Liberal Arts Segues Into Advertising

Here’s my confession: I have never taken an advertising class before. As I approach my junior year in undergrad, I am filled with the same anxiety over finding a job as are many humanities majors. The texts I’ve read and discussions I’ve had in my liberal arts classes have been utterly fascinating, but there is always a bit of doubt as to whether I will be prepared for today’s competitive job market. I was nervous on my first day at HLK that I would be hopelessly behind those who had specifically studied advertising.

This has not been the case. As a media intern, I have found that there is a significant learning curve of terms and processes. While learning the language around media has been an intimidating process, I am picking it up quickly with the help of my mentor. But life in an agency is much more than a common language of industry terms. It is all about collaborative, strategic thinking.

More and more, HLK is recruiting from majors other than communications or advertising. Because they have departments like research, analytics, and web development, it is natural to reach more types of educational backgrounds to fill these roles. While I thought that studying psychology would be only abstractly useful, I have found it incredibly applicable to sketching out psychographics, understanding demographics, and developing metrics to assess the effectiveness of a campaign.

I would encourage future interns to be confident in the tools that the liberal arts have armed them with. Don’t worry if you’re not a formal student of advertising—it just takes a little bit of extra work and eagerness to learn! Computer science translates to web development. Economics could lead into strategy. Statistics would be wonderful preparation for analytics.

The agency atmosphere is wonderful for the kind of intellectually curious students that love the liberal arts because there is always something new to learn. As new projects come in, they each present challenges in how to communicate most strategically. HLK even offers weekly webinars on all types of skills that relate to digital marketing.

I have learned that the ability to think strategically and solve problems is a common denominator across the many departments at HLK. And with the guidance of my wonderful and experienced mentor, Nick Holmes, I am quickly picking up what it means to work in media planning. I am living proof that the liberal arts are valid preparation for a career in an agency like HLK.