What Types of Skills Are Best for an Advertising Major?

Advertising may seem like it’s all about creating amazing ads, but there’s a lot more than goes into it than that. What sorts of skills will you need if you want to succeed in your college’s advertising major? Here are the top six skills you need to have when embarking on this major.

Communication skills

Above all, advertising is about being able to communicate thoughts, feelings and emotions to consumers through various mediums, whether that be a television commercial, a print ad in a magazine or a website banner ad.

In addition, you’ll also have to be able to present your thoughts and findings to peers, professors and potentially even clients while in college, so having a strong knack for pitching ideas and explaining your thought process to others is crucial to your success as an advertising major.


Do you have a knack for coming up with wacky ideas and finding outside-of-the-box ways to execute them? Advertising may be the perfect major for you. In your classes, you’ll be able to put your best ideas to the test, figuring out ways to take your concepts from brainstorm to full product.

If coming up with ideas on the spot and tweaking them accordingly is something that thrills you, studying advertising in college is a great option.

Ability to take criticism

Because advertising is a mix of opinions and data, you’ll have to be able to take feedback from peers and professors alike when your idea needs to be tweaked or scrapped entirely. Advertising majors need to be able to run with any idea and also not get too fixated on a particular plan, as things change all the time.

Analytical/quantitative skills

Think advertising is all about making interesting or funny graphics? Think again! Advertising majors not only learn the ins and outs of psychology and design, but they also need to be able to understand how to analyze and interpret data.

For example, what does it mean if consumers are responding to a particular ad? How can that ad be made more effective? What does it mean if it isn’t effective? These are all key questions that need to be answered.

Knowledge of media trends

Since advertising relies heavily on the ability to capitalize on trends, it’s important for advertising majors to be on top of things that are trending in the industry and in the news. In addition to being interested in the types of ad campaigns and news stories that are most engaging, advertising majors also need to have an understanding of why certain things work when others don’t.

Problem-solving skills

Advertising is all about solving two majors problems: First, what are you to convey to your audience, and how does that support or conflict with your audience’s desires? Second, how can you pivot your ideas depending on how your particular campaign is going?

Advertising majors spend a lot of time discussing and working on these two problems across the board, so if you love tackling challenge after challenge, it’s a great major for you to consider.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is an Advertising Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Tell Me About Yourself.