Tell us a bit about your background Chloe?
At the age of 18, I dropped out of a criminology degree, feeling as though I had failed in life. I didn’t see myself going back. Dropping out of university is a taboo subject that’s rarely discussed, but there’s nothing wrong with admitting you've reached your limit. There’s no right way to do things, all that matters is that we try our best. At age 21, I decided to go back to university and after my first week of lectures, I knew I had made the right decision. I finally felt like I was on the right path.
I’m in my second year at the University of Salford, studying BSc Marketing. Before starting my degree, I worked as a Visual Merchandiser at Topshop's second largest flagship store but something was missing for me. I've always been fascinated about why people make decisions and how they behave. I’m a people person and that’s why I wanted a more analytical and creative career.
What was your job search experience like?
My job search was long and difficult. Overall, I applied to 20 companies and landed 5 interviews. Being a student during a pandemic was unsettling, there were fewer placements available and the competition was fierce. I had no clue how long the process would take, and every single rejection took a toll on my confidence.
In February 2021, I was facing redundancy from my role at Topshop. Panic set in but I knew that if I picked myself up and try harder, I could be successful. I came across a job posting for a Business Analyst at Puma - I was eager to submit my application, but I knew it would be super competitive. I needed to stand out.
That's when Gradvance came in. I began to collect daily tips from the Gradvance Instagram page and apply them to my job search. I was continuously learning something new, whether it's changing action words in my CV, tailoring my cover letter to a certain position/company, or practicing interview skills. All of content guided me in the right direction.
How did you secure the Business Analyst role at Puma?
I applied to Puma because I felt I could gain valuable industry knowledge and contribute to an exciting, forward-thinking, fast-moving global company.
Puma's application procedure was seamless and enjoyable. An initial application, a personal statement, and a written task were all part of the procedure (I was advised I could be as creative as I liked). My marketing brain took over… “USE THE BRIEF”, I made sure I was as as creative as possible and showed my personality.
I was successful in my task and got invited for a phone interview, excel task and a final interview along with a presentation. Each stage was focused on good brand knowledge, my skills and how well I would integrate into the company.
Gradvance's Instagram Reel "3 ways to prepare effectively for an interview" deserves full credit. Dan's use of the STAR technique to build out interview responses in a clear and concise manner, (with examples to cover all the competencies for the role), was really helpful in securing the position. I was ecstatic to receive the comments of an "excellent interview”!
Gradvance unknowingly aided my journey, demonstrating that your voice is heard more than you think. My experience with Gradvance has been fantastic; the content supplied by Dan has given me invaluable insight into the marketing industry and how to successfully apply for jobs. Dan is extremely knowledgeable and makes the entire process much more manageable. I found the weekly Instagram quotes to be really motivating, and they helped me stay focused through my job search. One of my favourite sayings is "rejection is a re-direction," which I honestly believe. As cliché as it may sound, all it takes is one “yes” to get you where you want to be.
What are your top 3 tips for students on the job search?
1. Only apply to companies or roles in which you are truly interested. It will be much easier for you to adapt your cover letter if you consider how your goals align with the company's mission/brand values.
2. Be open-minded, don't be put off by the degree requirements! When I applied, it stated that applicants must be in their second year of study in a business, finance, or economics-related subject. And I'm enrolled in a Marketing Bachelor's Degree program, everything is doable if you focus on your transferable skills.
3. Network, network, a network! I can't emphasize the significance of networking enough; one of the best things I did was reach out to the current intern on LinkedIn (who was incredibly friendly and helpful). She gave me a lot of advice and gave me an inside look at Puma! Try your luck and send that LinkedIn message! You'll be shocked at how much people want to help others, so give it a shot!
Business Analyst at Puma
BSc Marketing Student at The University of Salford