Become a Director of Advertising: Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a director of advertising. Learn about the job description and duties, and explore the step-by-step process to start a career in advertising. View article »

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  • 0:03 Advertising Director Overview
  • 1:12 Earn a Bachelor's Degree
  • 1:45 Obtain Entry-Level Employment
  • 2:04 Gain Experience
  • 2:22 Network with Other…

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Video Transcript

Advertising Director Overview

Advertising directors oversee employees who prepare promotional ideas and products. They make many of the final decisions on the style and technique of an ad agency's creative work, while also working closely with account managers to ensure the continued satisfaction of clients. Additional tasks include negotiating sales contracts and motivating employees to reach sales goals. This upper-level position can be stressful, particularly when working with strict deadlines.

Advertising directors need interpersonal, writing and speaking, time management, leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. They also must be able to use desktop publishing, spreadsheet, project management, and business analysis software and have the ability to launch, budget, negotiate, and direct ad campaigns. As of May 2015, advertising and promotions managers made a mean annual salary of $113,610, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Advertising, marketing, journalism, or related field
Experience Five years or more of relevant experience
Key Skills Interpersonal, writing and speaking, time management, leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills
Computer/Additional Skills Knowledge of desktop publishing, spreadsheet, project management, and business analysis software; ability to launch, budget, negotiate, and direct ad campaigns
Salary (2015) $113,610 (mean salary for all advertising and promotions managers)

Sources: O*NET OnLine, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Career OneStop, U.S. Department of Labor

Let's look at the steps involved in becoming a director of advertising.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree with an emphasis on advertising, marketing, or journalism typically is needed for an entry-level position in advertising. Coursework in business law, finance, economics, management, sales, communications, and research also might prove beneficial.

Additionally, aspiring advertising directors might choose to participate in an internship program while in school. Internships can provide the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience.

Step 2: Obtain Entry-Level Employment

An entry-level position can provide aspiring advertising directors with the industry experience needed to advance to higher-level positions. Initial skills sought by employers typically include knowledge of business and marketing practices.

Step 3: Gain Experience

A prospective director of advertising needs to become acclimated with the services most ad agencies offer. Moreover, the candidate must have relatively sufficient knowledge of the numerous advertising departments, including creative, media, marketing, and research

Step 4: Network with Other Professionals

Advertising directors looking for new career opportunities can benefit from participating in industry events, workshops, and other programs. Membership in a professional organization also might provide the opportunity to network with other professionals working in the field.

In summary, to become a director of advertising you'll need a bachelor's degree focused on advertising or a related field along with industry knowledge and experience.

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