Beyond the classroom: When do I stop learning?

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This past week my little sister graduated from college. After 5 long years of term papers, reading assignments, internships and mid terms she finally has her degree. I remember the feeling of that day. Diploma in hand and ready to go out into the real world. I thought I knew all I needed to know to get my dream job, make lots of money and never have to crack open a textbook again...unless, of course, I decided to go back for a Master's degree.

However, something that's really gotten me ahead in my career has been that I've changed that mentality. The advertising and marketing industry is continually changing. The core principles of marketing are still pretty much the same, but the media that is used to reach consumers and the technology that is used on a day to day basis both in the office and in marketing efforts is evolving at a rapid pace. Some days its a little overwhelming to try to learn it all. But embracing technology and new marketing tools has really helped me bring value and relevance to the agencies I've worked with and to our clients. Something as simple as knowing how to install an application on an iPhone or size a file correctly has been incredibly helpful.

Having years of experience under your belt, no matter what your industry is, is highly important. There’s no better teacher than experience right? But it’s important to actively teach yourself the new stuff. Stay on top of new technologies and tools that will help put you one step ahead of the next guy. Read books, watch online tutorials, subscribe to RSS feeds. Stay on top of the trends. Learn how to use new tools correctly and effectively, and even if you don’t become an expert in everything, become familiar enough that you can be part the conversation.

So all you new graduates coming into the “real wold” of marketing and advertising. When do you stop learning? My advice is never.