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Whether you are just starting to explore, or have committed to a career in Marketing, Advertising, or PR this Career Track offers tips, tools, and action steps to move your career search forward.

The first step in beginning your career journey is to assess your interests, skills, strengths, goals, values, and self to better understand your story and give you career direction.  Then, we can help you reflect on your story and create career exploration goals.

Interests: Know your interests, as they may help to align you with organizations and possible job titles representing a match based on your likes/dislikes. Use these tools below to clarify your interests and possible career ideas based on interests.

  • MyNextMove - Explore career options and interests by keyword or industry, or take their short assessment to find potential career matches based on interests.
  • Strong Interest Inventory (SII) - The SII is a widely respected career interest inventory designed to help people find a fit between their personalities and work. It compares your interests and preferences to people in general and to people who have been happy and satisfied in their careers. The results from the SII identify careers that best fit a person’s interests.

Values: Know your values, as they may help to align you with potential work environments and organizations that match your passion(s) and core belief(s).

Skills/Strengths: Know your skills and strengths, as they may help to align you with well suited job titles, work tasks and work environments. Use these tools below to clarify your skills/strengths and possible career ideas based on your talents and skills.

  • Career Onestop - Take this short skills assessment to learn more about your skills and how they match up to potential career ideas.
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - The MBTI is a self-report questionnaire designed to make Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in everyday life. It is one of the most widely used instruments for understanding personality differences and is widely used to understand people in terms of their decision-making styles, preferences for communication and work environments, and for career development and exploration.
  • CliftonStrengths - The CS helps you to discover your top talent themes. By becoming aware of these talents, you can grow them into strengths. Strengths can be utilized in all aspects of your life, including career planning and during the career search process. The assessment is all about focusing on your natural talents to maximize your potential.

Want some coaching on where to begin?  Not sure which Career Track is right for you?  Make an appointment on Handshake for “Exploring Options”. We’ll be happy to talk more about your Career Track options and explore your interests and skills together, in a coaching relationship.

 Explore Your Track

What is marketing?

According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” In short, marketing is the systematic plan and subsequent implementation of that plan designed to increase sales of the company’s products or services. Marketing is a large umbrella with many components falling under it including advertising, public relations, and market research.


What is advertising?

The AMA defines advertising as “the placement of announcements and messages in time or space by business firms, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and individuals who seek to inform and/ or persuade members of a particular target market or audience about their products, services, organizations, or ideas." In short, advertising is paid media to promote a product, company, or service. An account executive at an advertising agency works with a client to determine which spaces (i.e. billboards, commercials, digital banners) in the media landscape are worth investing into placing an advertisement.


What is public relations?

Public relations is “the strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics”, according to the Public Relations Society of America. In short, a publicist's job is to get free publicity for a company, product, or individual through methods such as news conferences, pitching to journalists or holding events for consumers with the hopes of getting people and the media talking about their client/product/etc.

Here is some information to get you started:

Skills needed for these positions vary by job and field, but some of the most important are:

  • Attention to detail and organizational skills
  • Experience/skills in project management
  • Written & verbal communication skills
  • Self-motivated and results-driven
  • Customer service and client relations skills
  • Ability to project confidence and competence to clients
  • Knowledge of/Engagement with current trends in media/popular culture
  • Excellent time management skills and ability to adhere to a schedule/deadline
  • Design Experience and a Portfolio (Creative jobs)
  • Depending on the job:
    • Technical Skills: Proficient with Adobe Acrobat Professional, MS Excel, PowerPoint, MS Word, and MS Outlook, Photoshop, and Cision (for PR)
    • Research and data analysis skills (for market research positions)
    • Social Media experience

While there are common titles for entry-level positions, it’s important to note that it can vary greatly by company. You can use these titles as a starting place, but don’t assume that titles mean the same thing in every organization. Exploring job boards, LinkedIn profiles, and connecting with professionals in organizations of interest are great ways to understand entry pathways for your target organizations.

Many of our students interested in advertising start in the account services departments of advertising agencies. Many start as assistant account managers or junior account managers. In this role, you will be the liaison between the creative team of the advertising agency and the client. For those interested in strategy, a common job title is assistant media planner. For those on the creative side, common job titles are junior art director or junior copywriter. For those who have not had agency experience before graduation, many companies will hire you as a paid intern with the hope of converting you into a full-time employee after your intern contract ends. 

If you are interested in marketing more broadly, some of the most common job titles for entry-level positions include assistant brand manager, marketing assistant, market analyst/researcher, marketing/sales representative, marketing account executive, social media assistant, and junior copywriter/content developer.

In public relations, entry-level jobs are often titled public relations assistant, public relations manager, or media relations. Many of these positions are joint roles with other responsibilities such as “PR Assistant/Social Media” or “Public Relations Assistant/Event Marketing”. Many students interested in PR consider taking internship positions (generally paid) before a full-time role if they have not yet had experience at a PR agency

Need to Knows:

  • In these fields, having work experience in your field of interest or related field is very important. Obtaining a related internship during your undergraduate years is the most common way to break into the marketing umbrella.
  • To be a great candidate, you need to be on top of trends. You should pick a few sources that you read every week. Potential sites are:
  • You are also expected to stay on top of social media trends and platforms. Make sure you are an engaged social media user!

Know the field:

To be a good candidate, it is important to do your research to know the field. Here are a few go-to resources to start with:

Armed with some background information and ideas, connecting with professionals can offer next-level insights and answer more specific questions.

Get Help

Want some coaching around navigating your Career Track?  Interested in talking with a Career Coach about your exploration of a Career Track?

Before Your Appointment: Explore and engage with the tools and links in Explore Your Career Track; Complete the 3,2,1 reflection exercise; Attend an event related to your Career Track.


You have been exploring your Career Track, and may be wondering “What Next?”  This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your career exploration questions.

3   -  What are three takeaways from your exploration of this Career Track?

2   -  What are two questions that you have/ what are you questioning now?

1   -  What is 1 specific action step you plan to take, to answer your 2 questions?

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 Launch Your Job or Internship Search

Hiring Timelines:

While some advertising, marketing and PR firms may participate in on-campus recruiting in the fall, many agencies do not because they hire based on anticipated openings (so they are unlikely to know in the fall what is available for a May start date). Because of this, it is common for many of these firms to do their hiring in the spring. With that being said, marketing/ad/PR jobs are found in all types of organizations (not just marketing agencies), so large organizations may hire in the fall. In sum, the cycle is not structured, and you are likely to find opportunities at all points of the year. To stay up to date on openings in firms of interest, check out job boards (see below), connect with individuals in the organizations, and make a habit of checking the website of organizations you are interested in regularly.

A referral from a contact goes a long way when looking for a job. Check out UCAN- an online platform of U-M alumni who have volunteered to talk with students about their jobs and breaking into their industries!

You should also utilize the groups you have been contributing to on LinkedIn as one valuable referral source.

Don’t see the subset of marketing that you are interested in? Simply log into, type your keyword in the search bar, and filter your results by “groups” found on the left toolbar.

Job/Internship posting sites are not a primary recruiting tool for organizations and should be a small part of your job search efforts; however, many students begin their job search on job search boards. Some of the popular ones are:

While job searches are a great place to start, online search engines are not the most effective tool for most of our students. We recommend focusing on specific companies of interest, doing your research about those companies, and connecting with real professionals in those companies. A great place to get started might be the “Advertising Redbooks” Database (available free to UM students-- when you “sign in” click Library/University users and it will direct you to your UM sign-in) to compile a list of Advertising Agencies. For other fields, LinkedIn can be a great place to start finding specific groups (search “public relations” in the main search bar and then filter by “companies” and whatever other filters are important to you).

In the end, you want to talk with the people who work in your field as networking is incredibly important in this job search. We recommend starting on UCAN or on LinkedIn. For LinkedIn, our favorite tool is the “Find Alumni” feature (under the “connections” tab) to find professionals in your intended field to reach out to. You could also consider finding LinkedIn groups for your industry, your intended location, etc to find people to connect with. Of course, don’t forget about the wonderful alumni clubs as well! Find the alumni club for your target areas and reach out!

  • For the basics of a great resume, check out our resume resources page.
  • The AMA (American Marketing Association) offers a free download with suggestions on marketing resumes. 
  • The Muse gives great tips for marketing resumes with a sample resume at the bottom. (Note: the sample is for a more experienced hire. For a student, your education will be at the top and you can include clubs, internships, jobs, etc).
  • PRSA’s (Public Relations Society of America) Career Resource Manual includes tips for resumes and cover letters.

For interview basics, check out our interviewing resources page.

To prepare specifically for interviews in this field, remember to research the organizations of interest and the field broadly. You will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and interest through your own preparation and research. In addition, think through the specific skills you will need to do the job and thus will likely be asked about!’

Below are a few articles to start with as you think about questions specific to your interest areas:

"How to Prepare for a Marketing Job Interview"

Public Relations Interview Questions

Advertising Interview Questions

Visit the University Career Center website for more information on resumes, interviewing, and networking.

Get Help

Want some coaching around launching your Career Track?  Interested in gaining experience including securing Internships or looking for Jobs?  

Before Your Appointment: Explore and engage with the tools and links in Launch Your Career Track; Complete the 3,2,1 reflection exercise; Attend an event related to your Career Track.


You have been launching your job/internship search, and may be wondering “What Next?”  This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your job/internship search questions.

3   -  What are three take-aways from exploring the resources in "Launching Your Job/Internship Search"?

2   -  What are two questions that you still have/what are you questioning now?

1   -  What is 1 specific action step to help answer your 2 questions?

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Photo Credit: Tiago Gerken