Advertising agencies and businesses are always looking for designers with multifaceted talents to create product and marketing designs. While they are always in need of a designer, getting a job in advertising design takes skill and may require a college degree in graphic design. Working on a freelance basis, working for free and making spec — or fake — ads can help you create a portfolio. After building a portfolio, it is just a matter of submitting resumes to different agencies.
Graphic design can be self-taught, but people generally go to college to learn this skill and businesses usually like to see degrees. Getting a two- or four-year degree in graphic design will teach you the necessary skills involved in graphic design and increase your chances of getting a job in advertising design. Taking classes in marketing and advertising also will help, because this will teach you the underlying principles of this field.
Either working for free or making spec ads that demonstrate your skills is likely to be the next step to getting into advertising design. You should ask churches, friends, local businesses and nearby organizations if they need any design work done. If no one does, making a spec ad is acceptable. A spec ad is a fake ad that demonstrates your abilities and talent, even though the ad is not used by a business and may market a fake product or company. Both of these are acceptable practices in creating a portfolio.
Finding freelance work will help you gain experience and, later, a full-time position in advertising design. Just like with the portfolio, you can ask nearby organizations if they need design work done, but the search for clients is usually broader at this stage. Freelance design work, like college, can be bypassed but provides additional experience, a paycheck and a way to create advertising material that will actually be used. This also helps you to create a more robust resume when applying for a full-time position in advertising design.
After readying a portfolio and gaining some experience, you can contact advertising agencies directly about a position in advertising design. Many agencies prefer freelance workers and may not have a full-time opening, so you may have to submit your resume and portfolio to several agencies before one responds. Aside from powerful designs, you must be focused on teamwork and be diverse in what designs you can create.