As students, we are constantly worried about our employment prospects at the end of our studies. We are barraged with common refrains like “you need to start networking” and are told woeful tales of the competitive market and the elusiveness of our ‘dream job’.
It all seems too much, especially with the sunny distractions South East Queensland always to offer (Dreamworld trip anyone?). However, as Queensland College of Art grad Ryan Turner proves, thinking about your career early in your degree can produce incredible results.
Ryan studied a Bachelor of Design at QCA and had always dreamed of owning his own business. Despite starting a degree in psychology, he later realized where his passion lay and pursued a career in design.
Just a few short years later, he is now the Managing Director of his own successful business, Quantico Digital. His business specializes in graphic design, digital design and development, smartphone app development, social media and online marketing – meaning he gets to work with a variety of different brands.
“The more that you can network with people in the industry you want to go into the better it is.”
One of the biggest things contributing to Ryan’s success was his early realization that networking is extremely important. Ryan’s star networking skills and proactive approach throughout university saw him land his graduate role in the same month he finished studying. During this role, he met his current business partner who has over 18 years of advertising experience. They took a chance and formed Quantico together.
“Originally, I found networking opportunities through lecturers. There wasn’t a great deal of opportunities at the time for students to meet with industry, so I started a design industry networking event at QCA.”
“As a student, the more that you can network with people in the industry you want to go into the better it is,” he says.
The outstanding qualities contributing to Ryan’s success are his tenacity and willingness to take a risk. It’s clear through his involvement with creating the networking event that Ryan creates his own opportunities – something that is critical in today’s economy. If your dream job doesn’t exist yet, why not create it?
“I had always wanted to start my own business in design”.
I had never intended on working for other people for a long time. I had been working in my graduate role for about 12 months before I decided to start my own business.
“It wasn’t easy when I left my job. It was about six months before I started to see things pick up and take off. It was a bit of a struggle at first. I don’t think at the time I saw it as something that needed courage. I knew what I wanted to do and I focused on that and did what I needed to do to get it done.”
For Ryan, the payoff for taking such a risk is evident. His business has been growing for the past 18 months, and is moving to a bigger office space to accommodate the continually expanding team.
Ryan continues to network to grow his business. In his spare time, he attends Chamber of Commerce and other business events.
So how can students get networking to emulate Ryan’s success?
“Start looking for a job well before you finish. Get an idea of where you’d like to work and who you want to work for and meet them before you graduate. Try to get to know them. It’s not hard, you just need to find out their contact details and send them an email. That can make a huge difference.”
Ryan’s top tips:
- Start looking for a job well before you finish uni.
- Network with people from your industry while you’re a student.
- Know what you want to do and focus on that.