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To prepare for a career in advertising, start with a good education. Many entry-level advertising jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree. Also, it is wise to make certain that your education includes coursework in accounting, creative design, marketing, psychology, and statistics.
While securing a good advertising education is a start, a degree alone will not guarantee your success at finding a job or excelling in a career in advertising. Instead, you must prepare yourself with more than a good college education. Securing a related internship is one way to get a leg up on your career in advertising. In fact, many advertising firms consider candidates who have completed advertising internships far more attractive than those who have not.
If you are planning to begin your career in advertising in the creative department of an advertising firm, a bachelor’s degree may not be as essential. Many firms hire assistant art directors with two-year degrees from art or design schools. Generally, assistant copywriters do not need degrees. However, obtaining one cannot hurt your chances of landing a job and may help you acquire the type of skills necessary for a career in advertising. It is also worth noting that some advertising firms may require more advanced degrees.
Consider your people skills as you prepare for a career in advertising. Advertising jobs typically require excellent communication skills, a good deal of common sense, the ability to solve problems, and a healthy dose of creativity. If you hope to pursue your career in advertising abroad, foreign language skills are important as well. In many cases, firms consider foreign language skills a plus, regardless of whether or not you choose to work abroad.
Your preparation for a career in advertising should also include boning up on your job-market knowledge. Perform an Internet search to learn where most advertising jobs are located. For example, in the United States, a large portion of the advertising firms and jobs are in Chicago and New York, followed by other large cities. With this information in mind, you may be able to sniff out less popular advertising job markets, getting your foot in the door in a state in which competition is less fierce.
Last, but not least, don’t forget to network. Use every opportunity possible to meet people who are already at work within your field. Such individuals could refer you to a potential employer at some point or give you pointers for landing the perfect job. Local advertising clubs, advertising seminars, and workshops are good places to network with others in advertising.
I cannot agree more with having an internship. In fact, have two or three if you can. I was a communications major for a while and looked at the job ads for advertising. I saw most to all wanted two to five years of experience in the field, so start getting real-world experience in the beginning of your junior year.
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