How to get ahead in your agency job

Whether you're a PR executive, junior designer or marketing professional just starting, working in a large agency can be a daunting experience.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

You'll often be thrown in at the deep end and expected to juggle lots of different clients every day. You'll also be with lots of people, all fighting and competing for promotion.

As you'll be keen to work your way up the career ladder and get a higher salary, the following helpful tips will show you how to get ahead in your agency job.

Speaking from my own experience, I'll show you how to stand out, deal with other colleagues, boost your skills, prove your worth and impress your boss. Because if you don't put the effort in or play the 'agency game' the right way, you risk being overlooked and stalling your potential.

1. Fulfil the desired role objectives

So you're looking for promotion and want to become a PR account manager? Or a senior designer? Search for these types of jobs online and get to know what's expected in these roles. Make a list and aim to tackle each requirement before your next appraisal. Seek out training opportunities if you need to, and put yourself forward for jobs that you normally wouldn't need to do.

2. Prepare for appraisals

Appraisals are quarterly or biannual reviews of your career progress. It's a fantastic chance for you to prove yourself and potentially secure a promotion. Don't see them as a time for your boss to tell you where you've been going wrong. Prepare for them. Take that list of job role requirements that you've been tackling, and ensure you write down any examples of things you've done to fulfil those requirements. Your boss is only human and is likely to forget some of your achievements – so ensure you keep track of your progress.

3. Go beyond your job role

Bosses are always hugely impressed by people who go above and beyond their job description. It means you should look at ways to boost your skills and extend your role within the agency. For example, is the agency struggling to employ a social media expert and you'd like to get involved? Volunteer to train for the role in your spare time. Take online courses, buy books on the subject and then, when you're confident you can move into that area, tell your boss!

4. Understand office politics

Aside from striving for promotion, you have to be a team player and get on with everyone. Office politics do exist, so you should learn how to play the game. Identify the political activity in your agency and use it wisely to further your career. Read our tips on how to survive those politics.

5. Do everything your boss asks of you

There are always jobs we don't like doing. But don't let things slip. Tackle all of your workloads efficiently and effectively – even the jobs you hate! It will show you're responsible, reliable and ready for that next promotion. Get organised by using time management tools, task lists and ensure you keep on top of your inbox.

6. Volunteer for those things that everyone else avoids

Does the agency have a big client that needs 1,000 marketing mailers placed into envelopes? Volunteer to help! By showing dedication like this, you're demonstrating how much you care about the agency and that you're a team player.

7. Win clients for your agency

Know someone who's looking for a PR agency? Set up a meeting with your boss! Think you can bring someone in who is looking for a re-brand? Do it! If you're winning your agency new clients, you're boosting their revenue and also cementing your value within the company. And that means promotion and bonuses could be on the cards.

8. Volunteer to go to pitches

Pitches can be scary things when you first start at an agency. They involve going to see a potential client with your colleagues to pitch and try and win a new account. Don't avoid them! Ask to be considered as part of the pitch team. The more pitches you attend, the more you'll boost your pitching skills and be seen as an asset to the agency.

9. Make yourself indispensable

Become known as the type of person who always likes to say 'Yes' and is happy to embrace new challenges, no matter how big or small. Become the 'go-to' person for reliable problem-solving. Become someone that your agency couldn't do without. Be an asset rather than a hindrance. Ditch any ego and be prepared to pull your sleeves up and work very hard. By having this can-do attitude, you'll become indispensable.

10. Don't be invisible; get noticed!

You could produce fantastic work, put in the extra hours and be a success with all your clients – but all that doesn't mean anything if your boss hasn't noticed you. Make sure your boss does see. Stand up and be counted! People rarely get promoted for just doing their job – it's the people who aren't afraid to put their hands up and demand attention and praise where it's due.


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