Advertising Sales Executive Job Description


Advertising sales executives, also called account executives or sales representatives, sell advertising to businesses and advertising agencies for various media companies, such as television and radio stations, websites, magazines, newspapers and telephone directories. Because advertising generates such a large share of revenue, sales executives play a key role in most of these companies.

Job Duties

  • Most advertising sales executives call on clients and potential clients at their places of business, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Survival means acquiring new business, so many sales executives spend time setting up appointments with and visiting prospective clients. To build strong relationships, a sales executive learns about the client's needs and presents an advertising plan with ad samples and cost estimates, and may include more than one advertising medium.

    If a client agrees to a contract, the advertising sales executive serves as the go-between for the client and the company, making sure the media plan runs correctly, and may help with the client's production needs. An advertising sales executive also analyzes data, monitor competitors and develop sales tools such as media kits.

Education and Training

  • Some entry-level advertising sales executive positions require only a high school diploma, but the labor bureau reports that larger companies often prefer candidates with a college degree. Once the candidate gains sales experience and shows effective communication skills, educational achievements become less important to potential employers. Some traits that employers look for when hiring advertising sales executives include honesty, likability, organization, creativity and persistence. Most training occurs on the job, either formally or informally.

Work Environment

  • Selling advertising creates stress, as an advertising sales executive's income and job security depend on her ability to maintain current clients, find new clients and meet sales quotas. Rejections add stress as well. Many advertising sales executives work more than 40 hours per week, the BLS says, with irregular hours that can include weekends and holidays. However, many advertising sales executives set their own hours to some extent, and in 2008, 10 percent worked part time, according to BLS data.

Employment Outlook

  • The labor bureau predicts employment for advertising sales executives will increase about 7 percent between 2008 and 2018. Growth in cable channels and online advertisers likely will offset some of the anticipated decline in employment by print media companies. Additionally, job openings come from sales executives changing professions or leaving the labor force. Although the number of openings will fluctuate with the business cycle, experienced sales executives can expect an excellent overall employment outlook.


  • Advertising sales executives usually receive most of their income through commissions based on sales, and bonuses based on sales or other measurements of the individual, sales department or company. According to the BLS, the median annual income for an advertising sales executive in May 2008 was $43,480, including commissions. While the top 10 percent earned more than $93,600, the lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,620.

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