Please be informed that the IPA offices will be closed Friday 4th August.
We will respond to you as soon as we return on Monday 7th August.

Am I suited to a career in advertising?

General guidance on whether you may be suited to a career in our industry including sections on what the agency recruiter looks for and the IPA's Diagonal Thinking self assessment test, measuring linear and lateral thinking.

Am I suited Advert courtesy of Lolaleelo

Getting into advertising is a very competitive process. Knowing what makes a good advertising practitioner is an important place to start when assessing how well suited you are to the industry and later, when putting your CV together, in applying for a job. Here Andrew McGuinness, partner of Beattie McGuinness Bungay , gives his top tips on what it takes to make it in the advertising industry:

“First and foremost, you need to have a genuine passion for advertising. It may be a cliché but if you don't believe in what you do you'll find it much harder to succeed. And passionate people breathe enthusiasm.

You need to be a team player. No advertising campaign is developed from brief to final execution by one person. Being able to form strong working relationships is essential.

You'll also need to be extremely tenacious - working in advertising isn't just about large expense accounts and long lunches.

Whatever role you end up going for, good analytical skills and the ability to communicate your ideas convincingly will be vital. You'll also need to be extremely organised as the pace can get pretty frantic. Don't expect to be molly-coddled because you'll have to hit the ground running and show a healthy amount of nous and initiative.”


What the agency recruiter looks for

Am I suited Advert

So, you think you are the next big thing but how do you convince an agency of that? What are the agencies really looking for in their employees?  Liz Nottingham, HR Director at  Starcom MediaVest  sheds some light on the selection process and what she’s looking for in the grads she interviews:

"The agency recruiter will generally look for someone with a degree, yet this can be in almost any area. The industry tends to recruit from a broad base of degree subjects in order to achieve diversity of thinking and ideas. For example, some of the best newcomers to the industry last year studied subjects as diverse as law, Russian & French, politics, pharmacology and history, to name but a few.

It is important to have good numeracy, literacy and IT skills whilst at the same time possessing strong interpersonal relationship skills – this is a people focused industry.

Agencies also look for individuals to have an interest in what makes people ‘tick’ and for them to be self confident but at the same time possess the ability to be self questioning. Equally important is having a passion for advertising and being able to convey that passion.

These attributes coupled with energy, tenacity and integrity should stand you in good stead in the world of advertising. Employers are also looking for individuals who are diagonal thinkers’– people who think creatively but commercially. "


What’s in it for me?
Working in advertising allows you the opportunity to embark on a great career in an industry with clout. There is tremendous variety within the industry and great job satisfaction.  You acquire some of the most sought-after transferable skills in marketing and communications.  You will network with agencies, clients, suppliers, media owners and consultants, which provides a plethora of future opportunities.  Advertising is a meritocratic industry and quick promotion can be guaranteed for those who shine.  You will work in a close knit community, especially in London and opportunities exist to move around within the industry.


Diagonal Thinking
Diagonal Thinking is a term used to describe the ability to oscillate between linear and lateral thinking when approaching a problem – a key characteristic found in the most successful advertising practitioners. The IPA has a self assessment tool that you can take to test whether you are a ‘Diagonal Thinker’.  Not only do the results indicate how well suited you could be to a career in advertising, but the certificate gained on completion of the self assessment is a valuable tool when applying for a job in the industry. Students can take the certificate to potential employers to enhance their application. Take the Diagonal Thinking test  or get further details here.

Advertising Unlocked 

Whether you’re looking for an apprenticeship, a graduate job, returning to work or changing careers, Advertising Unlocked is an open day for anyone curious about a job in the world of advertising.

Click on the banner below to find out more #AdUnlocked

advertising unlocked banner

Last updated 09/08/2017

Contact the IPA

ABCe audit Offical Webby Awards Honoree (2011, 2013)

Website, membership and content management software by Senior
Creative design by Igentics

The IPA
© 2018 IPA. All rights reserved. No part of this
site may be reproduced without our permission.