Hollie Phimister
Hollie Phimister
Digital Account Exec
02.07.14

An Apprentice’s Survival Guide

After Sixth Form I decided I wanted to get straight into work so opted for hands-on experience approach rather than going to University. So when summer ended I began the search for a marketing agency willing to take me on as an intern/apprentice/junior executive…anything really!

After many letters, emails and calls, a Leeds-based brand communications agency called Ponderosa Group reached out to me and invited me for a meeting to discuss my options. Two weeks’ work experience followed and I was taken on as an office administrator so that I could learn the ropes.

I remember feeling excited but completely overwhelmed with how much I DIDN’T know. Not only was I starting my first full time job in the real world, I was learning just about everything to do with the industry from scratch which was pretty scary!

One year later I am a Digital Account Executive with still lots to learn but I am happy to say I have made it passed the majority of my awkward *I don’t know what the hell I’m doing* situations! Looking back, I wish I had some guidance on how to survive day to day so hopefully the rest of this blog will help at least one frightened intern/apprentice/newbie get by.

Here are my 5 Top Tips on how to get by as the Newbie!

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
    I guess on paper that seems like the most logical thing to do, but when you’re surrounded by extremely knowledgeable people it can be quite intimidating admitting you don’t know how to do something. At Ponderosa I have been encouraged to question the work I do which is why I feel I’ve progressed the way I have. Just remember it’s okay to ask!Ponderosa Apprentice's Survival Guide
  2. Go beyond what you’re expected to do
    It sounds so clichéd but it doesn’t go unnoticed and sooner or later people will begin to realise that you are capable of taking on more responsibilities. I took on a lot of the office administrative work when I started which meant that whilst I was learning about the world of marketing I was also learning about the internal aspects of agency life on a day to day basis. I still do lots of it now and it’s definitely helped me make a mark within the agency. Why not ask your boss what administrative roles need picking up around the office?
  3. Do your homework.
    You can’t expect to learn everything from your colleagues, remember they’re as busy as they are talented which means your education might not always be on the top of their to do list! Here are some great sites to keep you in the know about all things marketing:
    http://www.thedrum.com/
    http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/
    http://www.theidm.com/blog/
    http://www.marketingweeklive.co.uk/
    http://www.t-f-m.co.uk/
  4. Consider what path you want your career in marketing to take.
    Ponderosa is a brand communications agency so we offer a wide range of marketing services from social media consultancy, new product development to brand development and direct response marketing. So if you’re lucky enough to be at an agency like this then you’ve got loads of options to choose from. The great thing about being an intern or apprentice is that you’re encouraged to consider what specialism you’d like to excel in. Speak with your colleagues in different departments about how you can develop your skills and make a career out of what you enjoy!Ponderosa Apprentice's Survival Guide
  5. Finally, trust your instincts.
    You’re probably doing better than you give yourself credit for. I recently received some positive feedback from one of our clients which has really boosted my confidence. Take note of your progressions as you learn new things and be confident when applying it to your work.If I ever feel like I’m struggling I look back at how much I knew when I first started, which wasn’t much. Compared to how much I know now, a year down the line, it really helps to put things in perspective!

    I’d love for you to take a nosey at the projects I’ve been working on since I started here, please follow this link to view what goes down at the Ponderosa HQ!

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