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Career Options in Advertising, Marketing & PR: Student

Life as an undergraduate, eh? The only thing you’re likely to be advertising and promoting is your next house party. But if you’re really keen on a career in the advertising, marketing and PR world, what can you be doing whilst still at university to help you along your career path?

Opportunities available to undergraduates

- Part-time jobs

- University societies and events

- Internships/work experience/work placements

- Graduate schemes (applications).

The idea of promoting your next house party may have been said in jest, but part-time jobs could actually help you forge a career in advertising, marketing and PR. Working for a local nightclub by promoting their events on Facebook and by dishing out flyers on campus is valuable experience.

On top of this, being part of university societies’ can also help, even if the society has nothing to do with advertising, marketing or PR. For example, if you’re part of the yoga society or the football club, why not become their publicity officer or social secretary? As publicity officer you could work with the student newspaper to advertise fixtures or events. A social secretary would be responsible for organising club socials and end of term balls, providing you with experience of organising and publicising an event.

Additionally, you should also be on the hunt for work experience or internships from day one at university. Maybe you have some companies in mind, or maybe you haven’t the foggiest where to start. If you know who you’d like to intern for, sniff around their website for opportunities and information, and if you still can’t find anything, try sending a speculative cover letter. If you’re a bit unsure, head to your university careers service for some advice and help, or check out job boards (AllAboutCareers.com has a pretty good one, click here to view it.)

Internships and work experience is undoubtedly the best way to increase your chances of employment following university as it puts you in touch with potential employers and industry professionals and there’s also a chance you could get paid for your work: win, win. You will gain hands-on experience of working within the industry and could potentially be rewarded for your hard work with part-time employment or perhaps even a fast-track to interview stage for the company’s graduate scheme. Not sure how to find an internship? Give this a read.

Deadlines to consider

As if university deadlines weren’t enough (you struggle with library book returns as it is) most companies will have deadlines for their internships and graduate scheme applications. With advertising, marketing and PR a competitive industry, especially amongst soon-to-be graduates you need to be on the ball when it comes to sending in applications on time.

Additionally, to make matters more confusing, the advertising, marketing and PR sector does not have standardised deadlines as the legal sector does. Therefore you should make a note of when the application deadline is for the internships and graduate schemes that tickle your fancy.

As a general rule, internships tend to be open to first or penultimate year students, but there are some graduate internships available that could lead to a full-time job if you impress with your work. Make sure to keep checking with deadlines and to be pro-active during your university years.

Graduate schemes have an extended recruitment period, so applications will come around a lot sooner than you think, usually just before Christmas. So never mind planning precisely how much Turkey you’re going to eat over the festive period, get the grad scheme applications in first!

Finally, entry-level jobs in advertising, marketing and PR are always cropping up. If you’re unsuccessful with a graduate scheme application or simply don’t feel like a graduate scheme is for you, blitz the market with cover letters and CVs once you’ve finished your final exams. If you’ve laid the groundwork by taking on a role within a university society and completing a summer internship you should have few problems finding a role that’s suitable for you. 

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