Rewind seven years to 2010, the year of my graduation: the industry was still facing backlash from the recession and unemployment among graduates was increasing since the 2007 crash. There were still jobs out there, but the number of applicants per role was well into the 100s and, unless you had a confetti-popping, luminous CV it was hard to get noticed.
In July 2010 I’d applied to at least 50, maybe more, jobs and was running out of time to find employment before committing to rented accommodation in the city. I’d started to look outside of marketing/PR and applying for similar roles to that of my placement (Wholesale Merchandiser). I came across a job, ‘Merchandiser’ advertised on Success Appointments, which I thought I was more than qualified for and that would be a good stopgap until more marketing positions opened up… I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I received a call by the lovely Tracey (Merchandising consultant for the North) who explained that I didn’t have the relevant retail merchandising experience required for this role (damn!) but that they did have an opening for a Recruitment Administrator position, if I was interested. During the first few months it was a steep learning curve under the mentoring of Emma Ramsden (Recruitment Director), being taught things I thought I had mastered but definitely hadn’t – writing emails in the correct way, attention to detail, workload prioritisation, and of course, swapping my statement uni hoody for more appropriate attire.
After spending three years at Administrator/Resourcer level I relocated to London, where I became a fully-fledged consultant with my own area of Hardlines Buying. After becoming a specialist in all things gifts and furniture, I asked my director if I could try out other areas and was given the opportunity to pave my own desk with added functions such as Talent/HR, Office Support and Customer Service.
I haven’t looked back (apart from in the writing of this blog) and still love my job at Senior Consultant level. Many of my friends question why I’m still here after seven years and haven’t tried something different, but my response is simple: I’m still constantly challenged and the retail world is ever-changing, so I learn something new every day. I’ve been really lucky to have a supportive management team who have given me new areas to build on my expertise, allowed me to work in our two different offices when I wanted to try a new city, and kindly let me swan off to travel around Asia for three months – and still have my job at the end of my adventure.
Part of my role is to encourage others to take that leap of faith to join new businesses and experience new environments, but I believe this should only be the case if you have exhausted the opportunities at your current place of work, or if the opportunity is just too great to refuse. I joined this company in the belief that I would find my career later, but this career found me and I’m still loving every minute of it. My office has an average length of service of nine years and each one of us will tell you the same: if a company can support you through your career and continue to give you new challenges, then the years roll by very quickly… trust me.
If you would like to have an informal discussion, please contact Sarah Dovaston here about the roles we are currently working on.
Edited by Red Squirrel Digital.