How Do I Become an Account Executive?

Sheri Cyprus

To become an account executive, you'll need to have good communication skills, be organized and work hard on behalf of your clients. As you'll be responsible for serving a single client or group of different customers, being able to build and maintain effective working relationships is essential. You'll also need to understand the industry in which you'll be an account executive as well as follow the policies and operating goals of the company that hires you. Many companies require their account executives to have a bachelor's degree in business or liberal arts. Interning after earning a degree may help you eventually become an account executive, but don't underestimate the power of perseverance.

Solid communication skills are a must for an account executive.
Solid communication skills are a must for an account executive.

If you tend to give up easily on getting what you want or aren't goal driven, working as an account executive may not be the right career. While on the surface, the job may seem relatively easy by mainly just communicating with your clients, it often requires extra hours and a real dedication to client accounts. Clients aren't there to socialize, but to get their money's worth from your company, and they typically demand results. Typically, this can be a high-pressure job, so past work experience in a similar, service-oriented environment can be a plus if you want to become an account executive.

Sales, rather than just customer service, experience is helpful since account executive work is often about growing accounts or maximizing their profitability to the firm. While you may not be expected to personally sell clients products or services, developing a relationship that inspires them to be loyal to the company and expand the ways in which they order from the firm may be part of your job. Find out clearly what the exact expectations and duties of the position will be before applying anywhere to become an account executive. Not only will you be more likely to succeed in your career role, if hired, understanding the job details can help you better promote yourself as the ideal candidate to the hiring manager.

Also keep in mind that competition for account executive positions is often competitive. It may take many applications and interviews before you even make a short list of candidates for an advertising agency, financial services company, information technology firm or other business. Applying for internship positions in the field you hope to eventually become an account executive in can help, but it's no guarantee of future employment. Any method you can use to get relevant experience and build contacts in your industry is likely to help you succeed in your career goals though. Taking the initiative and contacting possible companies to work for, then politely persevering by following up your applications can be seen as favorable by many companies who appreciate these traits in their account executives.

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