Jenni Rowbottom's 2015 Diary

Jenni Rowbottom  

Name: Jenni Rowbottom
Agency: Leo Burnett
Age: 21
Degree/education: Bachelor of Arts
University/college: University of Melbourne

Diary Entry 5 (June 2015)

Starting in the “oh no, I can’t take it back” world of social media has made me realise so strongly the importance of keeping on top of projects, and reacting quickly to emails, feedback and changes to the game plan. I’m slowly learning how to navigate through it, and am finding that I really enjoy how fast the work is, as well as the challenge of how uncertain things can be. Being client facing has been great too, because it forces you to consider the situation from their point of view. I think that working towards building a good relationship with your clients is both an excellent experience and extremely important skill.

I’m also noticing the growing importance of research, both in staying in the loop on current social media trends, and observing how social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are evolving as more businesses consider them as a serious advertising medium. To be exposed to these fast paced changes, and start to learn how to think critically, and develop strategies for using social media is really exciting. 

Diary Entry 4 (May 2015)

Lately I’ve felt that I’m becoming more confident in knowing how to manage my time. Last week I was worried that I wouldn’t get my work finished because I hadn’t taken the time to think through how best to approach it all. It was important for me to step back and break down the jobs so I was in control of the situation again.

I’ve also come to realise that it’s ok to ask for a deadline to be extended if you can’t reasonably get it done. Of course, there are instances where there isn’t extra time to spare, but it doesn’t hurt to ask right?

The netball team is going strong too, and slowly but surely we’re getting better. There was a bye this month, and we organised a training session followed by a team dinner. We now have some game strategy, and a significantly better throwing and catching success rate. There’s no stopping us. #goingforgold

Diary Entry 3 (April 2015)

A big focus for the past month has been SPC's #MyFamilyCan campaign. My role has been to work on the social media community management. With over 3,500 comments on one post, it has been a steep learning curve but an incredibly valuable one to say the least. Working on this project has been amazing. 

Along with community management, I’ve worked on a variety of different things this month. These include research projects and writing terms and conditions for competitions that we’re running on social. Another thing I’ve been trying to get my head around this month has been finance. Since I don’t come across it in my day to day responsibilities, I realised that I didn’t understand much about it – how the process works, what happens each month, and if time sheets really are as important as everyone says. Turns out they definitely are.
In other news, some of us girls from the office have joined a netball league (division 4 before you get too excited). What the Burnetters lack in points, we make up for in team spirit and matching uniforms! And hey, there’s always room for a comeback :)

Diary Entry 2 (March 2015)

Since last month, I feel like I’m starting to get in the groove of agency life, and have a better idea of how things work. My plan for this year is to be a sponge, and spend the time learning how Leo’s operates, as well as the dos and don’ts of the industry in general. Although, one thing that I’ve noticed myself doing is working out one way of doing things and then thinking that’s the only way to tackle the problem. Something really important that I keep reminding myself is to learn as much about the industry as you can, but always walk into every situation with an open mind. People are so generous with their advice and time, and I want to make sure that I make the most of it.

Agency life
Each agency has a different approach and way of working, but the mentality of working hard and producing excellent ideas is pretty standard of all successful people in the industry. My work is solely on social media, which means that it’s a bit different to the traditional account executive role. My job is broken down into three key areas: Supporting the social media team, community management and content creation. It is such an exciting department to work in as things move so quickly, and I get the chance to work across a number of different brands. I also am so grateful for the opportunity to work more creatively within the agency. This has included sitting in on brainstorms for larger content ideas, and writing articles to go up on one of our client’s website. Working on social media is often unpredictable, and can get really busy, really quickly. The work is great though - I love the challenge, and it really lives up to the saying that no two days in advertising are ever the same.

I think the two key take-outs from this month would be to

  • Say hi to everyone and make the effort to learn peoples’ names. It’s the little things that make the difference. 
  • Always say yes – say yes to any job that passes your desk, to social events and to help. Help is always there if you ask, and are willing to accept it.

We also sat the IPA Foundations Certificate exam this month. It was so strange to be back in an exam hall again. It ended up being a really busy week at work, and it was difficult to manage studying on top of that, so my advice is to not leave it all to the last minute. There is a lot of online content to get through, so make sure you’re all over it, but more importantly, you will come across the problems and skills that the content talks about everyday in your job. Think about how you can use these experiences in your exam answers to show that you have both understood and applied your learning.  Another thing would be that since the exam is written in the UK, there are a lot of British brands and references. If you’re not familiar with these brands, It’s worth taking the time to research them.

Also, when studying, the key statistics from the case study, and diagrams from the content are really important and great to use in your essays. Make sure you take time to memorise these and you’ll be good to go!


Diary Entry 1 (February 2015)

Whenever someone used to ask me what I was planning to do after I finished my arts degree, the default answer was ‘I’m doing the JD’. There is such an association with arts kids being unemployable, and that’s just not true. I decided that I wanted to work in advertising in my final year of university. I knew that I needed to work in a creative industry, and wanted to be in an environment where complacency isn’t an option.

Applying to the communication council grad program is a long process, and you have to be ready for anything at each step of the way. You might not get much notice to prepare for the assessment day or an interview so make sure that you do your research beforehand. The point is to stand out, so if you know your stuff, and are confident about your application, it makes being yourself in the interview so much easier. Also, start thinking about your application early. Take the time to come up with ideas for your video and written answers that you are proud of and show off what makes you different.

One of the great things about the grad program is that it allows people to get their foot in the door, even if they don’t know anyone that works in advertising. But just because you don’t know anyone yet doesn’t mean you can’t make those connections yourself.  Contact your university’s careers department and ask whether they can put you in contact with someone in the industry. Take that person out for coffee, and pick their brain for advice. Start budgeting for coffee meetings now – they’re worth it.

If you’re interested in a career in advertising – apply. It doesn’t matter what you studied at university, diversity and someone who can bring a different perspective are highly valued traits in this industry.

I think the biggest challenge so far has been trying to get on top of the work, as well as understanding exactly what my job is and how I can add value to my team. Things move so quickly, and a big adjustment has been realising that it’s not possible to finish every job on the list by the end of the day. Jobs roll over, and there’s no point stressing about it. My favourite aspect of the program is the people. I am really enjoying being around people who are so motivated and passionate about their jobs. Instead of running away from a challenge, it excites them – it’s a really great environment to be in.

The IPA Foundation Certificate is part of the graduate program this year, and I think that it’s been a good introduction to the core responsibilities of an account executive, and there are some helpful resources on how to approach creating a planning strategy and writing a brief.

Be sure to shoot through any questions if you’re thinking of applying!