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Recruiting Timelines & Methods

Recruiting Timelines

It is important to note that many advertising, marketing and PR firms may not be as active during the standard on-campus recruiting periods. Employers in these fields may operate on a different schedule based on full-time and internship need. Because of this, it is common for these employers to do their heavy recruiting in the spring.

Stay updated on hiring cycles by regularly checking Handshake for new postings, as well as company websites for open positions. Employers in these industries looking to attend a career fair on campus often attend the career fair sponsored by Medill and School of Communication held in April, which is open to all Northwestern students.   There are several local and national career events for these fields sponsored by professional organizations, which are listed in the Get Involved section of this webpage.

Recruiting Methods

Below are a few pointers when gathering more information about the advertising, marketing, and PR fields:

  • Building a strong network is highly recommended when establishing yourself in these industries. Use previous colleagues, classmates, professors, alumni, and connect regularly to develop a relationship. Employers often recruit based on contacts they already have.
On-campus Activity
  • In these three fields especially, each employer’s recruiting strategy is different. Some will attend events on campus such as career fairs, info sessions or networking nights, while others will just post a job in Handshake. To ensure you do not miss an opportunity to connect with an employer, check Handshake regularly to see who is attending upcoming career fairs, info sessions and/or industry specific events, as well as new job postings.
  • As for interviews, employers do not typically schedule on-campus recruiting. They will often set up their own interviewing schedule and timeline, which will be noted in their job posting on Handshake.
  • If these companies run an internship program, it is not uncommon for them to fill their full time positions from the intern pool. Again, it is critical to have relevant internship experience before looking for a full time position in the field.
  • Companies tend to hire on a need based cycle. Unlike consulting and finance hiring, most will not recruit for a large “class” of full time or internship hires. 
Social Media
  • In these industries especially, a current and relevant social media presence is essential to connecting with employers and keeping up with trends in the field. Being active on Twitter and LinkedIn can show employers that you are familiar with different platforms and understand the importance of engaging via social media.
  • Talk to your advisor at NCA if you have questions about your social media pages and profiles.


Examples of Advertising, Marketing and PR Firms

  • DeVries Global
  • FCB Chicago
  • Ipsos
  • IRI
  • Leo Burnett
  • Ogilvy & Mather
  • Starcom Worldwide

** While these are just a few examples of well-known companies, it is important to remember that you can find advertising, marketing, and public relations opportunities through almost any employer. Most companies have departments or positions dedicated specifically to these functions.

Portfolio or “Finishing” School

For some students interested in pursuing a creative position within advertising or marketing, portfolio school can be one way to build up design skills and develop a personal portfolio. This is an option for students looking to gain design skills in a hands-on, intensive, professional setting. Courses are often taught by industry professionals so the one or two year program can lead to some valuable networking connections.

Portfolio School is not a graduate program; students do not receive a degree upon completion. It is simply an opportunity to build design and creative advertising skills. Portfolio School is not for everyone and whether it is right for you depends on your skills, level of experience and your goals within the industry.