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Do you have strong communication skills and an ability to think on your feet? Do you thrive in a fast-paced and collaborative environment that values social media and technology, and do you enjoy utilizing sound customer service skills? If so, a career in advertising may be for you.
Headshot of Gracie Rentschler '16 in front of a Nike logo,
The main idea of advertising is to influence consumer behavior, perception, and consumption of a brand, service or product. As an industry, advertising is a fast-paced, high-profile field which plays an important role in developing memorable, yet successful ad campaigns on behalf of clients and businesses. 

“The business of advertising involves marketing objectives and artistic ingenuity. It applies quantitative and qualitative research to the creative process. It is the marriage of analysis and imagination, of marketing professional and artist." (Advertising Educational Foundation, 2013)

Colgate Professional Network

The Marketing, Media, & Communications Network is designed to bring together students and alumni with a shared interest and experience in the communications field.

This network is for anyone interested or working on the creation and delivery of messages, information, and images to a wide variety of audiences via print, electronic, broadcast, and live.

Advertising Advisor

Headshot of Vera Chapman
Read about Vera
Vera first began her career at Colgate University in 2013 as the Associate Director of Career Development and recently transitioned into the role of Career Advisor for Creative Communications and the Arts to allow more time spent directly with students.

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, a study abroad experience at Clemson University led her to the University of Mississippi, where she pursued advanced degrees in counseling and higher education. After becoming a licensed professional counselor in Mississippi, Vera served as a career planning specialist and adjunct professor at the same institution. Vera is passionate about empowering others to become the most extraordinary version of themselves— something she accomplishes through blogging and other creative ventures. Vera is joined in Hamilton by her husband, David Chapman, who currently serves as the head coach of the Colgate rugby football club, and their two young children, Grayson and Ivey.


Call 315-228-7380 for an advising appointment.

Explore Careers

Industry Areas
An agency is a great setting for an entry-level professional or an intern to learn a lot about the business of advertising. Agencies thrive on creative work and oftentimes can provide a more informal working environment. Agency professionals have the opportunity to manage a variety of accounts with multiple clients, brands or services. Be prepared to multitask as agencies often work on many projects simultaneously to meet client deadlines. It is not uncommon for creatives at agencies to work 40-70 hours per week. It is important to note that the agency-side experience is more focused on creativity than ad marketing and can be unpredictable in terms of job security.

The client-side (sometimes called ‘In-house’) is just as busy, yet manageable with respect to work-life balance. Teams are much more collaborative and, oftentimes, are specialized in a particular area or function of a single industry. The environment is more corporate than agency life with greater opportunities for mentorship and professional development because job activity and schedules are predictable. However, there is added pressure to exceed stakeholder expectations and produce outcomes. It is important to note that the client-side experience is more focused on marketing and branding (business) than advertising.
Advertising Functions
Account Management: Manage the team, develop strategy and marketing plans for client, manages client budget, and serve as liaison between client and agency.
  • Entry-Level Positions: Account Manager, Advertising Sales Coordinator, Assistant Account Manager
Project Management: Partner with Account Manager to manage team, manage project schedules, and estimate and coordinate the flow of projects. Interface with internal agency team.
  • Entry-Level Positions: Project Manager
Media: Develop plans and research the media strategy; meet with media reps from various sites, traffic all complete creative to media sites.
  • Entry-Level Positions: Media Planners, Assistant Mexia Planner, Media Buyers
Creative: Responsible for creative direction and copy for ads and presenting ideas and campaign to client.
  • Entry-Level Positions: Art Director, Copywriter, Junior Copywriter, Assistant Art Director
Interactive: Responsible for designing and creating all digital components of a campaign: website, banner ads, direct mail, and flash animation.
  • Entry-Level Positions: Developer, Interactive Designer
Quality Assurance: Review every product that leaves the agency including the copy and the website.
  • Entry-Level Positions: Quality Assurance, Technical QA
Research and Analytics: Responsible for research regarding consumer trends and behaviors. Review and report metrics data.
  • Entry-Level Positions: Account Planner, Assistant Research Executive, Research Analyst, Strategist
Resources for Further Exploration

Prepare for Jobs and Internships

Information, tips, and strategies to help prepare you as an undergraduate.
General Tips
Get an Internship
Agency employers often use internship programs to recruit and select permanent hires. As a student, interning gives you the opportunity to develop firsthand knowledge of the business and is the most valued career experience by hiring managers. Check industry resources for internship programs in the summer or throughout the year.

Advertising is considered a business that is built on personal and professional connections. Make it a priority to attend on-campus information sessions, Career Services' career events, and informational interviewing with Colgate alumni to learn about the industry and agency life. Intentional networking with friends, family members, alumni, and faculty can lead to securing an opportunity. Lastly, consider looking for non-paid opportunities that can offer direct experiences and create a profile on LinkedIn.

Be Creative
Think about what makes you interesting as a candidate and demonstrate your value on a résumé, cover letter, social media pages, and in an interview. Agencies are looking to hire unique candidates that can sell themselves and their skills.
Résumé Advice
From Spotlight on Careers (for username and password, please contact Career Services).
Interview Advice
From Spotlight on Careers (for username and password, please contact Career Services).
Helpful Skills
  • Leadership and initiative
  • Communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Analytical skills
  • Social media competency and awareness
  • Enthusiasm and high-energy
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Commercial awareness
  • Research skills
  • Technical and software skills (e.g., Microsoft Word, Coding, HTML, Photoshop, Adobe Creative Suite)
Buzz Words
  • Advertisement: A paid announcement placed across broadcast, print, and online platforms (e.g., newspapers and magazines, websites, radio and television broadcast, films, and billboards).
  • Ad layout: Space on a webpage that shows the arrangement and appearance of an ad.
  • Copy: The text/written components within ad message that supports the ad graphic design.
  • Pitch: A meeting with a potential client by agency staff (i.e., an Account Manager and/or Creative) to share their ideas for a brand, service, or product.
  • Agencies: Ad agencies help clients produce and position advertisements.
  • Clients: Government agencies, educational institutions, businesses, and non-profit organizations that buy and receive services from an agency and/or operate internally to produce and market their own advertisements and branded materials.
Information taken from the Interactive Advertising Bureau
Another helpful website to learn advertising lingo: The Ad
A Sampling of Relevant Colgate Coursework
Courses to consider:
  • ARTS 201 Digital Studio I
  • ARTS 302, Digital Studio
  • POSC 345, Media & Politics
  • SOAN 222, Media & Modern Society
  • SOAN 375, Anthropology of Media
  • WRIT 222, Narrative in New Media
  • WRIT 102, Intro to Rhetoric
  • WRIT 115 , Public Speaking
  • WRIT 210, The Rhetoric of Style
Additional courses for creatives:
  • ART211, Drawing I
  • ART231, Painting I
  • ART251, Printmaking I
  • ART241, Photography I
  • ART284, ART284, History and Theory of Photography
  • ART242, Digital Photography I
  • COSC122, Intro to Computer Graphics & Animation
  • COSC420, Programming Languages
Industry News and Trends
Knowledge of industry news can give you a sense of the culture and make you a better interview candidate.

Trade Publications Vault Industry Guide:
Log in or create an account (you will need to create an account using your Colgate e-mail address to view this content), find “Advertising and Marketing” through the search box or in Industries & Professions, and check out “The Industry Today” and/or “Current Trends and Issues” in the left sidebar.
Professional Associations
These organizations can be great places to make connections, learn more about the field and search openings. Many have discounted student memberships. ***A comprehensive resource to review other professional associations: Advertising Education Foundation.

Alumni Advice

Advice from alumni who work in this industry.
Current Title and Organization:
Associate Strategist, The Media Kitchen

Major at Colgate:

Q&A with Julia
What is it that you currently do? What are your major responsibilities?

As an Associate Strategist, I work to plan and execute the digital advertising campaigns for my client. I work directly with the client and the rest of my team to determine how to best tell the brand's story and achieve the primary objectives of the campaign. 

Conduct market research to understand which publisher sites are most effective in reaching the brand's target audience (i.e. New York Times, Buzzfeed, etc.):
- Work directly and negotiate with publishers to include brand as part of the site's advertising set 
- Develop recommendations of suggested media placements and budget levels across different channels (Social, Video, Display) for client's approval
- Upon client approval, technically implement creative assets across all sites in a given campaign 
- Monitor campaign performance and manage budget levels across all channels

What was your first position out of Colgate and what did you do in that role?

Assistant Media Planner at Neo@Ogilvy. This role was similar to the role I have now - it was also in the field of digital media, just for a different client at a different agency.

How can students prepare themselves while at Colgate to work in your field?

Focus on your research, writing, and communication skills. One of the most important parts of my job is being able to effectively communicate the needs of my client to publishers and work to serve the brand's best interests at all times. Research is important in maintaining a holistic understanding of the media landscape and staying up to date with the most innovative technologies and how  they can be utilized to achieve your brand's goals. While many people in the ad industry come from schools where you can major in marketing or communications, Colgate prepares you by allowing you to develop critical and analytical thinking skills that will help you think outside the box and creatively solve problems for your client.

What extracurricular activities, associated with your profession or not, were you involved with while at Colgate?
  • Running Club
  • Sidekicks
  • Let's Get Ready
  • Gamma Phi Beta

Find Opportunities

Recruiting Timeline
The recruitment cycle of a typical hiring process for advertising jobs and internships begins in January and terminates in June. It is important to note that some agencies may hire interns earlier within the academic year, particularly from November to February.
Career and Internship Connections (CIC)
Off-Campus Recruiting Consortia
CIC is a great way to connect with employers for internships and jobs during winter break. CIC events take place in Los Angles, Boston, New York and Washington D.C. Potential candidates are encouraged to prepare in advance of CIC deadlines by partnering with Career Services.

Past CIC Media, Communications & Entertainment Employers (entry-level positions and internships):
  • Arnold Worldwide
  • Captivate Network
  • Cone Communications
  • Greater Media Boston
  • Hill Holiday
  • Katz Media Group Inc.
  • Publicis Healthcare Communications Group
  • The Veloz Group
Job and Internship Search Sites

naviGATE Opportunities

Below are some opportunities that may interest you from naviGATE, Colgate's internship and job database.

More Opportunities

The Liberal Arts Career NetWORK (LACN) is a database of internships and entry-level jobs posted by employers interested in hiring liberal arts students.

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Connect to Careers

Latest stories about internships, workshops, professional networks, and more.
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