I have a soft spot for advertising because it's where my career started! It's a fun industry full of energy, creativity and great people. It's a lot of work and many hours, but if you love being part of something great and creative, you'll enjoy yourself immensely. A great part of account management is understanding that you are ultimately responsible for the final product and that you are the middle man between both the client and your in-house creative people. Therefore, there's a lot of running around to make sure it all happens and all happens on time. You have to set timelines and adhere to them strictly. You also have to make sure both parties -- clients -- and in house creatives are happy.
Important skills to have apart from the know-how are communication, time management, detail orientation (you'll be the last person signing off on ads so they need to be perfect) and problem solving. You'll be juggling many things at once so it's important to be organized. Before you set your sights on becoming an account manager, traditionally you would start as an account executive, work your way up to supervisor and then managerial levels. So my best recommendation would be to sift through the ad agencies that interest you, depending on your location. Choose your top contenders and then dig around their Career section to see the job description and requirements they are asking for in an entry level position like an account executive or assistant. See how you fit and where your development areas are. This will also help you get a feel for their company mission and culture, which is important when you interview. You can also look into LinkedIn or job search engines like Indeed.com to see what agencies are looking for in a candidate. If you have the opportunity to Intern anywhere, I would highly recommend looking into it. It's a fantastic way to get a little experience and exposure under your belt.
I'd also recommend reading up on the recent news trends and ongoings in the ad world (AdWeek and Advertising Age are great resources). Pick a few campaigns you really love and be prepared to talk about why you think they hit the mark with audiences in case you are asked.
Hope that helps, good luck to you!
This professional recommends the following next steps:
- Narrow down your top agencies and research job descriptions for the role you are going for and how you stack up against requirements
- Get informed by reading trade magazines or joining professional associations and following the recent trends in the space
- Key soft skills: communication, problem solving, creativity, collaboration, initiative, time management, detail orientation