May 8 / Fatima Al-Habib

Kickstarting My Career At Graduate Scheme Success

Kickstarting my Career at Graduate Scheme Success 

As a Class of 2020 Graduate, the difficulties of finding a job were severely exacerbated by the pandemic. Thankfully, this changed in March, and I was very grateful to have secured an opportunity to work at Graduate Scheme Success.

Essentially, our role involves chatting to students and graduates via telephone and email, assessing their needs with regards to support for their applications, and outlining how we can provide that. We also conduct Zoom calls to show the online materials and type of mentorship we offer, as it’s important to visualise what you can expect.  Although my previous experience (which was all voluntary) was not directly relevant to the job, I learnt that the benefit was in transferring the appropriate skills, along with enthusiasm and curiosity for the role.

Training sessions began with my fellow new colleague, Rodah, over multiple Zoom calls with Richard and Tim. I was petrified at the thought of being thrown into the working world, however it was great to start my first ever job with such a small and friendly team, as well as in the comfort of my own home! Having the sessions over Zoom did initially feel strange, but we were quick to adapt.

After a week's training, we started putting everything into practice. Thanks to my social awkwardness, I've never considered my phone skills to be the best (although I’d like to think that they’ve somewhat developed over the past two months!). As a result, my nerves were through the roof during the first few calls. In fact, the entire first day was chaotic; the pressure that came with being ‘new’ to the job was compounded by the prospect of maintaining conversations after months of lockdown and minimal human interaction. However, everyone I’ve spoken to over the phone and Zoom has been so lovely, that I haven’t needed to worry about that anymore.

Besides, the chaos on the first day was strangely enjoyable; I loved the experience of learning ‘on the job’, and we were assured by Richard and Tim that we would definitely make mistakes, which were all part of the experience. It marked a refreshing change from school and university, where learning mostly occurred through classes and revision for exams.

Something important I’ve learnt to implement is the act of reflection, and thinking about what to improve for the next call; what could have been phrased better, or which industry could I learn more about? This is especially important, as our clients demonstrate an interest in a range of industries across the private and public sector.

Another thing I've really loved is moving past the initial formal stage of the call and being able to relax and be chatty, which makes it easier to discuss the support we provide and how we tailor it to your needs.

During the calls, I always ask people what they consider to be the main barrier to their success in applications. Many points come up, however most mention the current employment climate coupled with the added pressure of Covid-19, which has brought even more competition. This is always saddening to hear, and I think most graduates, including myself, have been able to relate to that. Others cite feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number and range of opportunities out there; thankfully, our Account Managers would be able to help them in a process of career filtration, by working with them to source opportunities suitable to their studies, interests and experience. In fact, whatever issues you’re facing with regards to your applications, I am sure we could assist you with them.

Only two months have passed so far, and so much has been learnt! Thank you to Richard and Tim, and to anyone I’ve had the pleasure of talking to over the phone and Zoom calls. Our team is slowly growing, and I am looking forward to seeing where the next few months take us. 

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