Where are you now and how did you get there?
I am co-manager of a creative co-working space (Framework Melbourne) and a fast-growing boutique creative agency (Light Creative). I formerly worked as a consultant and freelancer in marketing, editing and copywriting positions. I have had short term contracts with various companies around the world, which has allowed me to travel extensively and enrol in my Masters of Communication without sacrificing my ability to earn.
I found the best way to find work in the industry is to make yourself as available as possible and take on any pro bono and volunteer positions that interest you. You never know where the next job will come from and every contact you make, every role you tackle, makes your CV look better and better. I have personally found much of my work online and have caught the interest of employers thanks to taking on travel writing gigs (which were largely incredibly poorly paid) while I backpacked around the world immediately after I completed my undergrad.
Why did you choose to study Media?
Throughout high school I developed a keen interest in both film and radio. I was an avid writer and an enthusiastic (although not particularly skilful) musician. I saw media as a way to combine all of these interests. Despite media studies being my very worst grade in VCE, I enrolled in a media based degree so that I could further explore my curiosity in all of the above disciplines while leaving my options open.
In a broader social sense (my second major was Sociology), I had inherited a passion for politics from my family and saw the media as a crucial cog in the democratic machine. I saw how a poorly run and or regulated mass media could be detrimental to the knowledge base of the general public and consequently the desired functionality of a democratically elected parliament. If more people properly understood the workings of the media, and if professionals within the industry are honest and aware of the power they wield, perhaps the world would be a better place.
Before you started your degree, what did you think you would like to do? Have you achieved or changed this goal?
When I enrolled at Swinburne I was still unsure as to where my career would lead. My main interests lay in broadcast media and if pressed I would have guessed I may have ended up behind the scenes in television or on the air in radio – and you never know I still might!
However, throughout my tertiary education I honed my writing and editing skills and found that, along with the digital revolution of media as a whole and the popularisation of social media, the ability to produce and creatively present written content was a skill that would allow me a lot of freedom in a professional sense.
These days I still like to keep my options open. I find that in a progressive industry you never stop learning and the more varied your skill set the more versatile roles you can tackle.
What is the best aspect of your job?
Most of my work in recent years has been telecommute, allowing me to work from home and manage my own schedule. This lets me keep every week different to the next with a day of work consisting of anything from graphic design and social media updates to line-by-line copy editing and creative writing.
Best of all, if I am organised I can make time for travel and a healthy social life that isn’t restricted to Friday after work drinks. I have also managed to continue my studies since re-basing myself in Melbourne and am excited to be completing my masters halfway through 2013.
What advice would you give to current students?
University is much more than getting a piece of paper. It is a great place to start networking, both with your fellow students and your tutors/lecturers. If there is an opportunity to engage in industry work experience or join a student organisation that will build your technical skills then don’t pass it up.
Grades aren’t everything. Take notice of the specific feedback you get after each assignment and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You want to come out the other side of a commitment as time consuming and expensive as a university degree with a bank of knowledge and an improved skill set, not just an extra line under the education section of your CV. Employers are just as interested in your people skills and eagerness to attack the job as they are in the actual percentage marks you got in your final exams.
Anything else you would like to add?
The digital world is here to stay. The media industry is going through drastic changes every year and roles that existed when I finished my degree a few years ago have completely transformed. Always be open to learning something new, you never know what might come to you easily and lead to that next big breakthrough in your career.