Advertising Managers


Employment Prospects


There are approximately 28,600 advertising and promotions managers employed in the United States. About 43 percent work for advertising, public relations, and related services. About 11 percent are self-employed and 10 percent work in the information industries, such as publishing firms and ad agencies.

Virtually every business in the United States has some form of advertising position. The larger the company, the more managerial positions it is likely to have. Another factor is the geographical territory covered by the business. Companies doing business in larger geographical territories are likely to have more managerial positions than those with smaller territories.

Starting Out

You will first need experience in lower level advertising jobs before advancing to a managerial position. To break into an advertising firm, use your school's career services office for assistance. In addition, a number of firms advertise job listings on their own Web sites as well as on employment Web sites.

Your first few jobs in advertising should give you experience in working with clients, studying the market, and following up on client service. This work will give you a good sense of the rhythm of the job and the type of work required.

Advancement Prospects

Most advertising management and top executive positions are filled by experienced lower level workers who have displayed valuable skills, such as leadership, self-confidence, creativity, motivation, decisiveness, and flexibility. In smaller firms, advancement to a management position may come slowly, while promotions may occur more quickly in larger firms. Many managers are former purchasing agents; sales representatives; buyers; or product, advertising, promotions, or public relations specialists.

Advancement may be accelerated by participating in advanced training programs sponsored by industry and trade associations or by enrolling in continuing education programs at local universities. These programs are sometimes paid for by the firm. Managers committed to improving their knowledge of the field and of related discipline—especially computer information systems—will have the best opportunities for advancement. Advertising managers can advance to become top executives (chief executive officer, etc.) or open their own firms. Others become college professors. 

Tips for Entry

The American Association of Advertising Agencies offers an advertising agency search engine at its Web site, Use it to search for potential job leads.

Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office or professional associations. The American Advertising Federation offers information on its internship programs at

Conduct information interviews with advertising managers and ask them for advice on landing a job.