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Career in Advertising

So, you’re thinking about a career in advertising.  It’s cool. It’s creative. You get to wear jeans to work. Yes, this is true – and it’s also challenging, thought-provoking, and requires you to think fast on your feet. I’ve worked in advertising and marketing my entire career and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience.  I was born into the business as my mom and dad actually met at an ad agency back in the early 60’s – very Mad Men-style.  My mom owned an ad agency for many years and my first job out of college was working alongside her. It was a great launching point for my own career which has taken me from NYC, to Portland, Los Angeles, and eventually to Dallas. Along the way, I’ve advertised an interesting range of brands and products including denture cleansers, Nike, Barbie dolls, Doritos and Mercedes-Benz.  

While it is amazing to work on high-profile brands, the most compelling aspect of the business to me is the opportunity to continually learn about new products, consumer behavior, marketing and media trends, and an ever-evolving array of advertising tactics.  While the core concept of advertising has not changed significantly over time – the goal is to intercept and engage consumers with your brand as frequently as possible; the means of doing so is changing at a mind-bending pace.  

So – if you want to do this for a living, you may be asking how do I get started? What kind of education or experience do I need? What sort of jobs are available at an advertising agency? There are three basic job types at a typical agency: Account Management, Media and Creative. Each requires a specific skill set and aptitude.  Here’s a top-level overview of each.

Account Management: These are the people that manage the daily relationships with the Agency clients.  Ideally, you need some classwork and/or real-world experience in marketing, advertising, business management, or sales.  Your role at the agency is to translate the Client’s needs into an actionable direction for the Agency’s creative and media teams to act against. 

Creative Department: These are the artists, graphic designers, writers, and web developers that create the advertising materials that bring the Client’s brand to life. While these roles require creative expertise and artistic flair – they also require enough business acumen to understand how the words and images must drive consumer engagement and move a consumer to act.

Media Department: These are the agency members that determine when and where to place the advertising to maximize exposure and engagement with the brand messaging. This requires a unique combination of art and science as there is a dizzying array of platforms, channels, and devices we can use to get our advertising in front of the right audience. Coursework and/or experience in traditional, digital and social media is your foot in the door for this department.

While each of the departments listed above requires a specific set of skills and experience to succeed, there are some overarching skills and personality traits that will enable you to truly excel in an advertising career. Most importantly is the ability to work well in a team. Advertising is a collaborative process. Each department and team member brings a specific viewpoint to the table and the ability to coalesce these into a comprehensive solution to a client’s business challenge is paramount. 

OK – so this all sounds exciting and you are ready to get your advertising career started. Now you need to find the right agency to plant your flag. You can go through various agencies and platforms and check if there are any job vacancies available or if they are interested in hiring for any advertising roles. I suggest The Miller Ad Agency as an ideal place to start your journey. The Miller Agency has been in business for over 30 years, working on a variety of local and national clients.  We are all about collaboration, teamwork, making an impact, and growing our clients’ businesses.  We offer exceptional opportunities for learning and talent development through our internship program.  You will get real-world, hands-on experience working directly with our clients. You will get immersive training from our senior leaders who are committed to your career development. Come join the Miller team, roll up your sleeves and get ready to make a difference.