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The top skills to progress in an advertising career

Advertising is one of the most exciting careers around, but it also has some specific requirements. Check out these top skills you'll need to progress!
Mike Jeavons, Content Writer

The advertising industry is one that is fast-moving and ever-changing and requires employees to be skilled in a variety of areas. From knowing how to tell a good story, to managing multiple projects at the same time, having a wide range of skills is vital for progression.

But what skills are required for a career in advertising, and which skills should your employees look to improve if they want to progress within your organization?

What are some fundamental skills required in advertising?

Through advertising, you are attempting to attract your target audience so they spend money with your business. To do that, you need to connect with your audience on an emotional level - but to do that, you need to understand them. As a result, employees need a variety of skills.


One of the key marketing and advertising skills required to carve an impactful career in the industry is creativity. Creativity doesn’t just include coming up with unique ideas for campaigns, but also crosses with other skills such as problem-solving and organization.

There are many types of creativity, including copywriting, graphic design, and ideation. Creativity is a skill that can’t necessarily be learned, but it can be refined and developed so employees know how to appropriately use this important skill.

For more information, check out our blog post on how to boost your creativity.


No team member will possess all the necessary skills or time alone to ensure an advertising campaign runs smoothly, launches on time, and delivers on its KPIs. For that reason, teamwork in advertising is critical. Effective teamwork prevents unnecessary stress, shares responsibility and accountability, and allows each member of the team to play to their strengths.

Teamwork also involves knowing when to accept defeat. Employees may be passionate about their ideas and adamant that it’s the right thing to do - but others may not share the same vision. That’s why egos have to be left at home in advertising, or else employees may find that ego bruised on more than one occasion.

Communication and active listening skills

Communication is a two-way street, which means employees communicating their own ideas is just as important as listening to others. Pitching and ideation can be a collaborative process, so knowing how to communicate is important. Not only is this important within teams, but critical when it comes to pitching to clients and potential clients. Active listening will make sure employees are giving the client what they want, rather than what they think they want.

Market research and commercial awareness

In order to understand the zeitgeist and what your target audience likes, watches, reads, and spends their money on, market research and commercial awareness are key.

Knowing how to undertake market research and then collate the data to form solid conclusions is the first step of the process, and without it, you risk spending money on a campaign that your audience may not engage with. Plus, it becomes the backbone for how your brand presents itself, from tone of voice through to packaging.

Organizational and time-management skills

Advertising is a busy industry, and there are usually many different projects to work on all at once. As a result, strong organizational and time-management skills allow employees to effectively juggle their workload to continue meeting deadlines and producing work to a consistently high standard.

Social media knowledge

The social media landscape can be very different from other advertising platforms. It allows brands to instantly connect with their audience, with trends being made - and dropped - sometimes within a matter of hours.

Monitoring social media trends is important for everyone in advertising. Not only can you see what competitors are doing, but you can also ensure you remain on trend or, even better, ahead of trends.

What other skills will help boost your career?

There are many more skills required for advertising, and the more an employee develops the better and more rounded they’ll be - and the better your campaigns will perform. This includes listening to feedback, analytical skills, and flexibility.

On top of these, it’s important for those who want to progress in advertising to know how to effectively engage their audience and accurately convey a message. In order to do this, great skills to have also include:

  • Storytelling skills - in order to pull in your audience and have them engage with your brand, you need to tell a story that is relevant to them.
  • Writing skills - once you have the right ‘beats’ to your story, effectively conveying them is just as important. You need to write emotively, succinctly, and go easy on the jargon - even if what you’re writing about is complex.

What additional skills are required for managerial and directorial advertising roles?

As well as striving to develop all of the above skills, employees in managerial and directorial roles need additional skills to ensure the success of not just themselves, but also their teams. One effective way to develop these skills is via online management training.

But what advertising manager skills are needed by senior employees of your organization?

Team management

A big part of management is leading a team, which can involve plenty of strategizing, delegating, motivating, and an overall hands-off approach to many parts of the process. Mentoring, guiding, and training their teams will allow managers to support their colleagues so they can produce their best work.


Making difficult decisions can be tough, but it’s part of leading a team - even if those decisions result in a few unhappy co-workers. However, it’s also important that those decisions are guided by rationale and data so they can be backed up.

Project management

In order for projects to meet deadlines and remain on budget, advertising project management skills are also needed. Without these skills, teams may not collaborate as effectively, which can result in miscommunication, delays, and a drop in productivity and - ultimately - quality.

Conflict resolution

A manager should always strive for openness and honesty to keep conflicts to a minimum, but the reality is that there is no way to completely prevent conflicts from happening. When they do, conflict management and resolution skills can quickly and effectively overturn these, and help to prevent them from reoccurring in the future.

Feedback skills

As well as being able to accept feedback with grace and understanding, giving effective feedback is also vital. Finding the balance between being honest, constructive, and kind makes receiving feedback much more useful.

Where can you learn more about advertising?

Looking to upskill your team so they have all the skills necessary to develop their advertising careers? Go1 has a wide range of online advertising courses available to access right now.

For more insights, subscribe to the Go1 newsletter to stay on top of all the latest L&D trends. Or, you can book a demo today to find out how Go1 can help with your team’s learning needs.

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