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Advertising, marketing & PR Career Pathways & Advice

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Overview

Those working in advertising, marketing and Public Relations (PR) are responsible for how we see the world, shaping our views on a huge amount of issues. Professionals spend their days elevating brands and spreading their positive messages far and wide - it's a popular sector, and one that lots of graduates find themselves working in.

Jobs in this area are fast-paced and creative, with staff constantly needing to come up with new ideas and think on their feet. Expect hours to be long and often unsocial, but huge gratification to come when you win a big pitch or when a campaign that you have spent weeks or months planning comes together successfully.

In this industry you might work within an organisation, strategising for and organising in-house events or campaigns, or you might work for an agency, organising campaigns or strategies for clients – including both companies and individuals.

In general, and especially in big companies or agencies, you are likely to work within a team that includes events assistants, designers, strategists, copywriters and other staff members. Your team will work together to ensure that all aspects of the campaign are aligned, and that they all come together seamlessly.

The roles within this sector vary hugely – if you work as an events manager for a local venue, for example, your job is likely to be centred in this specific location. If you work for an international advertising agency, however, your job could involve international travel and meeting and pitching to stakeholders across the globe.

Skills

Being personable and able to talk to people, and build relationships easily is a very important part of this industry. Different roles require many different skills, but in general those working within advertising, marketing or PR need the below to succeed.

- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Attention to detail
- Communication
- Creativity
- Research skills
- Teamwork
- Time Management
- Verbal Communication

Progression opportunities

Career progression in the advertising, marketing and PR world is laid out quite distinctly, meaning you’ll always be aware of the next step to aspire to. Although it may change slightly across different companies, the general structure is as follows:

Assistant
Executive
Senior executive
Manager
Senior manager
Director


Expect to stay in each of these roles at least a couple of years before being given the opportunity to prove yourself and move up.

Career development

There are a large number of organisations that can offer professional qualifications in marketing, advertising and PR. You can use Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses to firm up or update your knowledge, and to increase your chances of promotion or of moving to a role within a different company. One key body that offers CPD courses is the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Types of jobs in Advertising, marketing & PR

Earning potential

Because there are so many jobs at so many different levels within this industry, you will find a huge variance in salaries.

When starting out in the industry your salary is likely to be modest, but due to the responsibilities placed upon you and the level of organisation and skill required, as you progress you could see your pay cheque increase quickly.

Advertising, marketing and PR salaries vary hugely with experience and depending on the size and sector of the company that you are working in. Entertainment PRs are likely to be paid less than those organising campaigns and brand messages for corporate clients within the finance sector, for example.

Average salaries , according to Pay Scale, are:

Marketing executive - £23,172
Marketing coordinator - £21,918
Marketing manager (entry level) - £29,229
Marketing manager - £32,907
Senior marketing manager - £48,407
Events Coordinator - £19,600
Events Manager - £25,846
Advertising account executive - £19,999
Advertising account manager- £26,636
Advertising account director - £43,927
Art director - £36,064
Senior graphic designer - £34,661
Advertising manager - £36,194
Copywriter - £23,497
Senior copywriter - £39,001
PR executive - £20,397
PR account manager - £26,700
PR manager - £33,608
PR account director - £44,946

Related Companies

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Qualification requirements & subjects to study

Graduates from all degree backgrounds can progress in to a career within the advertising, marketing or PR sectors.

Postgraduate study is not essential but, in the extremely competitive jobs market, a postgraduate qualification can put you at an advantage.

Graduates from the following disciplines are ideally suited to working in this sector:

  • English

  • History

  • Social sciences

  • Business

  • Events

  • Fashion

  • Marketing

  • Communications

How to get there

Experience is essential for getting a job in advertising, marketing or PR. Even with the right qualifications employers will expect to see a portfolio of work and evidence that you have actively sought out experience with companies or agencies.

Most advertising, marketing or PR agencies offer work placements to young people - contact the biggest companies directly, detailing your plans and background and asking if they have placements on offer.

Alternatively, companies will advertise the opportunities they have available for Work Placements through a jobs board, such as TheBigChoice.

If you do a sandwich year as part of your degree – which you are likely to do if your degree is in the marketing or advertising field – you should find a job that will last for the duration and will give you a taste of the industry. If you can focus this job towards the specific career you want, this will be hugely beneficial afterwards.

When you apply, companies are likely to ask for a 2.1 whilst also measuring your organisational aptitude, attention to detail and creativity.

You may be able to apply for advertising, marketing or PR graduate schemes within large organisations, which will last around two years. There is also a huge number of entry-level graduate roles available in this sector.

Further Reading

Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
Institute of Promotional Marketing
The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing
Marketing Agencies Association (MAA)
Public Relations and Communications Association
Market Research Society (MRS)

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