About 149,900 advertising account executives work in the United States. Advertising agencies all across the country and abroad employ advertising account executives. The American Association of Advertising Agencies served more than 600 member agencies (1,200 offices) that collectively controlled about about 85 percent of advertising spending in the United States. Large firms located in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles tend to dominate the industry. One in five firms and one in four people in the industry live in either California or New York. However, most organizations employ fewer than 10 people. These "small shops" offer employment opportunities for account executives with experience, talent, and flexibility.
Many people aspiring to the job of account executive participate in internships or begin as assistant account executives, allowing them to work with clients, study the market, and follow up on client service. This work gives students a good sense of the rhythm of the job and the type of work required of account executives.
College graduates, with or without experience, can start their job search in the school career services office. Staff there can set up interviews and help polish resumes.
The advertising arena is rich with opportunities. When looking for employment, you don't have to target agencies. Instead, search for jobs with large businesses that may employ advertising staff. If you want to work at an agency, you'll find the competition intense. Once hired, account executives often participate in special training programs that both initiate them and help them to succeed.
Since practical experience and a broad base of knowledge are often required of advertising account executives, many employees work their way up through the company, from assistant to account executive to account manager and finally to department head. In smaller agencies, where promotions depend on experience and leadership, advancement may occur slowly. In larger firms, management training programs are often required for advancement. Continuing education is occasionally offered to account executives in these firms, often through local colleges or special seminars provided by professional societies.
The American Association of Advertising Agencies offers an advertising agency search engine at its Web site, https://ams.aaaa.org/eweb/contentwp.aspx?webcode=findagency. Use it to search for potential job leads.
Visit https://jobs.aaf.org/ for job listings.
Participate in internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office or professional associations. The American Advertising Federation offers information on its internship programs at https://www.aaf.org.