By Billy Dowling-Reid | 14 September 2016
Graduating from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016, Callum recently started working with Bauer Media as a Creative Writer, generating ideas and writing radio scripts for the network's clients. His CV also includes stints as a Broadcast Liaison Officer with the Pleasance Theatre Trust and a Marketing Internship with the Scottish Professional Football League.
What has it been like transitioning from being a student to taking the first steps in building your career?
Callum: The transition has been fairly easy because I suppose I never really feel much like a typical ‘student.’ University was always a means to an end for me – a way of getting the money, time and contacts to make all the free work experience I was doing viable. I always wanted to work in the creative industries and always sought a wide range of experiences. My advertising and PR degree was interesting but I didn’t really feel like I had achieved anything until I got this job. That was always what it was about for me. In my head I’ve been doing this work for years already and now I just have a fairly useless piece of paper to say I’m officially quite good at it.
You have been working with Bauer Media as a Creative Writer since May 2016. What does the job involve and what have you learned from the role thus far?
Callum: The job is to get Bauer’s advertisers noticed and remembered. I do a lot of scriptwriting for radio adverts - which I love because it’s such a challenge. How do I get your attention and make you buy something in 30 seconds using just sound? We go beyond radio though - we try to come up with wider integrated campaigns for clients involving digital and other media. A good idea will work on any medium. What have I learned? Coming up with creative ideas that actually work is hard. Pitching your ideas to people who don’t think like you is even harder. The commercial side of things was something I never thought would interest me but I have actually found it fascinating. That’s been quite a learning curve but it’s an important part of what we do. Advertising isn’t art – it has to pay the bills.
In what ways do you think media students, graduates and job seekers can utilise both online and offline platforms to stand out from the crowd and make themselves more appealing to potential employers?
Callum: Beyond the obvious stuff (have an online presence; make sure it’s professional; that you’re easily found; show off your best work etc), a word on ‘networking...’ When I was at uni we used to be sent to these awkward, cringe-inducing ‘networking events’ where everyone pretends to hang on the every word of some mid-ranking marketing person from a bank and then the next day they get 20 identical emails asking for an internship. I’m quite cynical about that sort of thing. I think ‘networking’ can work but it has to be authentic. I’ve always gone out and found the people who do the thing I want to do – the Head of Creative at Bauer was one of them – and get in touch asking specific questions, showing my work etc. For that to work you have to be genuinely interested, curious and useful to them. That’s hard and takes more time and thought but it works - online and offline.
Thinking back to your student days beginning in 2012, what advice would you give to your younger, student self, or to anyone else in a similar situation?
Callum: ‘Calm down. Stop stressing about the future. You’re still young. You know where you’re going and you’ll get there.’ I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was about 16 which is an advantage in a lot of ways. But it also made me very impatient. That slightly obsessive focus and drive has worked out for the best but I could’ve probably spent more time enjoying the freedom of actually being a student. Other advice for 2012 Me – actually bloody pass your driving test and spend less of your student loan on trainers.
You can follow Callum on Twitter via @cal_tyler and check out his SoundCloud.