Types of jobs

  • Account Executive - link between client and agency, project manage the client account.
  • Account Planner - developing the key strategic insight which lies behind the advertising idea.
  • Art Director and copywriter are often in a partnership and hired as a creative team.
  • Art Director - generates creative concept.
  • Copywriter - writes copy i.e TV script, a tweet, a strapline or the words on a website.
  • Media Planner - decides which media channels should be used.
  • Media Buyer - purchases media space and airtime on behalf of client.
  • PPC/SEO executive - works with a client's webpage to make it more visible.

To read detailed job descriptions of these roles visit the Prospects or Institute of Practitioners in Advertising websites.

Entry routes

Graduate schemes with big agencies are one route into the industry. Closing dates for these schemes are often in October or November so it’s important to get your applications in early.

Smaller agencies may not advertise vacancies specifically for graduates so it’s a case of looking on key websites. Speculative applications can also be very effective.

Doing a masters or completing a postgraduate qualification could help you develop the skills the industry is looking for but it is not essential. When researching courses, look out for:

  • Industry professionals as tutors/lecturers
  • Theory vs practical
  • Placements, experience and industry contacts

The sector values experience highly so postgraduate study alone will not get you further in this competitive industry.

Getting experience

Pre-entry work experience is extremely desirable and an excellent way to gain an understanding of how an agency works. Work experience also enables you to make some valuable contacts to use when you're looking for a permanent role.

Some larger agencies offer formal work experience/internship programmes, often in the form of summer schools. Check resources such as RateMyPlacement for details of schemes.

Speculative applications are the most common route to getting work experience in this field. Use the IPA’s agency directory to draw up a list of companies you’d be interested to work for. Take a look at their website to see if there’s an email address listed and contact them with a tailored application.

You may want to consider getting experience in other related role such as in sales, marketing or PR. Employers often find the skills and experience gained in these related roles transferable to advertising.

The University offers work experience bursaries for any student in their first, second or penultimate year of study. For more details visit the internship funding pages.

You can also find work experience opportunities on Careers Connect.

You may want to complete a ‘Diagonal Thinking’ test. This is designed to aid the recruitment of talent into the creative industries and is widely used across creative industries.

Finding a job or internship

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