I’ll try to respond to these every week. This one is particularly important. Without grads. We all go out of work.
I look after the creative placements at our agency – I can relate to them as I’m a scout leader also (different age, but good creatives are big kids so this helps!). They usually sit behind me and work as a junior on a live brief or pitch, we go through dozens a year, take on about 1 in 50 and this is how I feel about it all.
If you’re good, have thought-through ideas, and are dedicated enough to know that there’s never a clock off time (as such), then you’ll be rewarded with more input to a project. And, often if the work’s useful, a day’s freelance rate per week. If you’re slack and go home at 5 because your mum picks you up then or that’s the closest bus to half 5, and don’t come back in having thought about the brief in the shower or car etc, then you’d only get travel paid.
Listen. Observe. Realise both that you’re opinion is as valid as anyone else, but also that it may, as any idea, not be taken on board- don’t get pissed off! Act like a guest in your boyfriend/girlfriend’s house, go out of your way to show willingness, and manners. Offer tea, but don’t make it every round, you should be busy too. And like any junior creative, you’re at the bottom rung. Sorry. But as a junior, if you’ve got game, you’ll be taken seriously.
Network and read. I’d expect EVERY placement to have their own blog, a flickr, and maybe a twitter. It shows insight and gives personality in writing (don’t copy and paste stuff). Use your new free time to comment on stuff, on blogs, sites, twitter pages. Get yourself noticed. Read the industry news feeds, use iGoogle to good effect, and you know what, you’ll find that you know more about what’s going on than the pros. And that’ll make you look good.
In summary be realistic, have an online presence, get stuck in, know digital, and have a plan, oh, and have fun! The single best thing you can bring is energy and fun! Show them how to enjoy this crack!