Inside Advertising Executive Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Creative Director-Ad Agency: "The best part is solving problems and using my creativity, and the fact that the job is always changing, so it never gets boring. The worst part is that unpredictability makes it hard to balance work and life. Hours are long and irregular. Also, there are definitely times when I feel like my team has done a really good job in solving a problem, but then are held back by other departments we rely on (like production, media or account service) who have different agendas, or are more tolerant of low quality work." (2011)

Advertising Account Executive: "Best: 1) Working on incredibly interesting and inspiring creative concepts, and working to bring them to life. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing my work out in the world 2) Being part of a community of such smart, creative and cutting-edge people. Worst: 1) The stress of producing high-risk, high-cost projects with difficult timelines and hard personalities/differing work styles. 2) The hours can be very long, and the pay is lower than some other industries with a lack of bonus structure; yet the career path is still very competitive." (2011)

Advertising Consultant: "The best part of my career is meeting so many new people. I have made a lot of contacts with people in various careers and learned so much about many types of work. I love the interaction with people and the fast paced nature of the job itself. The worst part of the job is using my personal vehicle for travel. They do reimburse for mileage, but the mileage rate is not very much and not enough for the wear and tear on the vehicle from driving it so much." (2011)

Creative Director: "One of my favorite activities is directing photo shoots. Working with photographers to capture an image that communicates the desired message and is attention-getting. Choosing and working with photographers and illustrators can be very enjoyable, particularly when they make your ideas look wonderful. My least favorite thing to do is designing books or catalogs. When working on books or anything with a large number of pages the alterations or corrections always take a long time. When there is a lot of information involved making sure everything is correct can be laborious." (2009)

Career Background

Advertising Executive

  Job Tasks
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  How to Prepare for the Job
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Career Video

Career Tips

"Need To Like Creative Challenges...
If you don't really enjoy solving problems that are difficult in a creative way, then you won't like working in advertising. It doesn't matter if you got good grades or followed rules. If you can channel your creativity into making things that people enjoy seeing, or interacting with, or sharing with their friends, you can succeed in advertising. Advertising is not a career that will reward you just for showing up. It will reward you for trying your best all the time, even if sometimes you fail. The key thing is learning from your failures, as well as your successes." (Creative Director-Ad Agency; 2011)

"Know The Advertising World...
Learn the industry! Understand how the agency/client relationship works, and what the different career paths are within it. Read publications and talk to anyone you know with experience. Make sure you are a good communicator - teach yourself to be clear and concise at all times. When applying for jobs in advertising, research the agency. Learn who their clients are, get an understanding of their culture. If you're interviewing for a certain client, make sure you know the brand! Have opinions about it - show that you're smart." (Advertising Account Executive; 2011)

"Need To Be A People Person...
You need a go-getter attitude for a job in sales and you must have a genuine interest in people, for you meet so many new people each day in this field. Going to a newspaper or magazine company and shadowing a salesperson might be good to get an idea of what the job of media sales actually entails. I also would recommend learning as much as possible about the type of media you are selling. Newspaper advertising is much different than magazine advertising, though the types of publications are similar." (Advertising Consultant; 2011)

"Take The Time To Stimulate Ideas...
1. Learn to think on paper. It is easier to develop more ideas with pencil and paper than on a computer. Ideas developed on a computer tend to look "computerized" and not as appealing. 2. Learn to use computers and relevant software. Once you've developed an idea in a sketch, the computer is used to execute the final product. Most advertising is produced for both print and online venues. 3. Stay stimulated. Turn off the computer and the TV. Go to museums, live performances, read, draw and paint. Good ideas can come from anywhere, but the deeper your reservoir of ideas the more successful you'll be." (Creative Director; 2009)