There’s a common misconception that the only skill required in the advertising industry is creativity. This is far from the truth. A career in advertising requires a broad set of skills to complete a diverse range of tasks from placing small advertorials in newspapers to coming up with full-fledged marketing campaigns for new products.
Nowadays, advertisers are looking for people who not only come up with great ideas, but who can also accurately measure the success of their campaigns. Above all, to succeed in this highly competitive field you will need to have the right drive, ambition and determination.
Here are five skills required by employers in the Middle East to get hired and eventually succeed in the advertising industry:
Good communication skills
The basis of advertising is communication. From commercials on TV and pop-ups on the Internet to advertising on billboards and bus stations, the messages the average person sees per day are endless. Due to this saturation in messages, effective communication to a specific target audience is the key to making advertisements stand out and get results. Being bilingual is an additional advantage in the Middle East as 55 percent of employers in the region are looking for individuals who have good communication skills in both English and Arabic. And while 39 percent of these employers are after people with good negotiation skills, advertising professionals are also required to be able to communicate and discuss their ideas with clients in a clear and effective manner.
Leadership and team spirit
Successful team players are able to interact effectively with others and acknowledge and respect different points of view, while leaders are the ones who create a positive working environment and take responsibility for the direction and actions of a team. In the Middle East, 32 percent of advertising employers are looking for candidates who are leaders by nature, while 52 percent of employers want to hire team players. Successful advertising professionals should not only understand the essence of teamwork, but also display the ability to motivate and supervise others should the need arise.
Sound technical skills
Often, advertising professionals treat the commercial and creative aspects of a campaign as two separate entities. This usually leads to poorly conceived campaigns and dissatisfied clients. As 23 percent of employers require technical skills in a new hire as a prerequisite for hiring, advertising professionals need to know how to measure campaign success, reach, perception and effectiveness, in addition to its creative aspect. In fact, an advertising professional who has the ability to conceptualize creative ideas, keeping in mind the client’s needs, is highly appreciated by employers.
The ability to work under pressure
Handling client demands can get stressful at times, and individuals who can make the best of every situation will stand out. In fact, 35 percent of advertising employers look for individuals who have the ability to work under pressure; another 35 percent of them are looking for candidates with the ability to take on challenges. Working under pressure and tight deadlines is commonplace in advertising, and procrastination will not get you far. Regardless of the type of agency you work for, you will have to learn to handle multiple accounts at a time sooner or later.
Though it cannot work alone, the most obvious skill required in advertising is creativity. 48 percent of employers in the Middle East say that creativity is the most important skill to have in a new hire, and 87 percent of professionals are increasingly being expected to think creatively at work. As an advertising professional, you should stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends by reading industry-specific magazines, websites and blogs. This will inspire you for future projects and campaigns. You should also keep a portfolio of your creative projects handy at all times, and keep updating it as you gain more experience. Additionally, you could launch your own website or even start a blog to build your brand. Whatever you do, remember that being search-engine friendly is the first step to getting yourself noticed by employers and it is imperative that you amp up your online presence at all times.