How to Get an Ad Sales Job

If you’ve been studying marketing or advertising throughout your time in college, you likely already know a bit about the important role that ad sales plays in the digital media landscape. Even if you don’t, you might be interested in working for a great digital platform and are curious about how you can get your foot in the door.

To find out the ins and outs of advertising sales, we filmed a video interview with Snapchat Creative Strategist Sam Goodman and got some great advice on how recent grads can get started in the industry.

What does it actually mean to be in ad sales?

“There are a lot of different ways that you can be involved in ad sales. You can be involved in advertising on the brand side, at an agency, or for a publisher or platform,” Sam explains. In fact, because ad sales involves selling advertising space on websites and social media platforms, it’s one of the most integral parts of the digital media industry and a key entry point for those interested in working in a dynamic and innovative field.

How do you get into ad sales without any experience?

Getting started in ad sales without experience might seem intimidating at first, but it really doesn’t need to be. According to Sam, the key is being persistent. “If you’re passionate about it, that will show in any interview,” he says, emphasizing that you can learn a lot from reading trade publications like Ad Age and Digiday while you’re still in college.

Pro Tip: Sam also suggests doing internships and taking on brand ambassador roles to advertise local and national businesses on your campus. This will give you a great sense of what it means to represent a brand and help you build your knowledge base so that you can land a full-time position.

What are the main entry-level roles in ad sales?

“Planners tend to be good entry-level points, both on the publishing side and on the agency side,” Sam says. And the great news is that these roles are among the most popular in the field, meaning that there are plenty of opportunities for you to find a position right out of college.

If you really want to learn a lot as quickly as possible, Sam recommends going the agency route. “You’re going to get a good understanding of everything, both working with a brand and working with a publisher. From there you can jump off and figure out what it is that works best for your skill set,” he says.

How can recent grads make themselves stand out to hiring managers?

Although there is a lot of competition in ad sales, Sam emphasizes that it’s definitely possible to stand out from the pack. The key is going the extra mile. “It can be as simple as sending a handwritten thank you note. You’d be amazed how far those go,” he says, explaining that it shows a level of dedication most people don’t have.

The real secret however, is getting creative. “You can find unique ways to use the platform that you’re applying to,” Sam explains. “At Snapchat, we recently had an interviewee drop a thank you geofilter over the office the day after interviewing.” Needless to say, the candidate made a great impression by not only going above and beyond what was expected, but by also showing that she understood the platform and how to use it effectively.

Finally, what’s the one piece of advice all college students and recent grads need?

Although ad sales has its own unique characteristics and challenges, there’s one piece of career advice that definitely applies to all students and recent grads: Don’t waste your time. “College is a unique point in our lives where we have resources available and time available to do a number of things,” Sam explains. “Try to find something you’re passionate about, experiment a little bit and make sure that you take advantage of your time on campus.”

As a rapidly growing part of digital media, ad sales offers fantastic opportunities to build your skill set while also learning more about an innovative industry. The key to landing an ad sales job, especially at a great platform like Snapchat, is to learn as much as possible about advertising while also representing your skills and experience effectively in an interview. And above all, don’t be afraid to get creative. This will help you stand out to employers and be at the top of their minds when they’re ready to make an offer.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as The Ultimate Guide to Interviewing for an Ad Sales Job and find answers to common interview questions such as Are You Willing to Travel?