How to find your place in the advertising industry as a graduate

Amy O'Neill

Advertising people are a diverse bunch.

Regardless of your background or education level, or professional skill set, a career in advertising could be the perfect fit for you. 

To help you find your way into industry, we've put together this list of four of the most common roles you might find yourself applying for, along with an overview of the industry and how you'll fit into it at each stage of your advertising career.


Entry-level - Junior Creative

One of the best ways to understand how the advertising industry works is to understand how an advertising agency functions day-to-day. There are lots of different agencies out there, but most fall under one of four categories: traditional/digital advertising, technology, design, and strategy. Some agencies will specialise in one category while others might incorporate two, three, or all four categories. If you're new to the industry, the most common role you'll find yourself in is a Junior Creative

Junior Creatives work in every area of the business, from Junior Copywriters to Junior Art Directors, and your main responsibilities would be to come up with creative ideas which help bring fresh eyes to the business and align with customers' current tastes. You'll play a part in content creation and work closely with the Marketing team to create adverts that encourage customers to take a desired action. This could be as simple as encouraging them to buy a product or as complex as getting them to change their behaviour or habits.

As you progress in the agency, you could find yourself leading to Art or Creative Director roles, or move into other areas of the agency like Digital, Creative Services, or Marketing and Campaigns.


Client Service - Account Executive

Another important area of any advertising agency is their Client Services. The Account Executive works with the rest of the account management team to make sure the relationship between the agency and client is as smooth as possible. Like Junior Creatives, an Account Executive is often a Graduate Trainee or Apprentice entry-level position that will let you get to grips with the basics of account management.

While Junior Creative roles suit creative, artistic graduates, Accounts Executive roles are better suited to organised graduates who are great communicators. You'll get involved solving problems, attending company meetings, writing up internal and external communications, and keeping track of progress on a variety of agency projects. 


Marketing and Campaigns - Marketing Executive 

The Marketing Executive supports the Head of Marketing and the rest of the marketing team in delivering promotions, campaigns, and other marketing content. You'll have a hand in creating both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) content which promotes the activities and success of the agency while also working to develop the agency's wider marketing strategy. 

A good marketing strategy will use a variety of platforms such as social media, traditional print, and digital advertising - as you grow in your career, you might decide to specialise in one of these areas or find work with an integrated advertising agency which incorporates all of these forms of media into their business model.


Digital - Social Media Manager

The Social Media Manager will help the agency develop their social media strategy and will also be involved with managing multiple social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

As a Social Media Manager, you'll work alongside the creative team to curate social media content which reflect's the agency's brand, help to engage with the business' online communities, and grow their brand awareness. The role mixes creativity and strategy and is well suited for tech-savvy graduates who comfortable and familiar with these platforms.



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