Part of my teaching approach is to re-tool their approach or change the way they view what they are actually doing. The change starts by looking at becoming "Students of Advertising" versus the way they have been learning to date, being a "fill in the blank... student". There is a significant difference once this is understood.
On the Advertising Age website section dedicated to the next generation of AdLanders, called "Gen>Next", there are two peices caught my eye during this Christmas Break period and I wanted to share them with as many of my students and others out their who often ask themselves how can the "pay it forward" to Gen>Next".
First came the piece form posted by Alex Kniess titled, "The 5 Most Valuable Things I Did in College to Help My Career".
This is an excellent post detailing how Alex made the most of every opportunity presented to him. Everything he did during his time at the University of Oregon was used to build his confidence, knowledge and most important skills that would lead to securing his first job. Most things were not always related to getting a job or actually seeking a job. He breaks it down to 5 five things that all contribute to getting a job...
He explains how five simple things you can do to get what you are seeking, they are:
Got Involved early.Not everyone finds getting involved easy when entering college. You need to be eager and hungry. Get involved right away. Just like in the real world, opportunities in college tend to build off one another. So take advantage. The sooner you start building your skills, the better equipped you will be to capitalize on opportunities as they come up.
Accepted Every Challenge.
Make Friends With Your Professors.
Worked at the Student Agency.
You may feel under-qualified for everything at first, but you need have willingness to accept challenges and push myself outside my comfort zone. If you're not learning something new then you're not growing. And if you're not growing, then you're dying. This was something my early mentor Ken Coleman taught me and my first Creative Director Doug Williams at Creative Associates in Calgary instilled as a daily mantra.
I try to make all my lectures interesting and hope deliver something new each time. But get to know us, we will be committed to as you as you are committed to yourself. I often am asked about favoritism, yup... guilty! I have my favorites and hold no shame in that, but it is simple, "show me you want it and there isn't anything that I won't do for you. I throw the lesson plan out the window, challenge my students to better students of not just advertising, but of life. I may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I am not here to be popular or for your entertainment. I love advertising and I want you to love it also.
Not every school offers the experience of working with real money and real clients on real campaigns but if they do take every step you can be involved, it is the best prep experience you can have.
If you don't enjoy what you doing while in school, then you're missing the point. And if you're not having fun preparing for your career, then maybe it's not the career for you. I remember the words of Alex Bogusky when I hosted him for lunch with my students here in Toronto. He put it so simple to my future AdLanders; "Find something you love and enjoy, and you'll never work a day in your life". Okay, Alex didn't originate the quote but hearing it from someone so humble and inspiring it makes you wonder... has Alex ever really worked a day in his life?. Seems like he is having a lot fun.
The second piece posted by Adrienne Waldo titled, "Don't Wait for Your Sensei to Come to You" is an interesting read on finding what there is true shortage of "The Mentor".
There is no exact value of a mentor when starting in this business. Having that someone to give you career advice, show you the ropes and be sounding board for all those questions, but you need to know mentors aren't going to show your doorstep, you gotta go and find one. Sure, some schools and companies have programs in place that match you with a mentor, but is the fit going to be exactly what you want or expect?
Here are some questions that Adrienne thinks you must ask yourself when seeking out that mentor or personal guru:
Is this person doing what I hope to be doing one day?You want to find someone who will give you advice, respect you enough to give you challenging work, push you to be better but most important, they need to be honest with you,.. and you need to be honest with them.
Do I look up to this person and respect his or her work?
Will this person help me get to the next level?
Make sure your mentor embodies those values. There is no "perfect mentor", goodness knows once i found mine, it was magic... but it wasn't love at first sight.
Scott Goodson of StrawberryFrog post a great piece on "Mentoring" on his blog earlier this year. I recommend you read it. He has been a great inspiration to me since I first heard him speak several years ago on his agency and its principal of creating "Cultural Movements". He is "game changer", and he created a change in the way I approached teaching and the direction I have taken my program.
I strongly recommend if you haven't read my other posting on what you need to succeed in this crazy business, take a minute.
What Every Advertising Student Should Watch - Advertising Portfolio 101 with Alex Bogusky & Tiffany Kosel of CP+B
MIA. Nope Just Been Busy... Student Industry Invasion. Chuck Porter. End of the Semester!