New Grads: Advertising is Not Mad Men

Gina Deveney
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It's important for new graduates in the advertising field to be realistic about how an advertising firm operates. Shows like AMC's Mad Men often create an image in people's minds as to what life working in the advertising industry will be like. However, it's not the 1960s; Sterling Cooper advertising agency doesn't really exist; and Don Draper won't be your boss. The real world of advertising is not like the show Mad Men, but that doesn't mean that you can't have a fulfilling and rewarding career in the advertising field.


According to the Harvard Business Review blog, conventional advertising agencies are slowly becoming irrelevant. The implementation of crowdsourcing and the radical technology changes over the last decade, the advertising industry has been completely transformed. New graduates must embrace up-and-coming advertising strategies, like mobile advertising, social networking, and Internet marketing techniques, to succeed in the advertising industry.


When you land a job at an advertising firm, you can't expect to walk straight into a luxurious corner office and start working with big-name clients. New graduates who land a job at an advertising firm will most likely land an entry-level position like advertising sales coordinator, junior copywriter, assistant art director, or assistant account manager. As a new graduate working at an advertising firm, your work days may be filled by communicating with clients, assisting copywriters in the development of advertising text, or assisting art directors with print layouts. While the tasks may seem discouraging, entry-level advertising jobs give you the experience and skills you need to work your way up to your dream job.


You shouldn't let the reality of working in an advertising firm deter you from your dreams. All of the changes that have taken place in the advertising industry over the past decade have opened up a multitude of new opportunities for new advertising graduates. As a new graduate, you have the option of working at an advertising agency, but you can also consider freelancing. It's common for companies and advertising agencies to work with a freelance copywriter or freelance graphic designer to create ad campaigns. As a freelancer, you have the freedom to choose the jobs that you want to work on, work from any location you choose, and set your own pay rates. Becoming a freelance copywriter or graphic designer is a good option for new graduates who feel like their ideas are stifled in a traditional work environment.


Whether you want to work at an advertising firm or as a freelancer, it's important that you understand how technology changes have affected the advertising industry. This way, you can implement your skills to build a lucrative career.


(Photo by Kristin Dos Santos CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


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