Why Should I Go Into Advertising?

"I think it’s smart to choose a career which is going to provide me with reliable work. The recession never really has gone away. More people are getting jobs, but they don’t pay well. I was thinking about things which are always needed, and I thought that people always need help getting other people to buy their stuff. So that got me wondering about advertising. Is this a good career? Why become an advertiser? Everybody hates advertisers, don’t they?"

asked by Sam from Dallas, TX

A lot of people do seem to have fun insulting advertisers, but the reality is that they are an essential part of our economy. As you said yourself, without them, nobody would be able to tell others about products and services. And while nobody likes annoying unsolicited advertising, advertising which provides real value does everybody a favor. Companies need to find the people who will appreciate their products, and consumers enjoy finding companies that they love to patron. As an advertiser, it is up to you to bridge that gap and bring everybody together.

Advertising jobs are actually not as common as you would think, though. The field is growing at about an average rate, which is not bad by itself, but there is also a huge amount of competition. Standing out from your competitors to land a great advertising job is actually quite difficult. The pay however is pretty good, and varies depending on what type of job you get in the field. The lowest median annual salary according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for advertising goes to graphic designers. They make around $43,500, which is still a comfortable living wage. The highest annual salary is $98,530, which goes out to sales managers.

Beyond the pay and the vital importance of the job, what are some other reasons to go into advertising? Advertising gives you a chance to exercise your creativity for a practical purpose. A lot of artists find work more easily in advertising than they do in fine art. Unconventional thinking is often prized in advertising, especially if it leads to a huge boost in sales. Many advertising workplaces have a laid-back dress code, and can be very enjoyable places to work. You’ll also be involved in pop culture, which can be a lot of fun.

How do you get into the field? If your college offers a degree in advertising, that would be your first choice. The more specific your training, the more relevant it will be, and the more competitive you will be. If not, consider a degree in Communication or in English. Also important is to hone your skills on your own time and start developing a portfolio. Your portfolio will be as important as your degree when it comes time to search for a job. Look for creative ways to exhibit your skills, and consider a video resume. This is one of the few fields where one actually makes sense. If you are a creative and unconventional thinker who loves popular culture, advertising may be the perfect job for you!

Career Spotlight: Advertising Manager

Advertising Manager

Advertising Manager

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