Graduate training schemes in advertising

Are you suited to working in advertising? Do you think diagonally? Take the IPA Diagonal Thinking Self-Assessment test| to find out.


Applications for larger agencies usually open in September, with deadlines in November for jobs starting the following September, but this can vary. Check with your target agencies regularly for application deadlines. Larger agencies may recruit into graduate programmes, smaller agencies usually advertise vacancies as and when they arise.

Finding graduate schemes

Try job searching on the following sites:

Also make use of social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter to make contact with industry professionals and to carry out basic labour market research.


You should be proactive and approach smaller agencies (and larger agencies, if you are looking for work experience) with a speculative application| but it will need to be targeted towards their work and include an attention-grabbing CV| and cover letter|.

Whilst there is scope for creativity and individuality when making formal or speculative applications to agencies, like all recruiters, they want to see evidence of your education, experience, achievements, relevant competencies and interest in the work they do. Ensure the format you use doesn’t overshadow the content.

It is not necessary to have a degree in a related subject but it helps to have some experience in the sector – it is a competitive area to break so this can make all the difference on your application. This may be in an agency (some offer internships or work experience|) but could also be gained from promoting events for school and student societies, winning sponsorship for something, or working with customers in another type of commercial organisation.


The typical selection process for the larger advertising agencies includes an online application form|, usually accompanied by a CV|. You may also be asked to write one or more short pieces on for example a favourite brand, an ad you love/hate, a campaign idea for a client of your or their choice.

Selection is usually by a series of interviews| and possibly an assessment centre|.