If you’re trying to get your foot in the door, but don’t know how or where to begin, this post is a great place to start.
Because today, we’re sharing our 9 steps on how to get started in having a career in advertising.
And at the end, we’re sharing 3 things of what not to do in interviews based on real stories that we’ve seen happen from the employers’ side of the table.
So keep reading.
Today’s post is going to be a little bit different than what we normally put out.
This post is specifically for those who want to start a career in advertising. Let’s get started!
9 Steps On How To Get Started With A Career In Advertising
Step 1: Analyze where you’re at
Step 2: Determine where you want to go
Step 3: Get more specific on where you want to go
Step 4: Get any advertising experience you can
Step 5: Dust off your resume
Step 6: Start applying and follow up
Step 7: Prepare for interviews
Step 8: Network
Step 9: Never stop learning
Are you in college trying to plan out your first career move?
Or are you someone who has worked in a different industry for some years and just decided you’re ready to make the transition into advertising?
The next steps you take will slightly depend on where you’re currently at in your career now.
So for this step, take a moment to study where you’re at and the experience you’ve gathered in whatever you’ve accomplished so far…
…and jot down a list of things you could bring to the table in general.
In general, what would be your preferred outcome? If you’re in college, this might look like getting an advertising internship.
If you’re already in the workforce, this might look like:
- freelance work,
- transferring to an in-house marketing team for a client, or
- working at a digital marketing agency like LYFE Marketing.
For this step, you just want to solidify your goal and start defining your ideal workplace.
Start collecting a list of workplaces, actual names of companies that you want to apply for, and research them.
This shouldn’t be as complicated as marketing research.
In fact, if you’re in college, there are often college career boards where you can find different advertising agencies hiring.
And depending on your school or the career app they have, sometimes you can use them a couple of years after you’ve graduated as an alum.
Otherwise, there is always the more commonly known job finding apps you hear about, like Indeed for example.
But another option we’d recommend if you want to start a career in advertising is to research the companies first.
Find an ideal place that you’d want to work at based on what you can find out about them from Google, LinkedIn, and etc.
And then, see if they have a place to apply directly on their website. Like this career page we have on our website!
And don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to companies in your area.
One study found that 47% of the companies interviewed said they would like to hire a remote marketing candidate.
And that study was conducted in 2019, so imagine how that sentiment has only increased since 2020.
Many businesses have an incentive to hire remote candidates because:
- That’s less monthly rent they have to pay in office real estate, and
- It opens up their hiring pool. They’re not limited to the talent that lives within 1 hour of the office.
If the perfect candidate lives a few states over, that’s still okay.
So it’s a win-win scenario for both you and the employer.
Now once you’ve got a list of some of the companies you would like to work for jotted down…
…you can move on to the next step in starting a career in advertising.
Before applying to these places, it couldn’t hurt to get any advertising experience you can under your belt.
Even if it’s just the free Google training courses, you can then add Google Certified to your resume.
Another option is, you could offer some work for free to friends or family that have a business they need to market.
That is just for the sake of getting a portfolio of your work together before you start a career in advertising.
And if you need a learning source to help get educated and up-to-date with today’s advertising practices…
…our social media ads webinar is a great place to start.
Overall, you just want to find ways to add advertising-related items to your resume, be it through completed courses or experience.
Depending on where you’re at in your career, it may have been a while since you’ve updated it, or you may be creating your resume for the first time.
Either way, you’ll want to ensure it’s as up-to-date as possible and is prepped specifically for the places you intend to apply to.
So you’ll want to make a really strong basic version of your resume.
And then, slightly tweak things to make multiple versions of it that are attuned to the needs of each place you’re applying for.
And one piece of advice we can offer you is that when you’re doing this, you’re sort of marketing yourself, right?
So it can help to think of your resume in the same light that we talk about advertisements on these digital marketing channels.
Let us explain what we mean.
In several posts, we have talked about the importance of addressing a customer by their needs.
If a business is running an ad, we talk all the time about using the ad to tackle the customer’s goals or pain points…
…instead of talking about how many awards the company has won, or how great their company is.
In the same way, you want to use your resume to talk about what problems you can solve or goals you can achieve for their company.
In our experience, companies care more about how your skills can help them than how many years you spent in college.
In fact, 64% of hiring companies have listed problem-solving as the top soft skill they search for when recruiting digital marketing candidates.
Check out our post about marketing skills in 2022 to find out which fields you should be focusing on now.
So while yes, you should have your credentials somewhere on your resume to start a career in advertising…
…we would spend more time figuring out how you can make yourself look valuable to the employer.
And that’s based on how you can help them achieve their company goals.
Once you’ve got your resume ready to go, start applying to all of the places you researched on your list in step 3.
You will get some “Nos” and you may also never hear back from certain companies, and that’s okay! It’s not the end of the world.
Just keep going through your list and applying, and don’t be afraid to follow up with companies you haven’t heard back from yet.
We know some companies specify not to follow up in their application process, but otherwise, we would advise that you do.
And when you follow up, we would advise doing a little digging either on LinkedIn or on the company’s website…
…to try and find the proper person to follow up with.
If you exhaust your list and still aren’t hearing back, you may need to go back to step 3 and expand on your list a little bit.
And then, continue this cycle until you start securing some interviews.
This is an important step if you really want to secure a career in advertising.
There are so many resources out there on how to prepare for interviews, such as how to dress, what kind of questions to ask, and answers to prepare.
And a lot of that applies here too.
The same general practices we always hear on how to prepare for an interview can be used here.
So instead of regurgitating generic tips on how to prepare for interviews, we’ve listed down the things that should not do during interviews.
3 Tips For What Not to Do in Interviews
This is actually based on real stories that we’ve seen people do in interviews from the employers’ side of the table.
1. Don’t be too cocky or too relaxed. You want to find a balance.
We’ve seen people come in trying to overcompensate for not having much experience with a cocky attitude.
And we’ve also seen people come in who did have a ton of experience and that’s probably why they had a cocky attitude.
But in both cases, they probably thought it came across as confidence.
However, in reality, some of the things they said and the way they said them made it seem like they were not going to be a great team player…
…or work well with having a manager, in general.
And on the opposite side of the spectrum, we’ve seen people who come in nervous.
And they try to relieve the general “tension” that comes with the nature of it being an interview by making jokes or trying to be overly casual.
Which can come across as unqualified or not ready for a professional job.
So you just need to find the balance.
Because we’re not saying to be unconfident or never share a joke in an interview.
However, the focus should be on your excitement around the position and showing that you really want to start a career in advertising, for that matter.
As well as the possibility of working for the company because of what you think you can bring to their table.
2. Don’t overshare personal details and life stories.
We’ve seen so many interviews go south because the applicant is a talker that spends most of the interview trying to be friends with you…
…rather than focusing on the job and their possibility of working with you.
Now, we don’t want to suck all the personality out of your interview.
We mean, of course, you don’t want to be a bland, forgettable applicant either that gives cookie-cutter answers.
Again, it’s all about balance.
But for example, there’s a time when our marketing manager said that she once left an interview feeling more like a therapist instead of a marketing manager.
And that’s because the applicant unloaded all of this unnecessary personal information on her that didn’t have anything to do with working for us.
In an interview, this is your time to show what makes you an asset to our company!
Don’t waste it talking about things that aren’t going to be valuable to the employer.
There will be plenty of time to become great working colleagues and build rapport after you get the job.
3. Don’t under-prepare.
You want to over-prepare for hard questions. It’s better to be over-prepared than under, right?
The same sentiment of “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
You can do any number of Google searches to garner a list of:
- the most commonly asked interview questions,
- the hardest interview questions, and
- how to answer them.
So practice your answers at home! Practice them at home where you’re not under any pressure and can give a thoughtful, real answer.
And then try to remember that for the interview when nerves may be a little high.
Because we know, and have seen firsthand, how people can blank on answers when they’re nervous.
We’ve seen some unfortunate answers come out of nervous applicants that we’re sure could’ve given a better answer if they had prepared ahead of time.
Usually, for most applicants, the nervousness comes from the fear of not knowing the answer to something or being stumped in the interview.
So, take as much time as you need to prepare for the interview beforehand to help eliminate the source of that fear.
As an employer, all of these things can be red flags to us because your interview is supposed to portray the best version of yourself.
And if you can’t carry yourself in a professional manner, stay on topic with the interview for 30 minutes, or answer basic questions thoughtfully…
…it isn’t a good look as to how you would then perform as an employee.
So those were our 3 transparent tips into what not to do at interviews when you want to start a career in advertising (or in whatever career you decide on).
If you got the interview but didn’t get the job, the best way to look at it is that you have now met someone face to face who works in the industry.
So even if they don’t have an opening for you right now, it’s a great idea to add them on LinkedIn to keep in touch with them.
Also, upon hearing that you did not receive the job, you can email them back.
Thank them for their time, and ask what you could have done better or differently, or what they loved about the candidate they did decide to go with.
This helps give you better insight into what employers are looking for.
As well as opens the lines of communication between you and that employer post-interview.
This will make it easier to keep in touch down the road to see if they have future openings after you have bettered XYZ about your skillset.
Or you could even go on to ask them if they know of anybody else in the industry who would be interested in having an interview with you.
Just don’t let an unsuccessful interview set you back; utilize it to learn and keep going if you really want to start a career in advertising.
This applies to both scenarios whether you didn’t or did get the job. This is how you get a job and keep it.
Digital advertising never stays the same.
You have to keep up with updates and market changes if you want to be successful and remain successful.
Going back to the interview process, being up-to-date on current advertising news and tools may be something that sets you apart from other applicants!
So don’t get complacent and continue investing in your education within the different types of digital marketing.
So there were our 9 steps on how to start a career in advertising. Is there anything that surprised you or stood out to you?
But if you’re someone who wants to start a small business instead and wants to learn digital advertising, then reach out to our advertising consultant!
Yes, we have a team of experts ready to help and teach you whatever it is you want to know in this field. Contact us today!