Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Social Intercourse

Yes it’s a cringe worthy neologism but it gets the point across and often raises a smile yet leaves me looking like a right filthy basstad.

Anyway, being a socialite; liked by many and good to be around can be a valuable skill for any walk of life, but especially so in Media Planning and to a great extent in Account Handling.

As a graduate you are likely to be entering at an assistant level and it’s been mentioned here countless times of how we can not lose sight of that ghastly A-word.

Assistants Assist. Fact. Please do not lose sight of this!

Whether it means you have one manager to get bitched around by or you end up being spread over various accounts, the likelihood is that you will come into contact with a whole roster of agency staff – from the meeting room co-ordinator to the Eastern European cleaners that, if you keep smitten will promise to keep your monitor extra dust-free (shout to my man Gustav)

And as your career progresses you will be liaising with the Media Agency, the Digital Agency, the Experiential Agency, the print supplier, the PR agency etc etc … and of course the greater lord him/herself THE CLIENT.

So what I’m trying to say here is that Adland is a very people-person job. Being Nice is an essential pre-requisite (as Will has talked about below) but being a social, out-going person is perhaps the second most important trait to master after the polite manners, firm hand shakes and good eye-contact.

Sure, you may not be in an agency yet, you may not have even started applying. But it’s definitely worth keeping this in mind now as it will help you in your first stages of contact with agencies and as you progress through the krypton factor that is the telephone interview, psychometric/aptitude test (media) and grad assessment day. Simple things such as tone of voice used in the initial telephone call, just imagine how many grads have called through to the HR team about work experience or placements – (Empathy!) it will be easy for them to spot who’s just had 6 rejections and have now just completely given up just from a 18 second telephone conversation.

The Grad assessment day is a topic we will cover in much more detail very soon, but as cliché as it sounds the usual body language, projection and tone of voice, and ability to be-friend that 2:2 Bournemouth grad that currently works at Weatherspoons as well as the Oxbridge toff who doesn’t really trust anyone that isn’t into rugby really does matter in these situations and even more so in real actual life.

Now, there is no need to get to caught up about how socially perfect you are, its not a matter of how many Facebook friends you have, nor is it worth evaluating how popular you are. Leave the sixth-form leavers book on that Ikea shelf.

But you do need to consider a few things for account handling roles;

- How confident am I?

- Am I an introverted person?

- Do I get on well with others and am I open to a range of types of peoples horizontally and vertically?

- How well do I carry myself when presenting?

- Do I need to stuff a gram up each blow hole in order to be interesting?

These might seem very obvious things to think about but do you really know the answers to these yourself? What would your friends say..honestly!?

Who's up for a pint then?

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