How To Become An Advertising Media Planner

As an Advertising Media Planner, you would be responsible for deciding the best ways of reaching your company’s target audience. You would work with media like radio and television, press advertising, the internet and posters.

This position demands good communication and people skills and employers are usually interested more in your personal attributes than formal qualifications.

Skills, interests and qualities

A good Advertising Media Planner has:

  • excellent communication skills
  • good negotiation and presentation skills
  • persuasiveness, tact and confidence
  • skill in interpreting and analysing statistics
  • strong computer skills
  • the ability to work as part of a team and with a range of different clients
  • the ability to work to deadlines and in a pressurised environment
  • a good grasp of business and the media
  • a professional manner

The work

Your job as an Advertising Media Planner would be varied and your duties could include:

  • meeting clients with an account executive to understand the client’s needs
  • carrying out research on the target audience to assess their reading habits, TV viewing preferences and lifestyles
  • using appropriate media monitoring organisations
  • planning the best times and places to broadcast advertisements
  • presenting costs and plans to clients
  • working with media buyers to cost and book advertising space
  • working with creative teams, members of the advertising team and researchers
  • building and developing relationships with the media

You would usually expect to manage several accounts simultaneously and in smaller agencies you may also work in media buying.


You would usually work Monday to Friday but when there are deadlines to be met, you could work longer than a standard 9am to 5pm day. 

Primarily office based, you could also be asked to travel to meet media owners and clients.


Starting salary

£18,000 to £22,000 per annum

With experience

£25,000 to £45,000 per annum

Senior planners

In excess of £60,000 per annum

Entry requirements

Employers look for applicants’ personal qualities; creativity, business acumen and the ability to think on your feet, rather than formal qualifications.

That said, advertising is a very competitive industry and a BTEC, HND or degree in one of the following subjects might be advantageous:

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  • advertising
  • statistics or operational research
  • marketing
  • media studies and communication
  • psychology
  • business management

You would usually expect to start in a more junior position and work your way up as you gain industry experience. If you can get work experience in an advertising agency before you begin job hunting, it would be helpful. A good place to look for vacancies is the Work Experience section of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) website. 

To find out if you have what it takes for a career in advertising, check out the Diagonal Thinking website.

Training and development

You would usually begin your career in a junior position and undertake skills development and further training whilst you work. You could also work towards qualifications from professional associations such as:

  • IPA Foundation Certificate
  • IPA Advanced Certificate
  • IPA Excellence Diploma
  • Communication Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation (CAM) Diploma in Marketing Communications

There are many other short courses you could take to help keep your skills and knowledge up to date, details of which can be found on the IPA website and Account Planning Group website.


Advertising is an extremely popular career choice for graduates and it’s a really competitive industry to get into. You could have a look in the national press and trade publications for job vacancies or approach agencies direct.

Given the competitive and high pressure nature of the industry it is clearly not a career for everyone. If you want to be successful in this career you need to be fully committed and willing to fight for your position. Good Luck. 

The following websites have vacancies listed and also offer further useful reading.  (Campaign) (Creative Review) (Marketing Week) (Media Guardian) (Major Players)  ( (Bubble – Digital Career Portal)




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