How to Start Your Career in Advertising

We’re happy to announce a new Makin’ Ads ebook called How to Start Your Career in Advertising.

Why’d we write it?

As a college student, I wanted to get into advertising. But in retrospect, I really had no clue what that meant. I took an internship at an agency in New York, and ended up in the accounting department.


When I finally realized what the creative department was, I tried a second internship. When the creative director asked to see my work, I handed him a stack of short stories I’d written.

We wrote How to Start Your Career In Advertising for those clueless 20-year-old versions of ourselves. (It’s free to view and to download, because our 20-year-old selves wouldn’t have paid for advice either.)


If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know this stuff. But maybe you have a cousin who’s graduating high school this year. Or the neighborhood kid who mows your lawn. Or a college counselor who put you on the right track and still has a bunch of mass comm floundering in a sea of not knowing the difference between PR, marketing and advertising. Send them a link to the book. It’s no Hey, Whipple, but it’s free, it’s a quick primer, and hopefully, it’ll help a few more good people stumble into this awesome industry.
Disclosure on the design: We had originally opened up the design of this ebook to readers of the blog. However, the submissions we received fell into two categories: 1) not very good, and 2) good, but communication with the designers petered out – which is understandable since all those submissions were from portfolio school students who are busy putting their books together. This version was designed and Illustrated by Copywriters.

The Mentor Effect

Having taught a lot of portfolio school students, I can say that what most junior creatives want – almost more than anything else – is a good industry mentor.

And having worked in advertising agencies for a long time, I can say most junior creatives aren’t really getting what they want.

So several months ago, I started talking to junior creatives, students and creative directors about their expectations of each other. Turns out there are some gaps no one’s really addressing. That’s “The Mentor Gap,” and you can see what I mean in the SlideShare presentation below. And having a good mentor (or being one) is more than just lucking out or being a good person. There are some ramifications for entire agencies. I call that “The Mentor Effect.”


You can read the whole report here, or just watch the intro below. Since these points apply to portfolio school students, junior creatives, CDs and even agency principals, I think it’s worth discussing. So if you like what you read, feel free to tweet it, post it, share it. Thanks.

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