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How to Work In Advertising Without Being an Ad Major

How to Work In Advertising Without Being an Ad Major

Carly Rullman / AdAge

December 14, 2009

Some of my younger friends majoring in something other than advertising, yet wanting to work in an ad agency, often ask me something like this: “I am majoring in PR, so I have to find a job doing just that, right?” No, my friends.

Like many majoring in public relations, I was required to enroll in a campaigns course in order to graduate. It was the fall semester of my senior year that a peer suggested I apply and interview for the student advertising team. “It counts as your campaigns class,” she said. “But I’m a PR major,” I said. It turns out the ad team carves out two special places for PR majors to assist in all PR efforts involved with the building of a campaign. Completion of the team project would fulfill the PR campaigns course requirement.

During my ad team experience I came to understand why my advisor wanted to have a PR presence on the team. It was critical to have those who could recognize and oversee PR initiatives. I was valued on the team for this ability and helped lead the team to the National Student Advertising Competition.

This same attitude has helped me land where I am today. I now work for a branding/advertising agency where I often tap into the knowledge I have of public relations.

My boss often reminds us that our company is in no way limited to just advertising. There is interactive, media and PR, for example. Like my college ad team, I am proud of all the times my creative colleagues have relied on my skills for various projects. When it comes to writing press releases, planning events, looking for partnerships, doing article submissions or simply maintaining those client relationships—I am the go-to staffer.

If you also want to work in an ad agency, but are deeply entrenched in another communications major and feel you can’t do anything else, do not feel limited — if anything, realize you have an advantage. You should be confident with the skill set for which you’ve worked so hard. It will enable you to contribute a great deal.