Tips for a Successful Agency Career

July 28, 2015

Danielle Schultz

Just land your first job or internship? Still trying to figure out how to be successful and really make an impact at your new company? You’re not alone – the first phase of your career is as stressful as it is wonderful, and every single person you now call a co-worker was once in your shoes. This also means they are full of advice that can help get you moving in the right direction.

As with most things, Nina said it best in her recent LinkedIn post: most of her success has come from following a set of “rather modest guidelines”. This got us thinking – what tip and tricks help make people successful at NHI? From our executive team down to our newest interns, our team weighs in on the little things you can do to that will help push your career to the next level.

Be present. When you are meeting with someone, don’t be on your computer or checking your phone. Give them your full attention – it goes along way towards building solid relationships.

–Christine Campbell, Media Director

Know yourself and understand when you do your best work. I get my best ideas in the morning, so I make a conscious effort to layout a framework for creative projects the night before I intend to dig in. That way, I tackle the more creative aspects of the project in the morning, frequently during my bus ride to the office.

— Leslie Gibson, Associate Director of Content Marketing

Always take notes. It doesn’t matter what your role on the team is – if you show up to a meeting without a notebook, you’re unprepared. How can you remember everything you’re supposed to do if you don’t write it down? Especially as an intern or new employee, meetings are your chance to ask all your questions to the people who can actually answer them – taking the time to record their response will make both your lives easier later.

— Sarah Pomerantz, Marketing + Client Developer Manager

Always be working two days ahead. 

— Allison McMenimen, Director of Account Management

A to-do list is necessary. With so much going on, and so many different tasks to complete, without a to-do list I would be lost. It may sound obvious, but it is not only important, but necessary. At a fast-paced agency, five jobs may be thrown at you all at once and you need to keep track. If you are one of the extremely rare people who can remember everything, all the time, count yourself lucky. To the rest of us, a to-do list will save you.

— Leah Robinson, Account + Project Management Senior Intern

Keep Ramen (and chocolate) in your bottom drawer for late nights… for the days where meetings are back-to-back, and you didn’t have time to make lunch in the morning, and there is no way you are able to slip out to grab even a cup of coffee. Ramen will become your best friend.

— Cait Hurley, Senior Account Manager

Use your calendar! This is often people’s only visibility into your work load/schedule, and will help you stay on top of tasks yourself. If you need to prep for meetings or could really use a block of time to be heads down – book it; respond to invitations so your team knows what to expect; and use all of the extra features for reminders, notes, and prioritizing.

— Kalisha Cook, Project Manager

Know where the fire extinguishers are. That’s it.

— Luke Schlegel, Vice President, Operations + Analytics

Yes, these guidelines are simple, but they’re also incredibly effective. Keep working hard, ask for help when you need it, and try a couple recommendations out – you’ll be surprised how quickly things start falling into place.