Having recently made the step up from account executive to an account manager, my role has changed significantly, and consequently, so has my workload and responsibilities. Even in the short time in my new role, I can now see how an account executive really is the glue that holds a team together and the spring board to make that career leap happen.
It can be frustrating as an account executive when you’re first trying to break into this fiercely competitive industry. You’re fresh out of university, you’re ready to take on the world, you have a head full of ideas and a heart full of ambition and you want to go out there and show the world your talent. Let’s also not kid ourselves that when we’re young and decide we want to pursue a career in advertising, we think of the bright lights, the sexy stuff on television, working with celebrities, travelling the globe and shazaming adverts for the ‘sick tune’ that plays in it…
You quickly realise that it doesn’t quite work that way.
The petrol heads among you will hopefully relate to this when I say, “it is like driving a sports car, in the snow.” You have all that horsepower, (at least you think you do) and it’s tricky when transferring that power onto the road and getting off to where you want to be. The wheels just spin and spin and you quickly realise that the only way you’re going to start your journey is by using your head a little, start off slow, and have a little patience.
However, after getting behind the proverbial wheel, I quickly became aware of what car I was about to drive and how I needed to drive it.
The role of an account executive is fundamental. The key role is to support the team, almost act as a PA to everyone, chase people down, push people to update status reports, book meeting rooms, bring the documents to the meeting that your manager forgot to print, anticipate where they will slip up, and make sure everyone knows what is going on, where to be, and be perfect at doing this.
This may not be the vision one has, and Mad Men doesn’t exactly do anyone any favors. You’re a creative business tycoon in the making, you’re better than this (at least in your head you think you are) but if you can nail these skills, I mean really nail them you will soon start to see the ice thaw, the wheels gaining traction and before you know it you’ll be revving through the gears and accelerating your career.
Persevere through these times—it’s at this critical juncture that you’ll prove you’re ready and mature enough to take on more responsibility. Share the idea that’s running around in your head, and don’t be scared to be wrong, ask that stupid question (I definitely still do that one), stay with it and be positive in your approach. Bring the energy and bring the noise, you have the most of these out of everyone in the team, and make the most of that energy while you do still have it, (it’s a finite resource!). Because if you do, not only will you earn the respect of your team but they will reward you for it. Within time you may even find yourself gaining much more responsibility quickly, see it as a sign of faith that they have in you and confidence they have to give you more and more responsibility.
Attention to detail starts at day one and if you’re good at it, you won’t be just another potted plant.
Andrew Vincent is an account manager at gyro London.