Entering the industry through the yellow door
Since I was a little boy, the sensitive subject of what I wanted to be when I grew up has changed at least 15 times. This ranged from a vet when I was younger to a film director or psychologist when I was a teenager (lucky miss). However, when it was time to make a decision during my matric year, I found myself leaning towards marketing and advertising. Initially it was to combine film with a little bit of business and to work with people, but I’ve honestly got so much more out of it since then.
During my studies at AAA School of Advertising, I changed my mind about 10 times more. I knew I was in the right industry, but the exact direction I wanted to pursue wasn’t clear. I’m a very particular individual and thought it would be a good idea to take some time off this year to clear my head before committing to one job for the rest of my life.
This was before I realised I could further my experience and explore different fields by doing one or two paid internships rather than seeking full-time employment. Having already done a one-month internship at a large, full-house agency in Cape Town, I immediately applied for three digital marketing internships in and around Cape Town and was accepted by a small and relatively new agency called Yellow Door Collective.
Now that you know some of my story, I would like to tell you why applying was the best decision I’ve ever made. Although YDC only has seven employees, their services stretch from strategy and PR, to design, copywriting and a field that was still very new to me at the time, website development. The team, which I’m proud to say now includes myself, has experience in all these fields, and I get to learn about all of them (unlike what I expected from a typical marketing internship).
All I wanted after finalising my studies was an exciting career where I didn’t have to follow a standard work routine on a daily basis. I also wanted to give creative input and keep learning while doing so. For a guy who was looking forward to directing and editing TV commercials, I now get to attend video shoots and give creative input as well. Apart from achieving this to an extent, I also replaced my initial primary objective for the industry with my passion for website development, an incredibly complex yet fulfilling task which one of my bosses, Dominique, is already assigning me tasks for. She also sent me to a workshop on WordPress for beginners, an experience I honestly struggle to describe in words.
On the subject of using words, I’m Afrikaans and therefore never truly saw myself writing content as a career. Of course, with YDC’s reputation of delivering valuable online content, I was tasked to write a large amount of Facebook updates, tweets, and my personal favourite, blog posts for various clients. This has truly made me fall in love with the fine art of copywriting, even though I still have a lot to prove – you can ask our London-based editor, Jo!
In a nutshell, I struggle to express the admiration I have for the amazing minds behind the yellow door, and my appreciation to them for equipping me with skills I look forward to mastering in the near future. My biggest piece of advice to graduates is that you’re never truly going to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life until you’ve had practical work experience. Therefore, when deciding what you want to do after your studies, choose something that will give you the opportunity to explore as many different fields as possible.
From my experience, this is something you’ll only be able to do at a smaller agency, as you’ll be assigned with various kinds of exciting responsibilities. And if you’re thinking of getting travelling out of your system, just know you’re always going to have that opportunity in the future, so you might as well start saving up and gain some experience for when you get back!
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