Know everything. If you don’t know it, go learn it.

I feel like it is a common misconception that once you leave university, you don’t need to learn enough. People think they are prepared for the workforce and jump into a job. Advertising is the exact opposite. Of course you’ve gotta jump head first into your job, but do so knowing that if you don’t know how to swim- you’d better learn quickly. So be prepared to look up answers, research case studies, and phone a friend.

Sign up for newsletters. I’m of course the least experienced advertising person in my office. I’m still in school, I’m in my first account position, and I’ve never held a salaried job. A way that I contribute to the team is by exploring the loads of information out there and sharing what’s relevant. If I find an article about a new interactive campaign that is cool, I share it with the Creatives. If I learn about something new a competitor is doing I share it with Strategy. I’m signed up for plenty of newsletters. There’s no harm in it. All you have to do is delete when not interested. Consider signing up for:

–       Mashable.com

–       Creativity-online.com

–       MobileCommerceDaily.com

–       AdAge.com

Say it loud, say it proud. “I’m confused.” In the beginning I was terrified to admit when I didn’t know what was going on. I figured I would put the pieces together soon enough. But when you are lost about what’s happening, it’s hard to understand what you need to do. So blurt it out if you have to, but admit when you need an explanation. People would much rather take the time to explain now than wait for you to mess up your work and explain what you did wrong.

Ask Stupid Questions. Maybe you shouldn’t ask your boss, but find a co-worker that you don’t feel embarrassed to ask and find out what that crazy acronym stands for. That way you can sound all smart and spiffy when you get asked on a conference call why the SEM of BTC was at 6 CTR instead of 12… or whatever that means.

By putting all your feelers out there to soak up new knowledge, there’s a better chance you can chip in at the next meeting. You will have a deeper base to help you understand where you are needed, and how you can contribute. This helps to make you essential to the team.