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Career Stories - Kathy

Vice President, Account Director
BBDO, New York

My first job was as an Account Coordinator at HDM/Dawson Johns & Black, Chicago

AEF: How many people did you have to meet with?

Kathy: Three. An account executive, an account supervisor, and an account director.

AEF: Did they ask you any surprising questions?

Kathy: The most surprising question they asked me was what salary I was hoping to receive -- which shouldn't have surprised me! I didn't have any experience talking about money in the context of a job/salary. Looking back, I should have had a better idea of what other Account Coordinators were making so I could have offered and supported a number that I knew was reasonable, with confidence.

Kathy: Good resources for that information (which often isn't readily available in the advertising field) are friends who have received job offers and the classifieds in the back of Ad Age and AdWeek -- they often list salaries for a lot of different positions.

AEF: How long a period of time were you there being interviewed?

Kathy: I went in two times. The first time I was there about two hours. The second time was only thirty minutes.

AEF: How long a period of time passed between your interview(s) and your start date?

Kathy: Two weeks. I was offered the job right before Christmas, and asked for two weeks so that I could go home to CT for the holidays. I knew it would be a long time before I could go back home, and since Christmas was a slow time for the Agency, it was a reasonable request that they honored.

AEF: How were you notified that you were hired?

Kathy: In person, at the end of my last interview.

AEF: Did you send a thank-you note?

Kathy: Yes. I think a follow-up note is critical to making a professional, confident impression. It shows good follow-through, not to mention good manners. It also reinforces your interest and excitement in the job. People want to hire someone who is enthusiastic about the assignment!

AEF: Things you know now that you wish you knew then:

Kathy: Everyone is only human.

AEF: Things you wish someone had told you when you were just starting out:

Kathy: Don't hold back in your thinking and performance because you are worried about making a mistake. As long as you do your best, try your hardest and admit the mistakes you make as soon as you know you've made one,
most people will support you and help you fix the mistake you made.

When you don't know something -- ASK! Presidents and CEOs still ask questions when they don't know something. It's the best and fastest way to learn your job and move ahead.

And don't forget -- your boss was in your shoes at one time too!

AEF: How many jobs have you had since then?

Kathy: Three

AEF: What did you major in/study in college?

Kathy: Economics and English (double major)