Careers in Advertising & Public Relations

Do you enjoy creating a buzz about products and services? If so, careers in advertising and public relations or promotions might be right up your alley. Careers in this diverse field may include copywriters; art directors; or advertising, marketing, and promotions managers. All involve promoting and selling exciting new products! Naturally, the backgrounds, strengths, and interests required for different advertising careers may vary. If you’re planning to prepare for a new professional goal, it’s important to understand what may be expected of you in the role you choose to go after. Let’s take a look at some of your potential options!   

The Advertising & Public Relations industry focuses on the relationship between a product/service and the public. It involves influencing the public’s perception of a product through the use of media, advertisements, and campaigns. Examples of jobs include Media Directors, Copy Writers, Product Promoters, and Graphic Designers. This industry is a sub-sector of the Professional & Business Services industry.

What are some careers in advertising and public relations?

Most entry-level professional and managerial positions in advertising and public relations services require, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree, with broad liberal arts exposure. Experienced applicants who possess a master’s degree may fill research positions. Marketing Research is an important, yet underrated, component to both advertising and public relations. Those who excel in this area usually have a background in marketing or statistics and years of experience. In public relations, employers prefer applicants with degrees in communications, journalism, English, business, or public relations.[iii]

Advertising Manager – These professionals typically oversee many key players as they manage clients’ advertising campaigns. For example, they may work with the creative department to come up with ad ideas, as well as the financial department to put together a budget. Some advertising managers, called media managers, may focus on advertising through particular media like television, radio, and magazines. Ad managers usually work for ad agencies, media firms, or other organizations. [iii]

Promotions Manager – Usually, promotions managers are in charge of increasing sales by using both promotions and advertising. For example, they may design incentives like contests, discounts, and rebates. Other strategies include newspaper ads, in-store displays, coupons, special events, and more. The goal is usually to drive traffic to a store or get customers interested in a product or service! [iii]

Marketing Manager – Marketing managers are typically in charge of identifying potential buyers for a product or service. That may mean watching the competition, predicting product demand, and figuring out product pricing that makes the most profit. They may even watch trends to plan new products or services not yet on the market! [iii]

Copywriters – You can blame copywriters for catchy jingles that get stuck in your head! These creative professions write content that helps to promote services and goods. For example, they might come up with a great new slogan for a company or product. Or, they could write a memorable advertisement that gets people talking about a cool new product. [iv]

Art Director – When an ad campaign is created, art directors are in charge of all the visuals. They may oversee artists and graphic designers to make sure the public sees clients’ messages in the best possible light. Besides deciding what art, photos, and other visuals to use in an ad, art directors may be responsible for budgets, timelines, and other important stuff! [iv]

Public Relations Specialist – Sometimes called communications specialists or media specialists, these professionals are in charge of a company or client’s public image. That may mean writing speeches and press releases or responding to the media. Raising public awareness may also be part of the job. In the government, PR specialists are often known as press secretaries. [iv]

What degree do I need to pursue a career in advertising?

Different advertising and public relations careers may have different requirements when it comes to education. It’s up to you to learn what knowledge and skills you may need! For example, art directors usually need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in art or design, as well as some work experience in their field. Some may even earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree[v]. Copywriters may need to earn a bachelor’s degree too. They usually study English, journalism, or communications. [vi]

Advertising, marketing, and promotions managers usually earn a bachelor’s degree, but the area of study may vary! For example, marketing managers may work with a lot of data and numbers. Therefore, courses in economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics are typical. For adverting managers, on the other hand, earning a bachelor’s degree in advertising or journalism may be preferred. Consumer behavior, market research, sales, art history, and photography are just a few of the courses an advertising major might take in college. [vii]

Are careers in public relations and advertising a good fit for me?

That depends on your personality, strengths, and career goals! Fortunately, the field of advertising and public relations has room for many different roles. Public relations specialists, for example, may need qualities like great interpersonal skills and the ability to write and speak effectively[viii]. Advertising managers, on the other hand, often need creativity, analytical skills, and the ability to make decisions.[ix] You are probably interested in careers in advertising because you want to influence tastes and raise public awareness. You may have a few options…but knowing what you’re best at could help you decide which of these exciting career paths to pursue!

  • The mean yearly earning for all full time workers in this industry is $67,220. Within the Management sector of the industry, which is where you will find the typical advertising manager positions, the mean earnings is $149,500. [ii]
  • Other than Chief and other executives, the jobs within this industry that have the highest mean wage are Operations Managers, Marketing Managers, Training and Development Managers, and Sales Managers, in that order. [ii]
  • US News and World Report ranked at least two careers from the Advertising & Public relations industry among their top 100 Best Jobs because of a rapidly growing industry and projected job growth through 2022.
  • 68 percent of all advertising and public relations establishments employ fewer than 5 employees; and about 74% of these workers are between the ages of  25 and 54[i]
  • Competition for entry-level. public relations jobs is high. Gaining practical experience through internships, for example, is strongly encouraged. 
  • A lobbyist is a special type of public relations practitioner, whose job is to influence legislators in favor of the clients’ special

Sources: [i] | [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii] [viii] [ix] [ix] [ix]