(2) Post-University .. The Dreaded First Year as a Graduate

University is over, I have a 2.2 – What do I do?!

Since I graduated with a 2.2 degree, I wanted to be sure that all those skills I picked up during my final years (see first blog) did not go to waste. My aim was to get a job as soon as possible and show employers in future years to come that I was determined and ready to enter the real world.

I applied for many internship and graduate positions, the first post-graduation job I obtained was through an internship agency. In order to be recommended to different industries, I was invited to attend a video interview at their office in London. Although it took me ‘two takes’ to get my video CV correct, I had received a call 2 weeks later from a company (Company 1) inviting me for an interview.

Company 1 – accounts assistant

During my interview at Company 1, I realised immediately how relaxed the interviewing manager was and how much I would love to work with him as my mentor. After a great interview, I was told that there were 7 candidates to interview (which pretty much gave my hopes up of obtaining an offer). Although to my surprise I actually received the offer in a few days time! I was absolutely excited to receive this offer, although it paid minimum wage, it was a sign that I personally do hold something valuable that these other candidates may have not.

PROGRESSION POINTER 3: Grades only account for so much, personality is key!

I had been with this company for 5 months, whilst at the same time trying to work out my next steps on my career path via other interviews. During these 5 months, me and the manager mentioned above had grown close. He had mentioned to me that he hired me because I reminded me of his best friend when looking at personality. This really showed me how important other’s perception of you are rather than one’s paper profile via a CV. Another note to remember is, these connections are and will always be vital! I had learnt years later from leaving the firm that this manager is now the Managing Director of the firm!

PROGRESSION POINTER 4: Maintain all connections wherever you work; each and every network matter!

Coming to the end of 2013, I realised that it was time for me to move on. I had learnt a range of things; from office culture in a medium sized firm, socials within a closely knit firm, to being responsible for my own work. What really made me appreciate this company was the support they gave me for my personal development. One of my other managers (Sarah) noticed me completing an application just before working hours commenced, early on a Monday morning. Surprisingly she did not react in the way I expected, but was very encouraging and showed interest towards the next step on my next career path. Sarah – I will always appreciate that moment. It may have seemed like a small matter to her, but I still hold it close to realising what really makes a relationship strong in a working environment.

Company 2 – the supermarket!

Although I had not secured a new job once entering 2014, I had made it my New Year’s resolution to be in a position where I had gained enough experience to understand where I wanted to be in the next 5 years. However, as I was still job hunting….I was still broke! Therefore I decided to get a weekend job at my local supermarket. Although this may not seem like a lot, this was probably my favourite job to date!

I decided to get a ‘weekend only’ job such that I was able to focus on my applications every day of the weekdays; almost as though I was doing a 9-5 job completing applications!

My job was mainly on the tills however what I learnt from this job was that just because I was working in a supermarket after graduating didn’t mean that this was a ‘time pass role’.I had noticed that the colleagues I worked with enjoyed what they did, whilst being themselves. At this role, I have seen much more smiles, laughs, banter and a friendlier environment compared to any working environment that I have worked within to date. Working in such an environment, where I see everyone genuinely happy during my 3 months there, definitely had me thinking about the type of people I wanted to be surrounded by in 5-10 year times.

My 2014 New Year’s resolution was to understand and have a clearer image of my future – however this would have to be built up step by step. This was definitely the start!

PROGRESSION POINTER 5: It is important to understand your personal priorities!

Personally, my number one priority is to work somewhere where I can physically see that people are appreciated for the work they do via their daily smiles and charisma shown.

On my next blogs I will talk about life after this role as I began to climb my official career ladder; via both an operational research role at Company 3 and finally to my present day role at Company 4 (‘big four’ accountancy firm)! In addition I will talk about how I went about actually applying for different companies which did not follow the standard route.




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