Are you familiar with the term “crapshoot?” Well, that perfectly describes your chances of landing an advertising sales job. Start with a college degree or previous sales experience, and you find yourself with an edge even before you place your bets. Focus on a major metro market, and preferably on the growing online or cable advertising scene, and your odds improve even more.
On the other hand, if you're right out of high school and have no demonstrable sales skills, metro area employers probably won't take a chance on you. You might have more luck with a smaller company with more relaxed hiring criteria. Of course, all bets are off if you're trying to find a newspaper, magazine or telephone directory ad sales job. These industries have seen their sales (and their advertising sales opportunities) steadily decrease for several years.
But you just might have an ace in the hole. Let's say you have previous experience in a specific field, and you want to sell advertising for a publication that serves that field. For example, your nursing experience might qualify you to sell ads to a nursing-focused magazine. If you build hot rods in your spare time, you might land a job selling ad space on a performance vehicle cable channel. So don't be afraid to think out of the box and play beyond the “Pass” line. Not that you should recognize any “craps” terminology at your age.