In difficult economic times, companies both large and small dramatically scale back their advertising budgets. This fact, in turn, has led to downsizing and cutbacks within advertising agencies and design houses. To land a good advertising job, a college advertising major should make certain they are well-versed not only in sales, copywriting, and promotion, but also in graphic design.
The most frequently available job for an advertising major, and the spot where most recent graduates end up, will involve advertising sales. Openings for ad salespeople are common with newspapers, magazines, and television and radio stations. You may well be hired on a trial basis, and the turnover ratio of employees is very high. Only the best producers survive for the long term.
Depending upon your sales ability, and the size of the firm for whom you’re working, payment for these jobs can be either straight commission, a draw against commission, or salary plus commission. Strive for the latter, but realize that your job security depends upon your ability to not only service current clients, but also to bring in new business. This will involve numerous “cold calls” to businesses that may or may not have any interest in buying airtime or ad space. If you dislike hearing the word “no,” or take rejection personally, then the advertising sales job is not for you.
Most advertising majors seek to work for a large advertising agency, however the road to dealing with national clients and receiving lucrative salaries begins at the bottom. Established advertising account executives guard their clients as if they were gold, and you will have to prove your worth. Generally speaking, an advertising major who lands a job with an agency will begin as a copywriter. Attempt to be as creative as possible, while at the same time keeping within the parameters of the ad campaign. Quite a few copywriters, if they display great ideas and have a personality to match, will eventually move up to a junior account executive position.
If an advertising major has gained proficiency in design, even more doors will open. Opportunities for this creative production position abound in the print industry, but even more important, you will discover a nearly infinite number of smaller, freelance jobs. The key to success in this area of advertising is to build your client portfolio. As a rule, the more satisfied clients you can acquire, the higher the rates you can charge.