From the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Career Guide to Industries
Employees in advertising and public relations services should have good people skills, common sense, creativity, communication skills, and problem-solving ability. Foreign language skills have always been important for those wanting to work abroad for domestic firms or to represent foreign firms domestically. However, these skills are increasingly vital to reach linguistic minorities in U.S. cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, and Phoenix. New media, such as the Internet, are creating opportunities to market products, but also are increasing the need for additional training for those already employed. Keeping pace with technology is fundamental to success in the industry. In addition, advertisers must keep in tune with the changing values, cultures, and fashions of the Nation.
Most entry-level professional and managerial positions in advertising and public relations services require a bachelor’s degree, preferably with broad liberal arts exposure.
Beginners in advertising usually enter the industry in the account management or media department. Occasionally, entry-level positions are available in the market research or creative departments of an agency, but these positions usually require some experience. Completing an advertising-related internship while in school provides an advantage when applying for an entry-level position; in fact, internships are becoming a necessary step to obtaining permanent employment. In addition to an internship, courses in marketing, psychology, accounting, statistics, and creative design can help prepare potential entrants for careers in this field.
Assistant account executive positions—the entry-level account management occupation in most firms—require a bachelor’s degree in marketing or advertising, although some firms require a master’s degree in business administration.
Bachelor’s degrees are not required for entry-level positions in the creative department. Assistant art directors usually need at least a 2-year degree from an art or design school. Although assistant copywriters do not need a degree, obtaining one helps to develop the superior communication skills and abilities required for this job.
Assistant media planner or assistant media buyer also are good entry-level positions, but almost always require a bachelor’s degree, preferably with a major in marketing or advertising. Experienced applicants who possess at least a master’s degree usually fill research positions. Often, they have a background in marketing or statistics and years of experience. Requirements for support services and administrative positions depend on the job and vary from firm to firm.
In public relations, employers prefer applicants with degrees in communications, journalism, English, or business. Some 4-year colleges and universities have begun to offer a concentration in public relations. Because there is keen competition for entry-level public relations jobs, workers are encouraged to gain experience through internships, co-op programs, or one of the formal public relations programs offered across the country. However, these programs are not available everywhere, so most public relations workers get the bulk of their training on the job. At some firms, this training consists of formal classroom education but, in most cases, workers train under the guidance of senior account executives or other experienced workers, gradually familiarizing themselves with public relations work. Entry-level workers often start as research or account assistants and may be promoted to account executive, account supervisor, vice president, and executive vice president.
For information about careers or training, contact:
American Association of Advertising Agencies, 405 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10174. Internet: http://www.aaaa.org
American Advertising Federation, 1101 Vermont Ave. NW., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. Internet: http://www.aaf.org
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