Advertising is a field for those with communication skills and the ability to think on their feet. Advertising workplaces are fast-paced, collaborative environments that value social media and technology skill and awareness.
Advertising can influence consumer behavior, perception, and consumption of a brand, service, or product. As an industry, advertising is a fast-paced, high-profile field that plays an important role in developing memorable ad campaigns on behalf of clients and businesses.
“The business of advertising involves marketing objectives and artistic ingenuity. It applies quantitative and qualitative research to the creative process. It is the marriage of analysis and imagination, of marketing professional and artist." (Advertising Educational Foundation, 2013)
An agency is a great setting for an intern or entry-level professional to learn about the business of advertising. Agencies thrive on creative work and can provide a more informal working environment. Agency professionals manage a variety of accounts with multiple clients, brands, or services. Be prepared to multitask; agencies will work on many projects at once to meet client deadlines, and it’s not uncommon for creatives to work more than 40 hours per week. Agency-side experience is more focused on creativity than ad marketing and can be unpredictable in terms of job security.
The client-side (sometimes called “in-house”) is just as busy, but with a more manageable work-life balance. Teams are collaborative and often specialize in a particular area of an industry. The environment is more corporate than agency life with greater opportunities for mentorship and professional development because job activity and schedules are predictable. There can be pressure to exceed stakeholder expectations and produce outcomes. It is important to note that the client-side experience is more focused on marketing and branding (business) than advertising.
Manage the team, develop strategy and marketing plans for client, manage client budget, and serve as liaison between client and agency.
Entry-Level Positions: Account Manager, Advertising Sales Coordinator, Assistant Account Manager
Partner with Account Manager to manage a team, manage project schedules, and estimate and coordinate the flow of projects. Interface with internal agency team.
Entry-Level Positions: Project Manager
Develop plans and research the media strategy; meet with media reps from various sites, traffic all complete creative to media sites.
Entry-Level Positions: Media Planner, Assistant Media Planner, Media Buyer
Responsible for creative direction and copy for ads and presenting ideas and campaign to the client.
Entry-Level Positions: Art Director, Copywriter, Junior Copywriter, Assistant Art Director
Responsible for designing and creating all digital components of a campaign: website, banner ads, direct mail, and flash animation.
Entry-Level Positions: Developer, Interactive Designer
Review every product that leaves the agency including the copy and the website.
Entry-Level Positions: Quality Assurance, Technical QA
Research and Analytics
Responsible for research regarding consumer trends and behaviors. Review and report metrics data.
Entry-Level Positions: Account Planner, Assistant Research Executive, Research Analyst, Strategist
- Firsthand’s Guide to Advertising and Marketing Jobs page (you will need to create an account using your Colgate email address to view this content).
- Advertising Educational Foundation provides educational content to enrich the understanding of advertising and its role in culture, society, and the economy
Prepare for Jobs and Internships
Information, tips, and strategies to help prepare you as an undergraduate.
Get an Internship
Agency employers often use internship programs to recruit permanent hires. A student internship allows you to develop firsthand knowledge of the business and is a highly valued experience by hiring managers. Check industry resources for internship programs in the summer or throughout the year.
Advertising is a business that is built on personal and professional connections. Make it a priority to attend on-campus information sessions, Career Services' career events, and informational interviewing with Colgate alumni to learn about the industry and agency life. Intentional networking with friends, family members, alumni, and faculty can lead to securing an opportunity. Lastly, consider looking for non-paid opportunities that can offer direct experiences, and create a profile on LinkedIn.
Think about what makes you interesting as a candidate and demonstrate your value on a résumé, cover letter, social media pages, and in an interview. Agencies are looking to hire unique candidates who can sell themselves and their skills.
- Leadership and initiative
- Communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Analytical skills
- Social media competency and awareness
- Enthusiasm and high-energy
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Commercial awareness
- Research skills
- Technical and software skills (e.g., Microsoft Word, Coding, HTML, Adobe Creative Suite)
A paid announcement placed across broadcast, print, and online platforms (e.g., newspapers and magazines, websites, radio and television broadcast, films, and billboards).
Space on a webpage that shows the arrangement and appearance of an ad.
The text/written components within ad message that supports the ad graphic design.
A meeting with a potential client by agency staff (i.e., an Account Manager and/or Creative) to share their ideas for a brand, service, or product.
Ad agencies help clients produce and position advertisements.
Government agencies, educational institutions, businesses, and non-profit organizations that buy and receive services from an agency and/or operate internally to produce and market their own advertisements and branded materials.
Courses to consider:
- ARTS 201, Digital Studio I
- ARTS 302, Digital Studio
- POSC 345, Media & Politics
- SOAN 222, Media & Modern Society
- SOAN 375, Anthropology of Media
- WRIT 222, Narrative in New Media
- WRIT 102, Intro to Rhetoric
- WRIT 115, Public Speaking
- WRIT 210, The Rhetoric of Style
Additional courses for creatives:
- ART211, Drawing I
- ART231, Painting I
- ART251, Printmaking I
- ART241, Photography I
- ART284, ART284, History and Theory of Photography
- ART242, Digital Photography I
- COSC122, Intro to Computer Graphics & Animation
- COSC420, Programming Languages
Knowledge of industry news can give you a sense of the culture and make you a better interview candidate.
Firsthand is a platform that offers resources for your specific career path, including job search tips, opportunities, and information on employers within your industry of choice. Simply log in with LinkedIn or create an account using your Colgate email address.
These organizations can be great places to make connections, learn more about the field, and search openings. Many have discounted student memberships.
- American Association of Advertising Agencies 4A’s: Provide best practices, governance, business standards, ethics, and professional development for advertising agencies.
- American Marketing Association AMA: Dedicated to the professional advancement of Marketing Professionals.
- American Advertising Federation AAF: Offers educational programs for industry professionals.
- Advertising Research Foundation ARF: Maintains programming and publications on advertising, marketing, and media research.
- New York Women in Communications Foundation: NYWICI
- Ad Club: Trade association for advertising and marketing.
- She Runs It: Women’s association in the communications industry.
***A comprehensive resource to review other professional associations: Advertising Education Foundation.
Advice from alumni who work in this industry.
Julia Smaldone ’16
Current Title and Organization: Associate Strategist, The Media Kitchen
Major at Colgate: History
What is it that you currently do? What are your major responsibilities?
As an Associate Strategist, I work to plan and execute the digital advertising campaigns for my client. I work directly with the client and the rest of my team to determine how to best tell the brand's story and achieve the primary objectives of the campaign.
- Conduct market research to understand which publisher sites are most effective in reaching the brand's target audience (i.e. New York Times, Buzzfeed, etc.):
- Work directly and negotiate with publishers to include brand as part of the site's advertising set
- Develop recommendations of suggested media placements and budget levels across different channels (Social, Video, Display) for client's approval
- Upon client approval, technically implement creative assets across all sites in a given campaign
- Monitor campaign performance and manage budget levels across all channels
What was your first position out of Colgate and what did you do in that role?
Assistant Media Planner at Neo@Ogilvy. That role was similar to the role I have now; it was also in the field of digital media, just for a different client at a different agency.
How can students prepare themselves while at Colgate to work in your field?
Focus on your research, writing, and communication skills. One of the most important parts of my job is being able to effectively communicate the needs of my client to publishers and work to serve the brand's best interests at all times. Research is important in maintaining a holistic understanding of the media landscape and staying up to date with the most innovative technologies and how they can be utilized to achieve your brand's goals. While many people in the ad industry come from schools where you can major in marketing or communications, Colgate prepares you by allowing you to develop critical and analytical thinking skills that will help you think outside the box and creatively solve problems for your client.
What extracurricular activities, associated with your profession or not, were you involved with while at Colgate?
Running Club, Sidekicks, Let's Get Ready, and Gamma Phi Beta
Lauren Casella ’16, senior analyst, Marketing Sciences, R/GA; Daniel Berry ’17, associate, crisis and corporate issues, Weber Shandwick; Miriam Charry ’16, account executive, Wieden + Kennedy
The recruitment cycle of a typical hiring process for advertising jobs and internships begins in January and terminates in June. It is important to note that some agencies may hire interns earlier within the academic year, particularly from November to February.
Off-Campus Recruiting Consortia
Career and Internship Connections (CIC) is a great way to connect with employers for internships and jobs during winter break. CIC events take place in Los Angles, Boston, New York and Washington D.C. Potential candidates are encouraged to prepare in advance of CIC deadlines by partnering with Career Services.
Past CIC Media, Communications & Entertainment Employers (entry-level positions and internships):
- Arnold Worldwide
- Captivate Network
- Cone Communications
- Greater Media Boston
- Hill Holiday
- Katz Media Group Inc.
- Publicis Healthcare Communications Group
- The Veloz Group
Firsthand.com has a variety of Advertising Company rankings by practice area as well as other criteria like prestige, work/life balance and diversity: Firsthand: Log in > Research Companies > Best Advertising Companies (you will need to create an account using your Colgate e-mail address to view this content).
Colgate Handshake Opportunities
Check Colgate Handshake, Colgate's internship and job database, for opportunities that may interest you in this field.
Connect to Careers
Latest stories about internships, workshops, professional networks, and more.