Although this area of work is open to all graduates, a degree or HND in the following subjects may increase your chances, especially as advertising is an increasingly competitive sector to enter:
A degree or HND is usually required, especially in large agencies. Entry without a degree or HND but with a proven track record of relevant work experience may be considered, more typically in smaller or specialist agencies. However, graduates are often preferred, so candidates without a degree may have to consider starting at a more junior level.
Pre-entry work experience is extremely desirable and an excellent way to gain an understanding of how an agency works. Work experience also enables you to make some valuable contacts to use when you are looking for a permanent role as an account executive. It can be undertaken via vacation work, placements or job shadowing. Some larger agencies offer formal work experience/internship programmes, often in the form of summer schools. More details on work experience can be found at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) .
As advertising is so competitive, work experience may sometimes prove difficult to get, but any other work experience in a commercial context may be helpful. Undertaking a period of voluntary work is also an alternative way of gaining valuable experience.
Potential candidates need to show evidence of the following:
Larger agencies, which have graduate training schemes, invite applications through their websites. These are usually made early in the autumn term of your final year. Smaller and specialist agencies recruit as vacancies arise, often using specialised websites or recruitment consultancies.
A speculative, targeted application using a focused, attention-grabbing CV and covering letter can also be an effective approach. Try to learn as much as possible about advertising, the role of account executives and about the organisation you wish to work for, and then apply directly.
It is helpful to read job adverts in the trade press and request vacancy details to help you get a feel for the combination of skills and industry knowledge that an advertising account executive needs. Consider related posts, e.g. in sales, marketing or public relations, for work experience, as employers often find the skills and experience gained in related roles transferable to advertising.
Networking may also be beneficial in helping you to secure a marketing position. Your university careers service may host events giving you the opportunity to gain contacts and meet industry representatives.
Social networking sites offer an increasingly effective way to network with advertising professionals. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has further details about social networking and blogs on its website.
This website is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets if you are able to do so.