start out in marketing, the first thing you need to build is a network. It’s working with the right people and creating strong relationships that will get you through the hard times and up the career ladder.

Speaking to the brightest minds in the industry on the Shiny New Object Podcast, one theme that emerges time and time again is how important people are in your career. Whether that means building strong teams to create great projects or learning from mentors to build yourself up, the people you meet from day 1 are key to your success.

This is why Jordan McDowell, Senior Digital Strategist at McCann Manchester (formerly Lead Communications Planning & Media Optimisation Manager at Co-op when he came on the podcast), advises newcomers to marketing to “say yes and be nice” before anything else. When you’re just starting out, it’s key to be open to accepting any new opportunities that come along. Don’t be passive - seek out networking events, meet people, offer your skills up for new initiatives, and do what you can to stand out.

Moreover, “being nice” is all about creating that all-important network around you. You don’t always need to go to fancy events to make connections. It starts in the office - always be nice to everyone you meet, “because you never know who’s going to offer you your next job.

For all you know, the person you’re being nice to on your next project could be Sir Martin Sorrell, legendary founder of WPP, the world’s largest advertising and PR group. Sir Martin is now Executive Chairman of S4 Capital, a digital advertising and marketing services business. His top tips for new marketers include learning to code, learning Chinese, and spending time abroad - all elements of becoming open to the world around us. However, if you want to stay closer to home, then focus on building a reputation. Being known for your good work and reliability by your peers and your clients alike is what’s going to put you in pole position for a great career.

Sir Martin says you need to focus on a reputation “where clients or people in the industry notice what you’ve done, and admire what you’ve done, and then build it from there.” And, if you don’t know how or where to start, you can rely on a supportive network as long as you pick a workplace that offers that. This is why Quinn O’Brien, a seasoned marketing leader who’s co-founded Craft Worldwide (a global design and production agency within McCann Worldgroup), suggests that it’s more important to ensure you’re with the right people at the start of your career, rather than in a big-name agency. 

When he spoke to us on the podcast, Quinn was the Vice President for Global Marketing at Lenovo. His view was that, when you have a supportive team and a good first manager, they’ll help guide your first steps in the world of marketing. This also means picking a mentor and learning from them early on. Your first job is where you’ll learn the ropes, so making sure you fit in and get the most of that first environment is vital.

There are more great tips about picking mentors and creating a strong network 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. To download the book in full, click here.