How to Become an Advertising Agent


There is no fixed entry route to becoming an advertising agent. Some get into this career by having a relevant degree and simply applying for a job, while others start in entry-level positions in advertising sales, and work their way up to a sales position.


Some may even work their way into this role after gaining experience selling other types of products, and then making a lateral move into the advertising industry.


If you want to become an advertising agent, and want to succeed at it, you will also need to make sure this career aligns with your interest, skills, and personality traits. Does the following describe you?


• You are skilled at selling; you are able to convince people to part with their money

• You are able to quickly bounce back from rejection

• You are willing to put in extra working hours

• You have self-confidence and a highly competitive spirit

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

• You are interested in a career that offers daily challenges

• You are interested in career that allows you to have control over your earnings


Below we've provided detailed information on what you'll need to get started in this field. 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 Needed to Become an Advertising Agent

There are no formal, industry-wide educational requirements for becoming an advertising agent; they are set by each individual employer.


A high school diploma is typically the minimum educational requirement for an entry-level advertising agent job. Some employers however, prefer applicants with a university or college degree, particularly larger and more established media companies with large circulations, or broadcasting stations with a large audience.


Employers may or may not have a preference regarding the field of study the advertising agent has pursued. However a degree related to advertising (such as business, marketing or communications) can be very helpful in gaining the skills and competencies needed to succeed in a career as an advertising agent.


Employers are likely to be less strict on the educational requirements for advertising agent job applicants who have a proven record of successfully selling products (related to advertising or otherwise).





Advertising Agent Job Description

Advertising agents, also known as advertising sales agents, are responsible for selling advertisements on behalf of their organization or clients.


They may sell advertisements in the form of radio and television advertising time, advertising space in publications such as magazines and newspapers, or other forms of advertisement such as banner advertisements on websites. 



Job Duties Typical to the Job

• Prepare and deliver sales presentations to new and existing customers in order to sell new advertising programs

• Deliver advertisement proofs to customers for approval

• Process all paperwork related to customer accounts

• Explain advertising options to customers, such as sizes, formats, prices, time slots and other formats

• Make recommendations regarding appropriate sizes and formats for advertising

• Explain to customers how specific types of advertising suit their promotional needs

• Develop promotional plans, sales literature, media kits, sales contracts and other sales related materials 

• Prepare advertising contracts

• Collect payments from customers

• Attend sales meetings, industry trade shows, and training seminars in order to gather information, promote products, expand network of contacts, and increase industry knowledge



Experience You'll Need

The amount of experience you need to become an advertising agent can vary significantly from job to job. Some employers will give you a chance to work for them with little experience.


Other employers however, may prefer applicants who have a proven record of successfully selling products.


Most employers will provide in-house training for new agents, although the length of the training may depend on the amount of experience the agent has prior to their new role. For example, those with more experience may have shorter training periods. In-house training usually involves shadowing a more experience agent.



Skills Needed to Be Successful

Advertising agency is a do or die, sink or swim type of career, and as such, it is not for everyone. It takes a certain skill set to navigate the murky waters of this career, including:  


Sales skills: Advertising agents, above all else, need the ability to make sales. They need to be able to persuade people to part with their money, by convincing them that there will be a positive return on their investment, and that the advertising product they are offering is better than the competition’s.


Able to handle rejection: Having the ability to quickly overcome rejection is crucial for success as an advertising agent, as many potential clients will be unwilling to commit to the product.


Initiative: Initiative is needed to keep in touch with clients, as well as actively seek new clients to expand their client base and meet their sales quotas.


Self-confidence: Confidence is key when cold calling potential clients, and when making presentations to existing ones.


Agency skills: Advertising agents need the ability to serve both company and client needs, without having to compromise one for the other.


Interpersonal skills: These skills are needed in order to build and maintain professional relationships with clients, suppliers and coworkers. These skills are also helpful when dealing with any disputes that may arise.





Helpful Characteristics to Have

Not just anyone can show up to work, make cold calls, face rejection, and come back with a smile on their face the next day. Advertising agents need to have a love of what they do in order to overcome the challenges of this career.


The single most important attribute they need, is a genuine passion for sales. They must take great pleasure in convincing someone to buy advertising space, and they must not be deterred by a few rejections.


In addition to a passion for sales, successful advertising agents usually have the following personality traits and attributes:


• The ability to easily build strong interpersonal relationships

• Interest in a career that offers performance-based incentives

• An excellent attitude towards customer service

• They enjoy working independently

• A competitive and self-confident attitude

• A willingness to travel in order to meet with clients

• An enthusiastic attitude when faced with disappointing sales numbers or rejection



Common Types of Employers

Advertising agents typically hold one of two possible job types. The first type of job is working for a media company and selling their advertising space directly. When working in this type of job, they are acting like a sales representative, as they are only offering products that their company is selling.


Types of media companies that hire advertising agents may include:


• Broadcast media (radio, television, etc.)

• Online publishers (websites, blogs, etc.)

• Print publications (newspapers, magazines, etc.)

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

• Self-employed (as a contractor)


The other type of job they may hold, is working for an advertising agency. They usually do so as a permanent employee of the agency, or sometimes, as a self-employed contractor. Advertising agencies don't sell advertisements spots (space or time) of their own. Instead they act as liaisons, bringing together businesses that need to advertise with media companies that have advertising to sell. 


In this type of job, they act like insurance or mortgage brokers, in that they may offer their clients products from a variety of different companies, based on what best suits the budget and goals of the client. 



Where are the jobs for advertising agents?

With regard to finding work with advertising agencies, jobs in this field are typically found in large urban areas. When working for a publication, jobs can be found in any town or city that has a media outlet or a publication of any size. Work from home opportunities also exist, particularly if selling advertisements as a contracted worker for a web-based publication. 



Typical Salary Level

Most organizations that employ advertising agents pay some combination of salary, commission, and bonuses, depending on how much revenue the agent, or the entire sales team, can bring in. Because of these individual and group performance-based incentives, the salary level of advertising agents can vary widely.


Their salary level can also depend on the following factors:


• Their level of experience

• The size and type of their employer

• The region in which they work

• The specific responsibilities of their job


Advertising Agent Salary - Canada (Alberta only): According to the 2016 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Sales Representatives, Wholesale Trade (Non-Technical) occupational group earn an average salary of $62,683 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reputable sources for other Canadian provinces.


Advertising Agent Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Advertising Sales Agents occupational group is $46,290 per year. Salaries in the 10th percentile are below $22,930 per year, and those in the 90th percentile are above $103,170 per year.



Work Environment

Working Hours: Advertising agents typically work full-time hours during the week, although many work overtime (including evenings, weekends and holidays) in order to prepare sales materials, meet with potential or existing clients, or perform other duties.


Work Setting: Work in this field is typically based out of an office, although traveling within city limits, and outside of city limits, may be necessary in order to meet clients and make presentations. Advertising agents may also be required to set up home offices.


Working Conditions: Advertising agents work in a highly competitive environment. They are constantly under pressure to meet sales quotas and outbid the competition. Selling advertisement space can be stressful because income and the job security of an agent will depend on their ability to keep and expand their client base.



Advertising Agent Job Postings

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





Career Advancement Opportunities

Advertising agents might advance their careers in multiple ways:


Earning more commissions: Agents that are successful selling products to existing clients will earn greater commissions, and thus, a higher income. Those who can successfully attract a new client base will also earn more as a result of increased sales commissions.


Advancing to management positions: Those that display management and leaderships skills may be offered supervisory or management positions. If they are not directly offered such a position, they may always choose to apply for them when a management job becomes open.


Transferring to other departments: Alternatively, advertising agents can move into different departments of the media company or advertising agency that employs them, such as I.T. or administration (although this may require additional training and education).



Similar Occupations in Our Database

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


Advertising Account Executive

Business Development Officer

Insurance Agent

Media Buyer


Sales Representative




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


Occupations in Alberta:Sales Representative (Wholesale, Nontechnical).” (August 1, 2010). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 18, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Sales:Advertising Sales Agents.” (September 4, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 18, 2019.

Career:How to Become an Advertising Sales Agent.” (n.d.). OwlGuru website. Retrieved October 18, 2019.



Scholarships for Majors Relevant to Becoming an Advertising Agent

Looking for Canadian or American scholarships to help you on your way to becoming an advertising agent? 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 Marketing Scholarships and Communications Scholarships pages.


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

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this line of work. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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