I'm in my senior year in high school right now and I figured I should start taking certain steps to ease my entrance into the adult world. My idea for higher education is pretty much a done deal, I'm preparing for a law school. But aside from that, I also want to use the time I have right now to try different things and see what I'm good at, what are my strengths.

My father runs a jewelery store and I've decided to take up advertising the place. I have no experience in the field whatsoever and although my question could just be "how to get into advertising", I bear in mind what I said in the first paragraph and my question is: how can you get a taste of a certain field, get into it only superficially in order to see if you're doing any good in it so far?

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Okay, several questions first. Are you wanting to prepare for the law field or advertising? I'm not very clear as to which way your trying to sway. Also, have you ever had a job before? By the time I started school I already had been involved in four different types of job and because of that variety and work ethic I was able to determine not only what I wanted to do but also what I was good at. I had worked at a Masonry-Construction company, 3 different grocery stores, YMCA, and a shoe store. Because of the variation I was able to see what I liked about each job, what I disliked, and what I was good at it. If you want to advertie for your fathers store then I would suggest possibly creating ads and putting them into the newspaper? Just try different things and see what you enjoy, etc before you make it a done deal.

Law is definitely the plan A. As for advertising, I only want to get some basic, entry-level, 101-kind of education in it. Just enough to see what it's about and use it to help out my dad. If I find that I enjoy it and am good at it, I might devote to it completely. But I want to get a taste first, see what it's all about.

I've been thinking about reading Ogilvy's "Confessions of an Advertising Man".

how can you get a taste of a certain field, get into it only superficially in order to see if you're doing any good in it so far?

 

Good question. Most people end up in their professions almost accidentally. This is often true even of people who become masters of their professions.

I can give you a little more specific information about advertising, and specifically, about writing advertisements.

The Copywriter's Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To W...

The preceding is by Bob Bly, who is or was the top-earning copywriter in the USA. Oddly enough, he actually sells his secrets to potential competitors and upstarts. The preceding book is generally reputed to be on the up-and-up by other top copywriters. I have it (but I am not a professional--I just need to write my own advertisements from time to time). It is incredibly concise and to-the-point. Not surprisingly. He's well-compensated for a reason.

You might find more interesting materials on his website:

Bob Bly's product page

I suppose that one possible answer to your question is to make a go at learning about a field, and maybe the basics of how to do it, to get a taste. Maybe someone else has a better one.

I have a question of my own: how do you learn the ropes from the right people the right way? I think you're at the mercy of reputations (for example, of schools), which are not necessarily accurate. I pointed you in the direction of a real top copywriter, who really knows his stuff. Eats, breaths, and lives copywriting. I have no idea where to direct you for good-quality basic information about the practice of law, for example. No background in it. Finding good mentors is important; it could make the deal for you or break it for you.

Great success to you!

I wonder if you're asking this about the wrong field.  How much have you looked into law--what it's really like, not what TV says it's like?  Have you talked to many lawyers about their work?  What about young lawyers entering the job market now, what do they find?  Are you familiar with the costs of law school?

Perhaps you've looked at that, though given the state of the profession I think you ought to look again, but I certainly hope that you're looking closely at what you are planning to spend your life doing before you look into a sideline.

Thing is, my mom is a renowned lawyer and so I got a lot of knowledge about the career from her. Watching her work, often visiting her at work etcetera. I sort of know what I'm getting into and it's a legitimate plan A - as in, I wouldn't mind ending up working in it, I can see myself in it. But I still want to get a taste of many different things - even if none of those will end up being my careers, I'll still end up with experience, bigger or smaller, in many different fields which I think is always a good thing.

As long as you know what you're getting into, go for it.  I've just seen many folks your age who want to be lawyers while largely getting their idea of what that entails from TV and Hollywood.  Hence my comment.

An unpaid internship over the summer at an ad agency would be what I would look into if I were you.  It's competitive though so it might be too late to get in.  Typically this is where all people start in an ad agency anyway, so if you find you do like it, you'll already have this under your belt.

Red,

 

I've had 4 jobs since the age of 14, none of them so prestigious as advertising or law, but let me share with you anyway.

 

I worked in an espresso stand as a teen, spent 10 years in grocery, and in the past 5 I have worked various positions in elder care as an ulicensed and licensed healthcare professional.

 

A "superficial" test of a field really isn't going to tell you much. In fact, it may not even really tell you whether or not you would actually enjoy what you are doing. In fact, that superficial dip will taint your assessment.

 

Why? 

 

Because when you invest years of education to enter a field, you are going to HAVE to do the work for a while to pay off that investment. You are going to HAVE to go to work each day. Changing from an exploration or recreational approach to a job will eventually change your attitude.

 

That's why a large percentage of people will change professions 2-3 times in their lifetime.

 

You want to know your strengths?

 

Look at your studies; what disciplines do you excel in? And don't tell me that you are a 4.0 - what disciplines do you ace with little effort? Which disciplines do you have to really work to make the grade? What disciplines fascinate you?

 

Do you know what area of study is a marker for potential law students? History. Makes sense when precedents are important to cases, right?

 

I would expect folks in advertising to be strong in creative areas as well as social sciences.

 

Why?

 

Well, creativity allows the development of ideas, and social sciences would allow one to understand demographics and market targeting.

 

I have a buddy working toward his PHD in social sciences, and those students often get paid internships with large corporations for their work with demographics.

 

 

So... where do you line up?

Maybe you end up with a specialty in advertising law.

I think as long as it's not McDonalds, almost any summer job can be good experience.  Even that...at least you'll know how horrible it is working for a corporation like that on minimum wage and appreciate the grief those people go thru.

I've done a whole mess of stuff from 13 years old to my present point of 52 years.  A lot of it was good stuff and helped keep me well-rounded.

Farm worker

Landscaper

Commercial fisherman

Restaurant kitchen/cook

Sound and Lights technician

Carpentry

Illustrator

Architectural designer

Personally I'm a firm believer in having a trade- even if you are heading into law.  Useful knowing how to weld, or run electrical, or do carpentry.  You'll be more useful to your family, be able to generate cash income at any point or any location, and will generally feel better about your own capabilities.  Nothing like having smarts AND skills.

Internships, volunteering, part time jobs. Networking is another good start. Your father is in business and most likely knows other business people ask him to introduce you to someone in the field that you're interested in learning about. After the initial introduction ask the person about what he/she does, listen to what they have to say, and tell them of your interest in that field and why it is interesting to you. Then ask if they would mind taking them under their wing for a short time to try out the field.

Major in economics w/ marketing electives 

economics is a business minded degree and undergrads with a major in economics as a whole record the second highest LSAT scores than any other  major. the first being philosophy. ECONOMICS with marketing electives gives you the opportunity to help your dads business+advertise (marketing), get an MBA Later and have the 2nd best degree to prepare you for the LSAT and law school.

If you can manage it, take a class in the desired field at your university. You could do it cheap and take one over the summer at your local community college if you wish. Now, that is a double edged sword since if you have a horrible professor you may be turned off to the field. Doing a job where you have no experience isn't a good taste. You need to learn from someone.

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