Didn’t go to college for advertising? Me neither.

I have a B.A. in broadcast journalism, which I obtained at SUNY Oswego. I completed two internships, Vice News in Brooklyn and CNY Central in Syracuse and worked part-time in a newsroom before graduating in May 2020 (great timing, right?). My first official job out of school is what led me to the Queen City. Of course, I was excited for this new opportunity in a new city, but thanks to COVID-19, nothing was how I expected it to be.

The pandemic changed all aspects of life: the average workday, how people bought groceries, when and how movies were released, and yes, even the news. When I decided on journalism in college, I thought I’d be covering all kinds of stories – from fun and uplifting to heartbreaking and uncomfortable. Instead, as a News Producer I found myself gathering the latest information on the rising COVID numbers and daily death tolls. Reporting day after day after day on this scary, life-threatening virus took a toll on my mental health. I was feeling drained, miserable, and uninspired. And, like many other companies, my station fell victim to the Great Resignation.

After taking time to reflect on where I was and where I wanted to be in five years, I realized I needed a change. I reviewed my skill set and what I learned working in news, and then I did my best to align my experience to the opportunities out there. And so, after tons of research and completing the interview process here at Crowley Webb, I decided to take a leap of faith and give advertising a go.

My point is, there are a lot of different skills that can make you valuable at an advertising agency – even if you didn’t go to college for that. And my story isn’t that different from a lot of the folks here. Here’s how some of my colleagues made their way into advertising:

“I started out at St. Bonaventure pursuing a degree in journalism. After my freshman year, the school added a strategic communication and digital media program, so I made the switch! Fun fact though, I technically only took one PR class and learned most of what I know from a post-grad PR internship.”

– Jillian Hammell, PR Manager

“My major in college was communication design, but I worked in printing to help pay for school and found myself more valuable as someone who could speak both the design and print languages. This industry and production work was the perfect fit for me to do that. I get to be hands on and creative at the same time. Never thought I would end up in advertising.”

– Matt McCarthy, Sr. Production Manager

“I went to college for business administration with concentrations in finance. Right out of college, I got a job in GEICO’s management development program. While at GEICO, I realized management wasn’t in my wheelhouse, and I did try to get into a marketing job there but was unsuccessful. Eventually, I left GEICO and took a pay cut to get an entry-level digital marketing job. Fast forward eight years later and here we are.”

– Courtney Walczak, Sr. Media Planner/Buyer

“I was on the loooong journey to obtaining my PhD in social psychology, originally planning on doing research in an academic setting as a faculty professor. Those plans changed after years (seriously, many years) of not only thinking about what I enjoyed most about research, but also looking at the unappealing state of the academic job market. So, low and behold, I pivoted and have been happily working in the CW data analytics department for nearly five years!”

– Cheryl Kondrak, Sr. Data Analyst

Bottom line: If you’re nervous about switching careers because it’s not part of your original plan or what you studied in college, don’t be. Just go for it! I’m so glad I did.

(PS: we’re hiring.)