For those thinking about a career in advertising media or those who have just started out, the following may help answer a few of your general questions:

Why Work in Media?

"There are lots of great things about working in media, like the diversity, dynamism and financial rewards, but above all else, it's about the people. Media has a knack of attracting great people. So whether you're planning, persuading, generating ideas, explaining, collaborating, buying, selling or socialising people who think fast, communicate clearly and can have some fun along the way tend to do well in this business.
Jeremy Tester, Director of Insight, Sky Media


Routes into Media

There are two main options for starting in media. You can either join a media owner or a media agency. There are other opportunities but these two routes encompass more than 90% of all the jobs in media. In this section we describe both these areas and answer some of the most frequently-asked questions.

What do Media Agencies do?

A media agency’s role is to advise its clients on which media to use to meet the particular marketing objectives they have set. This advice – media planning - is based on extensive knowledge of the media and their audiences and creates a programme of activity called a media plan.

Once agreed with the client, the plan is implemented by the agency’s buyers. Their job is to negotiate the best spots and spaces at the very best rates they can. Most media agencies cover all the main media from television and press to cinema, outdoor, digital and direct marketing.

The range of media grows year after year making the agency’s role more challenging as well as interesting. Some media agencies specialise in a particular media for example there are a growing number of Digital agencies and Direct Marketing agencies.

What do Media Owners do?

The media are in the business of producing programmes or newspapers, magazines etc. They produce editorial content designed to appeal to various consumer or business audiences. There is a colossal variety of media in the UK, and their number has been growing rapidly in recent years.

Much – sometimes all – the income that the media make comes from advertising of some sort. The media owners have departments of people responsible for selling advertising time and space. This makes for a challenging and fulfilling career, and many opportunities exist for young people to join the media industry in this way.

Opportunities exist in both the sales area, where the role involves persuading agency planners and buyers of the merits of a particular medium and that the price is attractive and competitive, and in the marketing area, where the role entails building relationships with the client community and providing the sales teams with the research and back-up they need.

What skills will I require?

Both media agency and media sales people spend most of their time interacting with and influencing other people. Developing good Interpersonal and Communication skills is therefore imperative, along with a sociable, outgoing personality. Organisational skills such as multi-tasking and prioritising are needed on a daily basis. Numeracy is critical as, whichever side of the fence you are on, you will be working with a lot of data and dealing with large sums of money. Creative thought processes are particularly relevant to the Media Planning roles within agencies and the Marketing/Sales Support roles within Media Owners. Perhaps most importantly, people in media need to have the passion and drive to succeed. Lots of the top people are entrepreneurial types.

Is there a typical media 'career path'?

Both media owners and agencies run career development and training courses for their employees. Career progress can be rapid, generally moving through a series of disciplines and management levels within a company. After only a very few years it is possible to be in a position of managing others. The current managing directors of a number of the large media groups cut their teeth in media planning/buying/selling. There are also a number of entrepreneurs within the media industry who have set up their own companies. In other words, the heights you will reach depend entirely on you.

What training will I get?

Each company will have its own training programme reflecting the specific needs of the company. In addition to this many media companies take advantage of industry wide, open courses, such as those supplied by Media Circle, in order to develop specific skills and/or give their people a broader perspective of the industry.

When should I apply for a job in media?

Jobs become available all year round with both media owners and media agencies. Most companies will always be interested in seeing applicants with a good CV and covering letter, although they may then keep them 'on file' until a position becomes available. The larger companies will also have a regular annual graduate intake, usually in September, so June / July is a good time to apply.

Where can I go for more information?

Most of the media owners and agencies have their own websites, many of which contain a recruitment section.