Case study

Creative director — Jade Tomlin

A work placement during an arts degree led Jade to a job in advertising. Now she is climbing the career ladder to senior roles

How relevant has your degree been to your career?

The core principles and idea of creativity that I use daily come from my degree. I graduated from Central St Martins with a BA in graphic design and have worked at several agencies, including a stint in Singapore. I've just joined Alpha Century as creative director, working with corporate clients, including Cunard and Virgin Atlantic, plus start-ups. Before that I was an associate creative director.

How did you get your first job in advertising?

I went on placement during my final year and spent one month at Work Club, now Havas Work Club. That led directly to employment by the end of my course.

How has the industry changed since your first job?

It is possible now for graduates with technical backgrounds to jump ahead to senior roles but, for me, there's still a lot of value in earning your stripes. Don't try to cheat the system. And don't get pigeonholed in one medium, or working with one type of client.

My advice is to take your time, learn your craft and build a space where you can become more of a holistic creative director.

What are the challenges and things you enjoy most about advertising?

I love the fact there are so many opportunities to be creative and active. That gets me up in the morning. But time stresses me out. During the golden age of advertising - the Eighties - there was the luxury of time. Today clients want so much and want it right now.

What are your career ambitions now?

Creative directors now need to be entrepreneurs. I'm really keen to find young creatives and foster new talent to excite clients in different ways. A job in advertising may be a bit of a rollercoaster but you've just got to ride it and enjoy it.

What advice can you give to others wanting to start in advertising?

Think early about the type of agency you want to work for and which creative director you would like to work under. It's fine to test the water at different agencies but ultimately you have to decide. So target an agency or creative you admire and find a way to be indispensable to them. Show them your passion and energy.

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