Is an Advertising Degree Necessary?

August 5, 2008 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

Your question : If my major at college is marketing, can I get a job right out of college as an advertising sales agent? Or do I have to major in advertising to do so?

Our Answer: You might not believe this, but I was faced with the exact same question when I was a freshman in college. I started my studies at UC Berkeley, one of the nation’s leading universities (in my humble opinion!). I knew that I wanted to end up in advertising, but Cal Berkeley didn’t offer that major, so I chose communications as my major. I struggled (like you are today) with this question–will any ad agency hire me if I don’t have an advertising major??? It rankled so much that I did actually transfer to a school (Cal State Fullerton) that offered an advertising major. Cal State, however, academically is not near the school that Berkeley is and, while I met some awesome people there and I had some great marketing/advertising classes, looking back I know that I would have learned more at the better school. And, yes, I would still be able to get that job in advertising.

Enough about me! Let’s get back to your question. You want to get a job as an advertising sales agent. I’m here to tell you (from being in the marketing/advertising/sales industries for many years) that a marketing degree will serve you equally as well as an advertising degree. What will be important to future employers (especially for a sales job) are traits like this:

  • Sales drive–are you a go-getter? Are you willing to handle rejection over and over to land the appointment with your key prospect?
  • Personality–do people like you? Do you listen to them so that you can get a handle on their challenges (of course then giving you the opportunity to solve their problems with your solutions!).
  • Marketing Savvy–are you up-to-speed on the latest ways to win new business and retain existing customers? Can you talk to your clients about what’s going on in their industry and what their peers and competitors are up to, marketing-wise.

These traits will please your future employer much more so than splitting hairs over the difference between a marketing and an advertising major. In fact, I would not be surprised if a marketing major wouldn’t be preferred for a sales job…

So, if you’re happy with your current major, my advice to you would be to stick with it. Good luck to you!


Entry filed under: Direct Marketing Employment, Uncategorized.

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