How to Get a Job in Advertising

Am I an expert in the ways of HR in advertising agencies? Absolutely not. I’ve only had a handful of jobs and internships in my 19 years, and only one was related to advertising…But I received a lot of great tips for internship interviews and such, so I’m closer to being an expert than I was a week ago. Progress!


You have to want it.

If you’re not interested in the job you’re applying for, it comes through.

They’re going to ask why you want to be in advertising, and they’re going to ask why you want to be part of their team. If you don’t have a favorite advertisement/campaign/brand or you can’t put your finger on what agency you’re at an interview for, chances are they might think you won’t be an enthusiastic new colleague.

Also, note that “All of them?” and “There are just so many good ones!” are not an acceptable answers for “Name a brand that you think is using social media well” or “Which websites or blogs do you follow to keep up-to-date on industry trends?”


Someone at LaForce + Stevens had one caveat and a solution for it: “In this business, you often do a lot of work without a whole lot of glory. Sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader.” You have to show that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the job you want, and do it with a smile.

If you really want to work somewhere, you can keep applying. Don’t get discouraged because you don’t know what was going on at the time. Maybe you just weren’t the right personality fit for the Nike team, but their next job opening is on the Asus team. Don’t take it personally.

Once you get the job, you will lose most of the business you pitch. It’s fine. Move on to the next client.

Other Tips

Go to portfolio school. If you want to go into  the creative side of advertising, you have to have a portfolio.

No typos. Read, re-read, then have all your friends read your resume. When you’re sending an email, make sure you spell the receiver’s name correctly.

Google yourself. Try to make sure you’re proud of your results. Your social media should be good representations of who you are and who you want to be. Consider a blog or something else that will show up when (not if) your prospective employer searches your name.

Be flexible. It’s okay to work in a job you don’t like for a little while. You’re gaining experience. You will not be pigeonholed based on your first job. You won’t even be defined by your second job if that’s not what you want.

Have confidence! If you’re going in for an interview for an internship or even an entry-level job, they’re not going to expect you to have written a press release or crafted an entire campaign. Show your passion and determination.

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