It is always a good idea to try and get work experience if you can. It allows you the opportunity to get a better understanding of the industry and the roles within it before seriously embarking on a career. It also enables you to make some valuable contacts when you do need to secure a permanent job.
Getting work experience
In an ideal world you would target one agency with your CV and they would take you on for a couple of week’s work experience right away. The reality is unfortunately nothing like this. It is likely that you will need to send your CV to a huge number of agencies before you succeed.
Applying to agencies
Our member agency list is a good starting point when working out which agencies to approach for work experience. Having researched who their clients are and which advertising campaigns they have produced, email your CV along with a cover letter to the agencies.
It is a good idea to highlight why you thought a particular advertising campaign that they produced worked, or what you liked about it. You need to ensure that you have personalised the letter to that particular agency. No agency likes to feel as though they are part of a mail merge.
The IPA runs a work experience scheme with member agencies every summer. Ad School is open to graduates and undergraduates in their second or final year. You can apply to join one of three Ad School programmes: creative, account management/planning or search.
Check our jobs page for internships and work experience opportunities with our member agencies. We also tweet each new vacancy from our @IPA_Jobs Twitter feed.
You can also try contacting Pathfinders - a recruitment company that specialises in marketing communications and who help by arranging work placements as well as full time, entry-level roles.
Making your placement a success
Before you start your work experience, it would be a good idea to have a think about what you want to get out of your time at the agency. What you want to know, what you want to see, and what would make your time with the agency a success, are some questions you might like to ask yourself before the big day.
Agency life is fast-paced and dynamic. Be ready for the fact that things invariably change. Sometimes you may end up doing something totally different from what you expected to be doing that day. You may be ready for a meeting only to find that it has been cancelled or moved. This is part and parcel of agency life. Embrace this and adapt – the more flexible you are the better.
For more advice on getting into advertising, media or marketing communications, visit our careers blog AdMISSION.
Last updated 28/01/2013