A brave move to Sydney for an administration job in media gave Laura the foot in the door she needed – just under a year later she is now the Advertising Art Director at Pat Callinan Media. Responsible for the management and design of advertising and editorial for both print and digital magazine titles, Laura’s degree set her up to succeed in a challenging and ever-changing industry.
Q&A with Laura
What was the biggest change for you going to university after being at school?
"Moving four hours away from home. I grew up in the small country town of Chinchilla. I first started at another university but ended up swapping to USC because I wasn’t happy with the degree.
USC suited me better because it was friendlier and more like the country town experience I was familiar with. It was a real eye-opener moving away from home but everyone was friendly and happy to help."
Did you have any struggles at uni?
"Around second year. I wanted to quit because I thought the degree wasn’t what I wanted to do. 3D is competitive and everyone told me to get a job I would have to go overseas. But, I decided to stick with it because I only had a year to go and I thought I could study another degree if I wanted to later.
In the last six months of my degree, I absolutely loved it! It was the internship at the end! I didn’t really like advertising where I had to do assignments and create three ads at a time. You would get a month to do them and I would hate pouring over a headline and constantly changing it but in the internship I was doing five advertisement designs in a day in a quick turnaround and I absolutely loved it. The internship was the best part of my degree and I have ended up doing advertising for my current job!"
Was USC a supportive environment?
"If you want the support, it’s definitely there. The technical help is there and it’s very helpful. I remember in my first year seeing people with no idea on how to use the computers in our digital design course. But they persevered and through the technical help sessions knew how to use everything by the end of the first semester."
How hard was it to get a job after finishing uni?
"I would give this advice to others - don’t get solely locked into what you did in your degree to get a job initially. I applied for 20 jobs in one day and did quite a few interviews. I did a couple of jobs in related areas, which were real eye-openers. Then I applied for my current job, it came up in an ad on Facebook funnily enough. The job was administrative, but it was in a media company and I was surrounded by design and advertising. I was only in that role for a couple of months before I was promoted and my current title is Advertising Art Director. Don’t be picky in applying for work, just get a foot in the door.
I graduated in November 2013 and by March 2014 I had the media company job in Sydney working in advertising."