Where do I start? Advertising

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1 Where do I start? Advertising Introduction The advertising industry in the UK is recognised as being among the best in the world. It is an environment that is fast-paced and highly creative. You will find that the people who work in advertising work very hard and are passionate about what they do. Many cite the creative atmosphere and buzz of the agency as one of the main reasons they do their job. Before you start researching a career in advertising, it is crucial that you are passionate about it. You should think about the reasons why you like and dislike certain ads and think about advertising in all media, not just on television and in print. Advertising is a popular career choice for graduates, which makes it competitive to get into. Although graduate training schemes exist, they are not the norm and you may need to employ other strategies to get a job in advertising. Finding out about Web The Careers Service website links to many useful advertising websites, including some that contain job vacancies. Use the Advertising, PR and Marketing section at:

2 The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) ( has an excellent careers site (Admission) with a wealth of information Information folder Green folder (G1) Advertising Reference books Careers in Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations Freelance Copywriting How to get into Advertising The Drum Yearbook Agency thinking about what makes good and great advertising Journals Campaign (weekly) The Drum (fortnightly) Social media Social media makes it easy for you to make connections, either to gain more information on the industry and the roles available or to find out about specific vacancies. You can stay up to date with what s happening in the industry generally by or theipa, etc. Individual agencies, and staff working within agencies, also have a social media presence so interact with them too. Agencies and individuals use media such as Twitter to advertise vacancies, sometimes as their primary advertising channel. Aside from using social media to find out about the industry and in your job search you should also think about social media from an advertiser s perspective. Knowing about the many types of social media available is important as advertisers utilise a range of sources and media platforms. Some agencies main focus is social media, others have it as a component, for example in full service agencies. Effective use can get you noticed so think about how you are promoting yourself. Use the resources on our website on our

3 website Getting experience Getting relevant work experience is really useful when it comes to applying for a job after you graduate. Some agencies will only hire someone who has completed work experience with them. Internships Some of the bigger agencies offer formal internships but these are relatively few so competition is fierce. However, you should remember that students do get them, so it is worth applying. Advertising agencies also change their recruitment patterns year to year so that one year they may offer internships and the next they don t. For details of agencies with internship schemes use MyCareerHub (access it through the Careers Service website and the IPA careers website, There are two main ways to gain work experience at an agency: The first is through a well-researched speculative application. For information about speculative applications use the red Applications folder in the Careers Service, the resources on our website for work>finding unadvertised vacancies, or speak to a Careers Consultant. For contact details of agencies, use the IPA website ( co.uk) (remember this will only have IPA member agencies), the Yellow Pages ( and the resources in the Advertising section at to occupations>advertising, public relations and marketing. The other way to get experience is by making use of your contacts. Networking is a really common way into the industry. If you are unsure about this approach, look at the information in the red Job Seeking Strategies folder, on our website in the Looking for work section under Finding unadvertised vacancies or speak to a Careers Consultant. Social media is a great way of building up your contacts, so explore different options and not just the obvious ones. The IPA run AdSchool for penultimate year students and AdAcademy, for final year students and graduates, both take place during the summer. These schemes enable successful applicants to complete rotations in London advertising agencies and attend evening sessions with input from industry leaders. More

4 information can be found at How to find a job Most of the big advertising agencies have an annual graduate recruitment scheme. The majority of agencies will only have a few vacancies and competition for these places is tough. The closing dates for graduate recruitment schemes are generally early, around November/December, so it is important to plan ahead. You can find a list of graduate schemes (and closing dates) on the Admission website Look for vacancies on MyCareerHub, available through the Careers Service website. on Twitter for industry vacancies. The medium and smaller agencies recruit as and when vacancies arise. The trade press details who has won accounts, who has joined and who has left agencies. By being aware of this activity you will be able to predict which agencies will be recruiting and when. Speculative applications can be a successful strategy for finding a job. Use the same strategies as mentioned under Getting experience. Networking is a common way to find out about vacancies and can enable you to find out about opportunities before everyone else. Use the strategies mentioned under Getting experience. The majority of recruitment for graduates in advertising is for the posts of account executive or account planner. If you are a creative the process is slightly different. An art director and a copywriter who work well together form a partnership and build a portfolio to take to advertising agencies. They will often meet their partner whilst attending specialist courses or through networking. The Design and Art Directors Association (D&AD), can also help via their web-based showcase, Talentpool. Applications and interviews Keep up-to-date with an agency s activities by regularly reading Campaign and other advertising journals. Make sure you are connected with the organisation and its staff on the appropriate social media.

5 Complete the IPA s Diagonal Thinking Test, and include the certificate with your application. The IPA have some useful tailored information on their Admission site which covers applications and interviews Avoid using wacky ideas to get yourself noticed. Most have been done before. Having a practice interview with a Careers Consultant can be really useful preparation for an upcoming interview. Advertising agencies may ask questions which are unconventional and demand a creative answer. Having experience of being asked this sort of question is good preparation. Keep abreast of current advertising campaigns (especially those that the agency has worked on!) and have an opinion on them. Finding out more It is useful to find out more about advertising from the people who work in it. Speaking to professionals is a great way of getting really informative, up-to-date insight and advice. Advertising agencies vary a lot in the type of work that they do and where their focus lies. Read the information on the Admission website ( to help you identify the sort of agency you would like to work in. There are various social media groups with graduates who have just started in the industry. These are great for getting an individual s perspective on the industry, the day-to-day nature of the job and tips on how to get in, but for authoritative careers information about advertising you should rely on established organisations such as the IPA. Make sure you stay up to date with what s happening in the The University of Edinburgh Careers Service 2014 The Careers Service aims to be accessible to all users. If you require support to access any of our events or facilities, please let us know. We are happy to make this publication available in an alternative format. Please phone or to alert us to your needs. The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336

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8 graduate jobs part-time jobs voluntary work internships information on employers

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