There is both a lack of job opportunities and a greater number of job seekers in today’s market, so the interest in applying to advertising agency jobs vacancies on sites such as has never been higher.

Whether you want to be a hard-drinking, chain-smoking employee like Mad Men’s Don Draper or you want to perform a less orthodox role, securing an internship may be the best means of starting your long-term future in advertising.

“I’m not a solution to your problem. I’m another problem.”
Joan Harris

You are a solution, and you have completed the relevant related degree, but you lack the experience that proves it. An all too familiar question posed to the recent graduate is, “How much relevant experience do you have in the advertising business?” to which the frustrated graduate must reply, “None – I’ve been busy for the last three years getting an education in this area!”

In this competitive market, employers can be very picky when it comes to who they hire. They want qualified and experienced candidates who can hit the ground running, not fresh graduates who have never done a day’s work! This environment is where an internship can help the inexperienced graduate.

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
Don Draper

How best do you go about securing an advertising agency internship? If you’re studying for your degree at university, your best option is to contact tutors or course coordinators to kick things off. If your academic institution does not have an internship programme, your unbidden keenness may persuade your teacher to put you on the right track.

Another helpful move is to call up ad agencies and offer your services at no cost. While some agencies will not have the ability to accommodate your suggestion, you initiative is a bankable commodity, and they might decide to jot down your name for future openings. If you can keep them on the telephone for longer than it takes them to dismiss your offer, suggest that you email them a spec ad. For the inexperienced, this is your tilt on a published ad and an excellent occasion to flex your creative muscles.

I love you. I’m giving up my life to be with you, aren’t I?”
Peter Campbell

If you prefer the personal touch, find out about your chosen agency’s charitable activities and go to functions that allow you to meet creative directors and recruiters. Show up at education seminars, career fairs and professional workshops for the same reason. Meeting your next employers and helping them match a face to your portfolio or CV can be the difference between the slush pile and the short list.

The gold watch-chains and horn-rimmed glasses may be out of vogue, but advertising agencies still want the same characteristics from their creative underlings. If passion and eagerness are necessary, then knowledge about your chosen employer (and their line of work) is paramount.

It’s your job. I give you money. You give me ideas”.
Don Draper

Getting an internship isn’t just about your creative talent. Being keen to carry out a variety of tasks, from developing media kits to fetching a Starbucks, will show that you are flexible and determined.

If you’re lucky enough to land an internship, never refuse chances to help your colleagues. If you’re confused by a complicated query, don’t reply that you don’t know – go and find out. Shadow experienced peers without bothering them.

Look for ways to differentiate yourself from other interns and perform tasks that will stand out when you state them in your CV. Choose these wisely because pointing out that you picked up your boss’s dry-cleaning on time for four weeks in a row isn’t something hirers want to hear. It may be a while before you are offered the commercial director job!

“You want some respect? Go out there and get it for yourself.”
Don Draper

Ultimately, applying yourself will transform the hunt for an internship into the discovery of your dream job. Just leave the watch-chain at home and check out the Institute of Practitioners in Planning ( for some resources to help you along the way.