This time last year I was in my last few weeks of sixth form, getting prepared for my final exams, deciding whether to take the university route and having no idea how things were going to pan out. I applied to University and got accepted with the intention of taking a gap year to find a placement which would build up my work experience and give me an insight into a potential career path.
Recruitment was always something I was interested in and luckily I was given the chance to interview for a Recruitment Internship position here at UEA! In my final stage interview I was asked to deliver a short presentation in front of the Branch Manager and Managing Director (possibly the most daunting thing I have ever done!) One of the topics I spoke about was what I hoped to achieve in my first year. This was a great idea because it would give me something I could work towards and it also showed Liz and Charles my potential! I would recommend any one to do this. (Obviously you have to be realistic – saying that you are going to make 50K in commission within a year is not something to write!)
A new starters’ expectation vs reality (3 month/6 month/1 year plan)
Now, nearly a year on with Uxbridge Employment Agency I look back at some of things I expected to happen and let’s see what the reality is:
Expectation: Settle in well with the team
Reality: 100% reached expectation. You end up spending more time with your colleagues then you do your own friends! I was very lucky as the team at UEA were very welcoming and made me feel part of the team very quickly!
Expectation: Establish my strengths
Reality: 70% - Some of the strengths that I feel I have established are: my organisation skills (Recruitment is so busy! So it’s not something you can be unorganised in!), I am a lot more confident with dealing with people, specifically more senior people – this was something that I was always nervous in! I believe my business acumen and creativity is also a strength that I have gained so far. But I have to remember that this is my first real step into a career. There is still a huge amount for me to learn. This job offers continued opportunities to learn and challenge new skills.
Expectation: Progressing more within the agency
Reality: 70% - One of the main duties of my role was to support all the different teams within the agency. Obviously when you start any job, especially within recruitment, there’s a lot of information to process and understand! It took me longer than expected to find my feet within the agency and get the lingo. However, I now feel like have become a key member of the team. I now work with Lauren, in the Windsor team and I have progressed from an intern to a Resourcer (Yay!!) I have placed some great candidates into new job roles and I’m now starting to manage some client relationships.
So, the verdict...
Has it measured up? I think so! For me personally, it was a great decision to take up an internship or placement before deciding to go to University. It has allowed me to gain experience and new skills which to me is crucial. I would recommend this to anyone, not only to gain experience but also the job market is so competitive something like this really helps employers see your potential!
What if it hasn’t measured up?
I was lucky to find something that I really enjoyed and something that I definitely want to stick to, however, not every job is going to go as well as what is expected. I have put together a few tips if you have started a new job and it’s not what you expected:
1. Have you given it enough time? Remember that there is always a lot to learn, and you have to give things a chance otherwise you could potentially hold yourself back from progressing any further.
2. Scope the company – Someone that hops from job to job isn’t always the first choice for recruiters, so if you really don’t like your role, look to see if another department interests you more. For example, before UEA I undertook work experience within a global insurance company and at first I supported the underwriters (this was definitely not my thing!) I then asked to be moved to Marketing and PR team (100% my thing!) I learnt so much more because I was more interested. So before you decided to leave, see if there’s something else on offer – if you’re good they won’t want to lose you!
3. Temporary Work – If you really have no more interest in the role you are doing and you want to leave then it may be a good idea to try temporary work – this way you build skills and experience as well as exposure to different industries and companies (a great way to network and to see if the company is right for you!)
4. Study/Travel – Starting a new career after leaving school or Uni, can be daunting and there’s a lot of pressure to decide exactly what you want to do. If you have set your mind on something but it turns out, it’s really not what you thought you could have a break to rethink your options. You can further your education or go travelling. Both these options will help broaden your mind to a whole new world of things; this could really help you find your passion and potentially a new career path.
For me, I have decided to hold out on University and carry on my employment with UEA. I have already learnt so much and know there’s lot more to learn and develop in, which is invaluable. In the near future I hope to potentially study into a professional qualification but for now, I am going to focus on my own progression within my role. Hopefully this time next year I can let you know how it works out for me!