Land a Job in Advertising: 5 Practical Steps
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Research the industry and potential roles
  2. Build a portfolio that shows your skills
  3. Network with industry professionals
  4. Apply for advertising jobs
  5. Prepare for and nail the interview

Stepping into the world of advertising can seem like a daunting venture, especially if you're starting from scratch. But don't worry! Even with zero experience, you can still make your mark. Here's a practical guide on how to get a job in advertising with no experience. We'll walk you through five simple steps that offer a clear path to landing your dream advertising job.

Research the Industry and Potential Roles

Before you jump headfirst into the job hunt, take some time to become familiar with the advertising landscape. Understanding the industry as a whole and the roles available to you can make the process of getting a job in advertising much smoother.

Understanding the Advertising Industry

Contrary to popular belief, the advertising industry is not just about creating catchy slogans or flashy billboards. It's a vast field that includes everything from market research to creative design, and even digital marketing. To get a job in advertising with no experience:

  • Read up on the industry: There are plenty of resources available online that can give you a basic understanding of the industry landscape. Look for articles, blog posts, and reports that cover current trends and future predictions.
  • Stay updated with news: Keeping abreast of the latest news can give you a sense of the industry's pulse. Websites like AdAge and Campaign offer daily updates and insights into the world of advertising.

Exploring Potential Roles

Once you have a broad understanding of the advertising industry, it's time to explore the different roles within it. Here are some steps to help you discover which advertising job suits you best:

  1. Identify your strengths: Are you a creative thinker, or do you excel at crunching numbers? Your skills and interests can help determine which roles might be a good fit for you.
  2. Research roles: Look into the roles that align with your strengths. For example, if you're a good writer, copywriting might be a good fit. If you're more analytical, you might enjoy a role in market research.
  3. Understand job descriptions: Reading job descriptions for different roles can give you an idea of what employers are looking for. This can help you tailor your portfolio and applications to what hiring managers want to see.

To summarise, thoroughly researching the industry and potential roles can set you up for success as you navigate how to get a job in advertising with no experience.

Build a Portfolio That Shows Your Skills

Once you've got a handle on the industry and identified potential roles, the next step in your journey to land a job in advertising is to build a portfolio that shows off your skills. Even if you don't have direct experience, you can create a compelling portfolio that showcases your creativity, dedication, and potential.

Starting Your Portfolio

Wondering where to start? Here are a few steps to get you going:

  • Create your own projects: Don't wait for someone else to give you an assignment. If you're interested in copywriting, write some ad copy for a fictitious company, or rework an existing ad. If you're into graphic design, create a logo or a mock-up ad.
  • Document your process: Don’t just show the end product—show how you got there. This gives potential employers insight into your thought process and problem-solving skills, which are just as important as the final product.

Refining Your Portfolio

Once you've got some work under your belt, it's time to refine and organize your portfolio:

  1. Choose quality over quantity: It's better to have a few well-executed projects than a slew of mediocre ones. Choose your best work that showcases your skills and creativity.
  2. Organize logically: Make sure your portfolio is easy to navigate. You might want to group projects by type (print, digital, etc.), by role (copywriting, design, etc.), or even chronologically.
  3. Show versatility: If you have a range of skills, make sure your portfolio reflects that. If you're applying for a specific role, tailor your portfolio to highlight the relevant skills.

Remember, your portfolio is your ticket to showing potential employers what you're capable of. Spend time on it and keep refining it as you learn and grow. That's one major step forward on how to get a job in advertising with no experience.

Network with Industry Professionals

It's not just about what you know, but who you know. Networking can be a powerful tool in helping you land a job in advertising, especially if you're starting with little to no experience. Here's how to build and leverage your professional network:

Building Your Network

Networking may sound scary, but it's really just about making connections. Here are some ways to start building your network:

  • Join an industry organization: Many cities have advertising or marketing clubs that host events and workshops. Becoming a member can be a great way to meet people in the industry and learn new things.
  • Attend industry events: Conferences, seminars, and workshops are great places to meet professionals in advertising. Don't be shy—strike up conversations and ask questions.
  • Reach out online: LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for connecting with professionals in your desired field. Don't hesitate to reach out to people for informational interviews or just to ask questions.

Leveraging Your Network

Once you've started building your network, it's time to put it to work:

  1. Ask for advice: Most people are flattered when asked for advice and happy to help. This can be a great way to learn more about the industry and specific roles.
  2. Stay in touch: Don't let your connections go cold. Keep in touch with the people you meet, even if it's just a quick email every few months.
  3. Ask for introductions: If someone in your network knows someone else who could help you, ask for an introduction. This can be a great way to expand your network even further.

Remember, networking is a two-way street. Be sure to offer help when you can, and always be respectful and appreciative of others' time. With a solid network behind you, you're one step closer to figuring out how to get a job in advertising with no experience.

Apply for Advertising Jobs

Now that you've done your research, built your portfolio, and networked with industry professionals, it's time to start applying for jobs. Here are some tips to help you find and apply for the right roles:

Finding the Right Roles

Job hunting can be overwhelming, but having a strategy can make it more manageable. Here's how to find the right roles:

  • Use job boards wisely: There are many online job boards that list advertising roles. Use filters to narrow down your search based on your skills and interests.
  • Consider internships and entry-level roles: If you're wondering how to get a job in advertising with no experience, consider starting at the bottom. Internships and entry-level roles can be a great stepping stone.
  • Check company websites: Many companies post job listings directly on their websites. If there's a particular agency you're interested in, check their site regularly for new openings.

Applying for Jobs

Once you've found some roles that interest you, it's time to start applying. Here are some tips:

  1. Customize your application: Don't send the same cover letter and resume to every job. Tailor your application to each specific role, highlighting how your skills and experiences make you a good fit.
  2. Follow application instructions: If a job listing asks for specific information or documents, make sure to include them. This shows that you pay attention to details.
  3. Don't get discouraged: Job hunting can be tough and rejections are part of the process. Don't let them get you down. Keep applying and don't give up!

Applying for jobs can be a daunting task, especially when you're trying to break into a new industry. But with determination and the right approach, you'll be well on your way to landing that first advertising job.

Prepare for and Nail the Interview

So, you've applied for the job, and now you've got an interview. The thought might be as exciting as it is nerve-wracking. But don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your interview and make a great impression:

Before the Interview

Preparation is key when it comes to job interviews. Here's what you need to do:

  • Research the company: Understanding the company's values, culture, and recent campaigns can give you a significant edge. It shows that you're interested and proactive.
  • Review your portfolio: Be ready to talk about your skills and experiences. Know your portfolio inside out and be prepared to discuss any work you have showcased.
  • Practice common interview questions: While every interview is different, some questions are almost always asked. Practice your responses to questions like "Why do you want to work in advertising?" or "How would you handle a challenging client?"

During the Interview

The day has arrived. Here's how to leave a lasting impression:

  1. Be professional: Dress appropriately, arrive on time, and make sure to greet everyone you meet politely.
  2. Communicate effectively: Listen carefully to the interviewer's questions and answer them succinctly. Show them that you're a good communicator - a vital skill in advertising.
  3. Show enthusiasm: Let your passion for advertising shine through. Enthusiasm can be infectious and can set you apart from other candidates.

Remember, an interview is not only for the company to assess you, but also for you to assess the company. Ask questions about the work culture, the team, and growth opportunities. This will show your interest and help you decide if the company is the right fit for you.

Getting a job in advertising with no experience may seem like a daunting task. But with the right preparation and mindset, you can nail that interview and start your advertising career.

If you're eager to land a job in advertising and want to learn more about the practical steps to take, be sure to check out Adrian Valencia's workshop, 'Getting Started and Taking Off as a Creative.' This workshop will guide you through the process of establishing yourself in the advertising industry and help you unlock your creative potential. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from a seasoned professional and get one step closer to your dream job!