Every bit of work experience got me where I am today, along with the grit and determination to get on.
It often surprises young people when I tell them about my career journey, I think they are expecting me to tell them about my brilliant academic success. After-all surely you need to be a top graduate to be the CEO to a pretty darn fabulous organisation? They’re not even close!
I left school at 16, running out the door as fast as I could, education just wasn’t for me! I had sat my GCSE’s but had made the minimum effort and just scraped by with a C in English and a D in Maths. I tried college but it just didn’t make me feel fulfilled I wanted to work and I wanted to earn.
Throughout school I had always had part-time jobs, from a paper-round (admittedly my dad did it), babysitting, glass collecting, waitressing and even cooking burgers at a football club. I didn’t mind what the job was as long as I was earning. This meant that by the time I left school I had a CV with some work history on it, I could show an employer I had good time keeping, customer service, and cash handling skills as well as being a responsible human being.
At 16 I went to work in a curtain shop full-time. 40 hours a week (including Saturdays) was a bit of a jump from school but I was ready and I had a great work ethic. I knew the curtain shop was not my future but I also knew that by working hard I would be able to apply for other jobs down the line. After 18 months I started to look around and got my first office job, it was a sales role for an IT company.
They hired me because of my confidence, people skills and experience working with the general public, all the skills I had developed whilst selling curtains! I was great in sales, I made lots of friends and had a fantastic time, I also made a good salary and at 19 I bought my first house.
My career journey eventually led me into recruitment which found me helping people to be more employable, to improve their own CV’s and to win at an interview. Its not all about your academic success, you need to have real work experiences and of course the determination to do well and get on.
Helping young people and having a desire to tackle youth unemployment was not my thing when I left school, but overtime its what I have become passionate about. Now I know I am doing the job I was made for and I believe the waitressing and the paper-rounds have all been a necessary part of my journey.
My advice to anyone thinking about their future is its OK to not know what you want to do for a career, but you must grab the opportunities you can, work hard and stay open minded. The world is so exciting and I think young people have access to some incredible opportunities with the right mindset you can achieve anything!
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