UCL Careers


Marketing, Advertising and PR

Students at event

Across all sectors, marketing, advertising and PR techniques are used to connect with audiences and promote services.

Roles in the sector can be broadly divided into those working in house for an organisation and those working for an agency. In agency, you may experience a broader variety of projects and there is potential for more rapid career progression, whereas in house you can understand the workings of one organisation in more detail and build relationships with senior stakeholders in the company. Assess which may work best for you and research job profiles for entry level roles.

A number of agencies and large companies offer graduate-level opportunities, and smaller organisations such as charities may have vacancies that aren't specifically targeted at graduates. In addition, a large number of professionals work in the sector on a freelance basis.

If you are new to this area, watch this video (25min) to gain some insights into the sector. Sophie O'Brien, Business Director at M.i. Media provides an introduction to the Advertising/ Marketing sector. They highlight the types of organisations and roles involved in this space. They also discuss how to find work and stay up-to-date with current issues in the area. If you would like to meet them and ask follow up questions book your place at the Q&A on Thursday 3rd.

All resources are correct at the time of writing (November 2020). For updated advertising, marketing, and public relations resources, please visit the UCL Careers Online Library.

Sample roles and careers

Investigating the breath or roles within an industry can really help you understand what you are most interested in and so refine your thinking.

The Prospects website is a key resource for researching job roles within marketing, advertising and PR. Examples include:




Each job profile contains information on:

  • Types of roles available.
  • Responsibilities and what to expect in the workplace.
  • Salary.
  • Working hours.
  • Professional qualifications required.
  • Transferable skills.
  • Finding work experience.
  • Professional development and career prospects.

Some further informative sector career guides include:

  • Prospects marketing, advertising and PR sector guide – provides and overview of the UK’s marketing, advertising, and PR sectors, and information about marketing graduate schemes, jobs in marketing, marketing internships, and tips on starting a career in PR.
  • TARGETjobs sector guide – offers marketing, advertising and PR job profiles, sector insights, tips for being successful at applications and interviews, and live job and internship vacancies.
Interviews with professionals

Read through these interviews to learn more about their work, how they got there, and their advice to current students hoping to get started in the industry. You should get a feel for the work and whether it is something which interests you, but also how to break into the sector.

* Will be available to answer questions on Thursday 3rd December. Send your questions in advance.

UCL Careers blogs and news
  • 7 Things We Learned at Media Week 2019 – UCL Careers blog article with tips from Media Week 2019.
  • UCL Student media - six separate and editorially independent media outlets created and run by UCL students.
  • UCL Advertising, Marketing & PR Society – student society for those interested in advertising, marketing and PR, offering speaker events and career workshops.
  • UCL Free Hype Society - student run pro bono creative agency aimed at helping charities and organisations with their advertising, marketing and visual image. Student will gain valuable industry experience and training.
Sector news and research – where to keep up-to-date with current issues

Throughout your applications and interviews it will be vital to show an understanding of the organisation in the context of the broader industry; what it does and why it takes the approach it does. It will also be valuable to be able to discuss current issues and trends

Campaign – industry news website for the media, creative, marketing and advertising industries.

Professional bodies

Professional bodies are a great source of information, training and support. Just like the above resources, they are a great way to stay informed. In addition, it may be possible to join or create a community of people who can support you to achieve your goals. They also often have ready-made lists of organisations within an industry, these can be used to find work in less well known organisations.


  • IPA – the professional body for UK advertising agencies. The website includes a careers in advertising section, as well as industry news and an online jobs board.
  • The Advertising Association – professional association representing UK advertising. The association publishes industry reports and news pieces.


  • The Chartered Institute of Marketing – a professional body for marketing specialists worldwide. The website offers sector insights, training resources, and a careers section for those interested in the sector.


Employer directories and key job sites

These resources are essential to find jobs specific to the sector you are interested. You can also use them to find organisations to approach with a speculative application.

  • The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) – online jobs board for advertising and marketing roles.
  • The Dots - a professional network for the creative industries. Their website includes an online jobs board, company listings and networking opportunities. Free registration required to access some content.
  • Campaign Jobs – online jobs board for the media, creative, marketing and advertising industries.
  • PRWeek – online jobs board for PR and communications, plus industry news and reports from the UK and Worldwide.
  • Third Sector Jobs – jobs board for the charity and voluntary sector, including roles in marketing, PR and communications.
  • The Drum Jobs – job site and media industry news from The Drum, a global media platform.
  • The Guardian Jobs – online jobs board with opportunities in Marketing and PR.
  • Marketing Week Jobs – news website with online jobs board.
Sample graduate schemes and internships

These structured programmes can be a useful foundation in the industry, but they are not the only entry-level positions. Your competition will be high and so you may want to diversify your job hunt and look for other opportunities in less well known organisations (see previous sections).


  • AMV BBDO – the AMV Academy graduate scheme.
  • Condé Nast – offer an Advertising Sales Graduate Scheme.
  • IPA – listing of advertising agency taster programmes, including some targeted at people from diverse background under-represented in the industry.


  • MVF – offer graduate schemes and training academies.
  • GSK – run a global graduate development programme, with opportunities in sales, marketing and communications; and a summer placements in marketing.
  • Unilever – run a Future Leaders Programme with a Marketing stream.
  • Cancer Research UK – graduate scheme offering a Fundraising and Marketing stream.


  • FleishmanHillard Fishburn (FHF) – run graduate programmes dedicated to their specialist Communications Practices; Corporate Comms, Technology, Healthcare, Consumer, Public Affairs, Creative Studio, Intelligence and Social & Innovation.
  • Lewis – offer graduate programmes in digital marketing and PR.
  • BBC – deliver a Communications Trainee Scheme.
Specialist recruitment agencies

Specialist agencies can have quality industry knowledge and so perhaps help you understand roles and improve your applications. When engaging agencies, it is best to find a named person(s) to keep in contact with regularly, so don’t sign up to more agencies than you can manage, and keep them informed if you are no longer looking for work.

  • Agency Central – directory of UK recruitment agencies, including a large number who specialise in marketing, advertising and PR roles.
  • VMA Group – recruitment agency specialising in international recruitment for communications, digital and marketing.
  • Pathfinders Media Recruitment – specialist recruitment agency for media, marketing and communications.
  • Stop Gap – experts in marketing, digital and creative recruitment.
Diversity opportunities and relevant information

Many organisations are proactive in recruiting students and graduates from diverse backgrounds, see below for examples.

  • Creative Equals – run the CreativeComeback programmes, which work with creatives to bring them back to work after career breaks.
  • Brixton Finishing School – offers free advertising courses to 18-25 year olds, aimed at people from under-represented groups.
  • Taylor Bennett Foundation - a charity that exists to encourage black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) graduates to pursue a career in communications. They run an annual PR training programme, plus internship and mentoring programmes.

To investigate the attitudes and processes of employers, you can review their equality and diversity policies and check if they are a Disability Confident employer or are recognised as a ‘Mindful Employer’ or as a ‘Stonewall’s Diversity Champion’.