3 Pieces of Advice For Everyone Starting A Career In Digital Advertising

How do I start getting into Digital Advertising? Here’s your answer:

Tony Papoutsakis
3 min readSep 4, 2017


In late 2016, I suited up to speak to the bright witted and curious Marketing club at Westfield State University, my alma mater. The crowd of Juniors and eager Seniors were avidly curious but equality unsure about what you really need to know to begin a career in Digital Advertising.

Questions & answers flowed, but three big pieces advice stood out. These were the fundamentals that get you started in figuring out which path is right for you, give you an understanding of the landscape, and get you ahead for employment or internships.

This is the advice I shared with the club, the advice I wish I knew from the start of my career, and the advice I hope any new digital marketing you know that you share this with finds useful.

Top 3 Pieces of Advice

  1. Learn Digital Marketing basics.
  • Know the fundamentals to decide your path
  1. Choose an agency that matches you.
  • Find an agency that fits your goals.
  • Get the conversation started early to circumvent the resume process.
  1. Follow Marketing new & blogs.
  • Which sources to start following

1) Teaching Yourself the Basics

Being aware of the digital marketing landscape will put you ahead when applying for internships and jobs — trust me. Agencies know colleges don’t teach digital advertising. They are interviewing for initiative and potential above all else. Show them those qualities by teaching yourself basics, especially terminology.

Most digital agency jobs revolve around these subjects:

2) Choosing an Agency That Matches You

  • Small agencies = more freedom and responsibility
  • Large agencies = narrower focus & more guidance

For internships and jobs, type, size, and location of the agency you start at will determine the direction you are able to [more easily] take. At larger agencies, positions are narrowly focused. You will likely refine a specific skill but dispensable. At smaller agencies, there is less guidance and responsibilities change

At larger agencies, positions are narrowly focused. You will likely refine a specific skill but dispensable. At smaller agencies, there is less guidance and responsibilities change rapidly but offer more work freedom and job indispensability.

Agencies in cities are typically a couple years ahead on market trends, while agencies in other areas can lag. Smaller area’s advertising agencies are generally two years behind larger cities in terms of upcoming marketing technology and clients willing to pay for them.

My suggestion — Regardless of where you want to settle your marketing career, find an internship or entry-level job in a larger agency in the city if possible. This will provide more opportunity to learn from experienced marketers and boost your resume — even if it’s out of your comfort zone.

Don’t think you’ll get the internship/job? Start the conversation early — find the decision makers at your desired agency. Many higher-up marketers have their own blogs, side projects, and websites. Research the agency and the decisions maker’s portfolio. Reach out via email, Linkedin, or even better, find them at an event! Introduce yourself, show genuine interest in them, their work, and the agency. Do whatever works for you, but getting a conversation started will set you apart from faceless resumes.

3) Following Marketing News and Blogs

Digital marketing isn’t what it was a year or even a week ago. The BIGGEST mistake I see is relying on stale knowledge. Follow multiple blogs with an app like Feedly to easily stay up to date.

It’s important to follow updates on platforms (like Snapchat, Facebook, Google AdWords), new technology (like account based marketing), and evolving strategies so that you can stay competitive and avoid mistakes.

Here are some resources I follow:


If you found this useful or would like another email like this, I’d love to know! Feel free to email me with questions.

Have questions or critiques? Leave a comment below and we can chat.



Tony Papoutsakis

I write to help think about the every-day challenged we all face, and to motivate people into taking on life.