How to Become an Advertising Account Executive


There is no set route for becoming an advertising account executive. Some get into this career by having a degree, while others start in entry-level positions in advertising, and work their way up into this position.


If you want to get into this field, and be successful when you're there, you will also need to make sure this career aligns with your interest, skills, and personality traits.


Does the following describe you?


• You can motivate and lead a team

• You have an interest in creating, implementing and evaluating advertising campaigns

• You are willing to put in extra working hours

• You have self-confidence and a competitive spirit

• You have excellent communication skills, in including the ability to make presentations under pressure

• You are interested in a career that offers daily challenges

• You are interested in a well-paying career path that offers plenty of room for growth


Below we've provided detailed information on what you'll need to become an advertising account executive. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as salary expectations, working conditions, a list of possible employer types, and much more!



Education You Might Need

There are no formal industry-wide educational requirements for this career; the requirements for getting a job in this field are set by each individual employer.


However, employers typically require candidates to have a diploma, bachelor's or master's degree in a field relevant to advertising, such as:


• Advertising

• Marketing

• Statistics or operational research

• Communication and media studies

• Business or management

• Psychology


It is possible to become an advertising account executive without formal education, as the result of starting in an entry-level role and working your way up. However, the more education you have, and the more relevant it is advertising, the less work experience you are likely to need to enter this field.


Success Tip: Courses in marketing, market research, statistics, accounting, the psychology of persuasion or perception and communication can be highly beneficial if you want to work in this field. 





Advertising Account Executive Job Description

Advertising account executives are responsible for devising and coordinating advertising campaigns, which are created to encourage consumers to purchase the products or services of their client.


Advertising account executives serve as the link between clients and the advertising agency that they represent. They manage both the administrative and creative work of an advertising campaign, which involves liaising closely with the client and the advertising agency staff throughout the campaign.


While creating and coordinating an advertising campaign, the account executive must ensure timelines are met and budgetary restrictions are adhered to.


Type of Advertising Media

Advertising account executives may be responsible for creating advertising campaigns that make use of one or more types of advertising media. These forms of advertising could include:


• Print (newspapers, magazines, etc.)

• Mail (flyers, direct mail, etc.)

• Signage (storefront, billboards, bus benches, etc.)

• Broadcast (television, radio, etc.)

• Social media

• Online marketing (paid search and organic search, e-mail marketing, etc.)



Advertising Account Executive Job Duties

• Meet with clients in order to discuss their advertising needs

• Inform clients as to what they can expect from the agency

• Work with agency colleagues to create a campaign that will suit the client’s needs, timeline restrictions, and budget

• Present a preliminary plan to clients, including budgetary requirements, to the client

• Present creative work to client for approval and modification, if necessary

• Prepare client reports

• May be involved in business development efforts for the agency, such as recruiting new clients



Experience Needed

A job as an advertising account executive is typically considered a mid or senior-level position. Experience in the advertising industry is highly valuable to employers, and typically only those with experience can move into mid and senior-level positions. Because of this, you'll likely have to begin your career in an entry-level or junior-level position in advertising, and work your way up.


For example, you may begin your career as advertising agent or advertising coordinator, and if you show initiative and competence in your work, you will be considered for internal promotions. Alternatively, you can use your experience to apply for positions of greater responsibility and pay with outside advertising agencies.



Getting Entry-Level Work in the Advertising Industry

If you are interested in working in the advertising industry, and have no experience, try getting your foot in the door with an advertising agency as a temp.


The best way to do this is to enlist with a staffing agency (also known as a temp agency). If there are temporary jobs available with advertising agencies and you fit the basic requirements, the staffing agency can quite easily place you in one of those jobs.


From there you will have a chance to be hired permanently. At the very least, it will give you a chance to make a small network of contacts in the advertising industry. Your network of contacts may help you to find longer term paid work in advertising later on.


Success Tip: Be open to a temporary job in any department, such as administration. If you are hired on permanently with an advertising agency, you can always transfer to other departments later on.





Skills Needed to Be Successful

In order to be effective in a career as an advertising account executive, you need a certain set of skills and abilities, including:


Leadership skills: Advertising account executive must be able to lead and motivate a team. The must also be able to take accountability for the results of the team.


Creative skills: When creating campaigns for clients, advertising account executives need to be creative, imaginative, and flexible.  


Analytical skills: Because the advertising industry is in constant change, due to the rise of digital media, account executives must be able to analyze industry trends, and effectively determine the most promising strategies for their campaigns.


Decision-making skills: These professionals must oftentimes choose between competing advertising and marketing strategies put forward by their staff and team members.


Communication skills: Account executives must be able to communicate effectively with a broad-based team of staff members during the process of creating, implementing and evaluating an advertising campaign. They must also be able to able to negotiate with suppliers, and make presentations to clients under pressure.


Interpersonal skills: Account executives need interpersonal skills in order to build and maintain professional relationships with clients, suppliers and coworkers. They must also be able to apply these skills in order to resolve disputes. 



Characteristics & Traits Needed 

You'll need certain personal traits and characteristics to succeed in this field. These traits will help keep you passionate about your work, which will be needed not only to enjoy what you do, but also to help you deal with the challenges and pressures of this career.


• A passion for communicating with people through advertising

• Interest in a job that offers challenges and pressure

• Interest in working in a creative field, with business responsibilities

• A competitive spirit and self-confidence

• An open-minded and inquisitive attitude

• An interest in developing, implementing and evaluating projects

• Enjoy consulting with people and analyzing their needs

• An interest in a career with upward mobility 

• A willingness to work long hours

• Tact, and a professional manner



Who Creates Jobs for Advertising Account Executives?

Advertising account executives are employed by advertising agencies, and within the advertising departments of large companies. They may also be self-employed as the owners of advertising agencies.


They are typically employed on a full-time basis, and jobs for these professionals are mostly found in large urban centres.


Typical Salary Levels in This Line of Work

The salary level of advertising account executives can vary based on a number of factors, including:


• Their level of education

• Their level of experience and aptitude

• The specific responsibilities of their job

• The size of their employer and its client base

• The region in which they work


There is no salary information available from reliable sources for the career Advertising Account Executive. We can however, get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of workers in closely related occupations.


Salary - Alberta: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management occupational group earn an average salary of $90,800 per year.


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers occupational group is $88,590 per year. Salaries in the 5th percentile for this group are below $43,270, and those in the 95th percentile are above $187,200 per year. 



Common Work Environment

Work Setting: Advertising account executives typically work in an office environment. They may be required to travel in order to attend meetings with clients, or representatives of communications media publishers.


Working Hours: Most of these professionals work full-time hours during the week. It is fairly common for them to work long and irregular hours in this profession, particularly when meeting deadlines.


Working Conditions: Advertising account executives work closely with their clients. Their work is usually stressful, as it is carried out under pressure to compete for clients' accounts and to meet their requirements within strict deadlines and budgets.



Advertising Executive Jobs

Our job board below has "Advertising Executive" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.





Career Advancement in This Field

In the short-term, career advancement for advertising account executives usually takes the form of being assigned more clients, higher profile clients, or bigger campaigns.


In advertising agencies, long-term career advancement may be in the form of moving into an executive management position, such as regional director. They may also become partners in the agency, or open their own advertising agency.



Similar Occupations in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Advertising Account Executive, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Advertising Agent

Contract Administrator

Creative Director

Marketing Coordinator

Marketing Director

Media Buyer




To find out more about what an advertising account executive does, how much they earn, and other details of this career, please consult the following resources:


Occupations in Alberta:Advertising Account Executive.” (March 16, 2015). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 18, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Management:Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers.” (September 4, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 18, 2019.

Explore Careers:Advertising Account Executive.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website - OGL. Retrieved October 18, 2019.

Job Profile:Advertising Account Executive.” AGCAS editors (October, 2017). Prospects website. Retrieved October 12, 2019.



Scholarships for Relevant Fields of Study

Looking for Canadian or American scholarships to help you on your way to becoming an advertising account executive? We’ve got you covered! Here's how to find the best-suited scholarships:


• On, our scholarship listings are sorted by major

• The “Relevant Majors” section below shows what majors apply to this career

• Search scholarships by major on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Majors for Becoming an Advertising Account Executive

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for becoming an Advertising Account Executive. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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