If your lecturers are anything like me, they will be sending you updates and reminders on all the ad agency grad schemes as they appear. To get you started here are four options you might want to think about:
1. The grad scheme
Graduate schemes are a good way to get your foot in the door. Most of the large agency networks have schemes and now is the time to start applying for 2016 places.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) have just launched a new AdMission site which lists all those agency members that have graduate schemes and provide links to each agency’s grad scheme page. You will find details of how to apply and the closing dates for each agency.
It goes without saying that the schemes are highly competitive and you may be asked to apply some creativity into your applications. Last year one scheme asked applicants to apply with a tweet.
2. Agency internships
Internships are another route into the business. Internships are an excellent way of getting industry experience and making contacts.
These also allow you to get a better feel for the type of agency you would like to work in and the type of accounts that you might want to work on in the future.
Again the IPA provides some useful links to those agencies that offer internships.
3. Current vacancies
Graduate schemes and internships are not the only way to get into advertising though. Some agencies don’t have formal grad schemes but are equally keen to recruit graduate talent. One of the best places to search for advertising opportunities is Campaign Jobs. There always seem to be a good range of entry-level advertising jobs on the site and it is worth checking regularly for new postings.
Recent opportunities have included openings for graduates in creative, experiential, branding and media planning, and buying agencies. It all goes to show that there are still lots of opportunities for graduates who want to work in an agency.
Also look for job opportunities in Campaign magazine and other industry websites.
4. The direct approach
You don’t have to wait for an opportunity to be advertised. If you’ve seen an agency you would really like to work for – write to them and tell them why. Who knows, you may just impress someone enough to get them to create an opportunity for you.
If you are successful in being invited in for an interview, make sure you read up on the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’s’ in an interview. Again Brand Republic Jobs and IPA have some great tips to help you here. You will only get one chance to make a good first impression.
Remember - getting into any career takes perseverance. Don’t be put off if you don’t get shortlisted for an interview on your first few applications. Just keep applying!
Dr Sarah Turnbull is a senior lecturer in marketing, University of Portsmouth