How to get a career in advertising
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How To Get A Career In Advertising. Darren Johnson Careers Adviser. Areas Covered . Advertising Agencies – overview of graduate recruitment Areas of Work What do recruiters seek from applicants Sourcing Work Experience Graduate Schemes Timelines Vacancy Sources . I.P.A .

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How To Get A Career In Advertising

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How To Get A Career In Advertising

Darren Johnson

Careers Adviser

Areas Covered

  • Advertising Agencies – overview of graduate recruitment

  • Areas of Work

  • What do recruiters seek from applicants

  • Sourcing Work Experience

  • Graduate Schemes Timelines

  • Vacancy Sources


  • Institute of Practitioners in Advertising

  • -represent top 250 advertising agencies in U.K

  • 19,000 staff working in member agencies – approx 700 graduates hired each year

  • Typical vacancies per agency 1-8

  • Typical numbers applying for individual graduate schemes – 750- 1,250


The economic situation – effects on graduate recruitment - future outlook

IPA – 2009 graduate intake was 1.3% of all new

vacancies compared to 3.8% in 2008*

Future – slow growth emerging this year with

the large agencies such as Publicis

* Campaign article 2010

Main Career Areas

  • Account Executive -

    Account Planners/Managers

  • Media planners/buyers

  • “Creatives” (copywriters /art directors)

    Research these roles:




Account Executive Most Common Graduate Entry Area

  • Customer Relationship Skills

  • Project Management

  • Teamwork

  • Persuasive

  • Ability to cope under pressure to tight deadlines

Copy Writers

  • Generally will need a portfolio

  • Could be gained through extra-curricular activities at university

  • Get it critiqued – charity NABS does this – occasionally run

    workshops for potential copywriters

What are recruiters seeking in potential new recruits

  • Passion for wanting to work for the agency

  • Understanding of what makes a good advertisement

  • Creativity/Imagination

  • Diagonal Thinking

  • Ability to motivate, persuade and deal with a range of clients and team members

  • High mental and physical energy levels

  • Creativity/Imagination

  • Well organised

  • Attention to Detail

  • Resilient

  • Working under pressure

  • Business acumen (commercial awareness)

Test Yourself On Suitability For Advertising Careers

  • IPA Diagonal Thinking Test



How To Maximise Your Chances of Success

Starting Points

  • Understand how Advertising Agencies operate

    as a creative business

  • Research agencies – find out typical clients/campaigns they have worked on which genuinely interest you


Get Work Experience

  • IPA has on-line directory of agencies to approach

  • Be prepared to make speculative applications

  • Requires targeted cover letter and CV

Consider related sectors


  • P.R

  • Market Research Agency

  • General media

Strategies for Success

  • Don`t miss deadlines – majority of graduate schemes between now and mid November of final year of study.

Typical Questions

  • What makes a good advertising campaign? (Ogilvy)

  • Think of a photo of a group of men in the 1930's 1940's and even 1950's. They are all wearing hats. Imagine a group of men in the 1960's. They are not wearing hats. Why?" (Ogilvy)

  • What is your favourite advertisement and why? (Grey, Ogilvy, TBWA)

  • What is your least favourite advertisement and why? (Grey, TBWA)

Typical Questions

  • If you had 24 hours to live, how would you spend it?

  • List 10 things you could do with a coat hanger.

  • You awake from a coma after 15 years: what has changed?

  • You are in a totally white room: describe your surroundings without using the word "white"

  • What do you think this question should be?

Selection Tests

Some examples

Group Activity

  • Pitch design and cost an ad campaign.

  • Come up with a new product, name it and pitch it.

  • Individual interviews: discuss a script for a new advertisement

Sources of Vacancies




  • Recruitment Agencies:

  •>jobs >graduate entry-level

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