There are a number of differing opinions about the ideal advertising candidate but nearly everyone can agree on the importance of passion. The business of advertising can be very challenging at the outset. There are some growing pains to manage and dues to pay, so agencies are looking for people who are passionate about the business of advertising. Passion is best demonstrated via industry knowledge of roles and responsibilities, hot agencies and great campaigns.

For most entry-level positions, interviewers will expect you to be able to explain exactly why an ad is good or bad. There are no clear right or wrong answers but they will expect your opinion to be based on something other than personal preference or subjectivity. You will need to look at ads as agency people do. Regardless of the position you are seeking, search out people (or even friends of friends) with agency experience. Many agency people were once in your shoes (on the outside looking in) and are sympathetic to your plight. Call and see if you can book an information interview at an agency.

For a list of advertising agencies that are members of the ICA, go to