The first thing that hiring managers at an advertising firm will look at when your resume comes across their desk is what, if experience you have in the field. Obviously, any kind of work experience which is applicable to the job you're aiming for is a great thing, but experience working at another advertising or marketing firm will be given the greatest weight in their evaluation of your resume. Of course, if you have worked in an agency before, then it's a little easier to land advertising firm jobs - but there are ways to get the advertising jobs you want even if you've never so much as set foot in an agency before.
One way to gain the experience you need to have hiring managers look positively at your resume for advertising firm employment is to take on an internship. Advertising and marketing firms of all types and sizes frequently take on interns both paid and unpaid and while many of these internships do go to current college students, not all of them do. Even if you're looking at a job in advertising as a transition into a different career path, an internship may be the way to go. Interns often find themselves in a paid position following the conclusion of their internship, so this is an excellent way to begin your pursuit of a career in the field.
One thing you'll want to have when you're looking for advertising firm jobs, whether or not you've worked in advertising before is a strong portfolio of your best work. Whether you're a graphic designer or commercial artist, an art director, a copywriter, or any of the other professionals who work in the advertising industry, your portfolio is one of the ways you can present yourself to a prospective employer and truly put your best foot forward. If your portfolio is especially strong, you may be offered a position even if your agency experience is lacking.
In addition to your portfolio (and if you don't have one, then you'll need to create some sample or "spec" pieces as they are known in the industry so that you'll have something to show hiring managers), you'll want to make sure to highlight any relevant experience on your resume as well as in your cover letter. If you've never held any kind of advertising firm employment before, this is especially important - make sure to highlight anything which relates to the position you're hoping to be hired for, whether from a previous job or from volunteer work.
While having a background in the fields of advertising or marketing is a huge plus when you're looking for advertising jobs, remember that a lack of experience can be overcome if you have the necessary talent and the drive to land the job and succeed in this industry. Ambition can go a long way in the advertising industry, just as it can in any other line of work.
How to Find a Job
You may also be wondering how to find advertising firm employment; the answer is that your job search will begin in the same way as it would in any other profession. You'll want to check your local print media (including daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and the like) as well as online. Web based job boards are a particularly good source for finding ad firm jobs; and many positions are posted online before they show up in your local paper. Given the level of competition for jobs in advertising firms in many cities, it's probably best to check online regularly if you're looking for work in this field. It also never hurts to ask around and of course, if there's a particular ad firm you'd especially like to work for, then you can simply send them your resume and/or portfolio on the off chance that they may be interested in taking on someone with your skills.
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