Skip to content

Careers Centre

Advertising

Sector Overview

This page has been written by Liz Batterham, the relevant Careers Adviser for this occupational area. To see how you can meet Liz, or any of our advisers, visit our website.

What is advertising?

Where are the jobs?

What is the work like?

Current trends

According to the Institute of Practioners in Advertising (IPA), job opportunities are increasing. Each new wave of technology gives birth to exciting new creative and media applications which require new skills and fresh talent.  The industry is seeking graduates from a wider range of backgrounds and disciplines than ever before.

 

Roles

Do you have what it takes to work in the advertising industry?

Complete the Diagonal Thinking Self Assessment Test to find out if you are a 'Diagonal Thinker'. If you are, you could be suited to the advertising and communications business. The test is free.

There are many different roles available in the advertising industry.  Some of the more popular graduate roles include:

Role descriptions

 

Advertising attributes/skills profile

 

Key attributes/skills needed for the role Where you could develop these skills or attributes
Strong lateral and logical thinking skills This is likely to be gained and evidenced through your academic studies. It can also be developed through positions of responsibility in student-run societies and student representative.
A rigorous and creative approach to problem solving
Ability to link a creative solution to a business problem These can be gained from involvement in extra-curricular activities such as student enterprise.  A student representative role is also likely to offer opportunities to develop these characteristics
Entrepreneurial mindset
Persuasive and diplomatic
Thrive on deadlines and pressure Taking on positions of responsibility in student-run societies will give you the chance to develop your skills of teamwork and collaboration
Ability to communicate articulately with people at all levels
An open and enquiring mind

CAPOD offers Leadership courses within its Professional Skills Curriculum.

Taking on positions of responsibility in student-run societies will give you the chance to put your leadership skills into practice
Ability to work under pressure as part of a team
Flexibility to adjust to changing circumstances

Other key attributes/skills demanded for the role: do you possess them?

  • Understanding and love of brands: essential to any role in the sector, and shows you are passionate about branding, advertising, and product promotion.
  • Well-organised with an eye for detail: naturally visualised the best way to promote a brand and can take it from concept to end campaign
  • Digital media insight: ability to utilise all digital resources to maximise impact in our fast paced society
  • Creative design skills/qualifications (for creative roles)

 

Networks - why and how to use them

Why are networks important?

Where alumni work now

Your networks

There are several ways to make contact with alumni.

This networking video produced by Cass Business School gives excellent tips on effective networking.

 

How to gain experience/internships

To gain a graduate position in advertising, it’s certainly an advantage if you have relevant experience or have completed an internship.

 

See also the employers listed in the next section - check their websites to find out if they are offering internships.

Professional bodies and trade associations can be a good source of employers - look for their member or partner listings, which you can often search by location. See links below.

 

How to get a (graduate) job

Some people get their first account planning job straight out of university, while others move across from another agency role, such as account management, or a different field entirely, such as market research or journalism.


Getting a job in the creative department is less straightforward. The main way of entering the profession is to take your ‘book’ of work to art directors and senior copywriters to gain work experience. So networking and speculative approaches are crucial: more on this is included below and in our information about Speculative Approaches and Creative CVs. In many instances people looking to work in more practically creative roles tend to have an art or design background, although this is not essential.

How to start your job search

Qualifications required

Graduate Programmes

Smaller organisations

Professional bodies and trade associations

Advertising agencies which offer graduate graining schemes. Closing dates for graduate training schemes with the big agencies are often in October or November, so it's important to apply early in your final year. Smaller agencies may not advertise vacancies for graduates and speculative applications will be required.

Here are a few advertising agencies which offer graduate training schemes. Check individual websites for closing dates. The IPA also maintains a list of advertising graduate schemes.

 

Job search websites. The following websites publicise vacancies in the advertising sector:

 

Applications, interviews and assessment centres

Making applications

The recruitment process may vary from agency to agency and each scheme structured differently.

Interviews & Assessment Centres

 

Relevant Postgraduate Study

Is it a requirement?

A postgraduate qualification is not essential for a career in advertising. Employers often favour applicants with relevant skills and work experience who are able to prove they have a passion and genuine interest in the industry.

Key UK links and resources

Careers Centre resources

Online

Use CareerConnect, your central careers hub, to:

GoinGlobal

Books:

 

General advertising careers information

Professional Bodies, Trade Organisations & Journals/Magazines

 

USA resources

Vault

The USA job market and recruitment timetables, for both internships and graduate jobs, for sectors of employment often differ from the UK.

The Careers Centre subscribes to the reputable independent USA careers information and vacancy provider Vault. The links below will take you directly to Vault subscription resources which cover this sector. You may find further useful and relevant resources linked from there as well.

 

Internships USA