How To Break Into Advertising: 4 Career Paths

Posted March 8, 2012, by Aziza Green

They're everywhere you look. 

On highway billboards…

In your monthly magazines…

As you scroll through your Instagram feed…

Right before you watch anything on YouTube…

and punctuating your favourite TV shows.

Advertisements are a part of our daily lives and constitute one of the most competitive and exciting industries around. For many people, working in advertising means having influence, while for others it’s all about innovation, ideas and creativity – and fun.

The best agencies in the business are full of talented people who prioritise excellence and constantly challenge and shape the advertising landscape. If you want to join the ranks of Australia’s greatest advertisers, you need to have expertise, an infatuation with ideas and lashings of creativity. Good advertising gets your attention; great advertising makes you want to go out and buy the product.

Rebecca Carrasco, a creative director at Clemenger BBDO Sydney, says the two most important things you can do to advance your career in advertising are to ‘Consistently generate work that will help your clients sell their products. And win creative awards for big ideas. The people who can achieve both with the same work will go the furthest’.

Having ambition and a strong work ethic are essential, as are direction and focus in order to really excel.

There are various roles you could pursue in advertising, all of which are equally important and stimulating. Here are a few routes you could take into the mad world of advertising agencies.


Creatives are generally the rock stars of the operation, and this is what most people aspire to – but competition is stiff, so you have to be good. Really good. The team is usually made up of art directors (often with graphic design and fine arts backgrounds) and copywriters. The main work of the creative team is to generate the ‘big idea’ for print ads, TV commercials, radio ads, outdoor advertising and digital media.

Account management

Account managers are the main ad agency contact point for clients. They obtain the brief from the client and work with the creative team to develop the marketing strategy to present to the client. In some agencies they also oversee production of the finished product to ensure that it meets the client’s specifications.

Strategic planning

Strategic planners are responsible for research into anything that might help the creative team make more effective, relevant ads. Research is important because it helps agencies keep in tune with their consumers’ wants and needs. Planners structure and analyse their findings to help keep campaigns on target, and provide the creative team with a platform on which to brainstorm new advertising concepts.


This is where the planning and ideas are executed to produce the final product – the advertisement. Production managers work with printers, film houses and media to ensure that all ads are delivered to brief and on schedule.

Studio production includes layout artists and desktop publishers who follow the creative team’s specifications to produce print ads. Print production managers oversee the production process and ensure that the print ads are accurate and of high quality.

TV and radio production professionals manage all aspects of producing TV and radio ads, such as filming, recording, editing and delivering the final commercial.

If you’re sold on a career in advertising, here's how to get a job in the industry!

Aziza Green

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