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How to Get a Job in Advertising, Design or Media

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds, studioD

Unlike other careers, finding work in advertising, design or media relies heavily, and sometimes almost exclusively, on showing what you have done. Despite this heavy emphasis on demonstrating past work, you have plenty of opportunities to create a portfolio of integrated communications samples. Spending time to build your CV before you start applying for jobs will help you more easily find marketing communications work.

Start by Degrees

Even if you’ve already got a degree, it might be worth your while to earn either an associates or masters degree in integrated marketing. Unlike journalism or communications degrees, integrated marketing degrees prepare you for work in a wide variety of advertising, public relations, marketing communications and digital media areas. Based on the increasing demand for professionals with advertising and design skills in digital media, an additional degree might be worth the cost and effort.

Add Skills

If you can’t take the time to earn a degree, attend skill-specific workshops to learn how to use the latest software, understand social media and create messages for mobile applications. The more you’re able to reach and persuade consumers via print, websites and mobile channels, the more value you will have to employers. If you’re between jobs, offer to serve an internship to help avoid a gap on your CV. This can also help you learn learn specific agency or in-house advertising department skills. If you’re employed, small local TV and radio stations and newspapers might provide evening and weekend work opportunities that offer training and experience. Buy, borrow or lease print and digital design and content management software to help you offer employers more technical skills.

Build a Portfolio

Create a wide variety of advertising, design or media samples you can bring to an interview and post online. Even if you plan on specializing in one of these three areas, include samples in the others to show you understand the entire integrated marketing communications profession. Approach small businesses and nonprofits, including local charities and different trade associations, and volunteer to spruce up their websites, create marketing brochures, develop ads and build social media networks. In addition to individual samples, create case studies that show potential employers how you met with businesses, discussed their marketing problems and needs, came up with thoughtful solutions and then created communications to effect successful outcomes.

Expand your Network

Start surrounding yourself with professionals in the advertising, design and media fields who can help you find your dream job. Join local, state and national professional associations. Attend their meetings and volunteer to serve on their committees. You can meet peers at networking functions such as cocktail parties and conferences. Send links to everyone in your network so they can see your professional website or social media sites. One of the key aspects of your professional work will be helping clients to create brands. Learn how to do this for yourself to impress potential employers.

Use the Right Job Sites

In addition to general job boards, find, bookmark and use websites that cater to integrated marketing professionals. Mediabistro.com not only has an expansive job board, but also offers a wide variety of professional development courses. Its paid AvantGuild membership area provides articles such as “How to Get a Job in Advertising.” Creativecircle.com is another site that connects advertising, design and media professionals with employers.

About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Photo Credits

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