From graduating uni to finding a job in a pandemic - a Kickstart story

Graduating in a pandemic

I graduated from University in July 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. The last 4 months of my degree was spent in isolation, confused without a straight road to finishing my degree ahead of me. It was a whirlwind going from daily lectures, being reassured that we will still be attending the campus up until our last exam one day, to being told they were shutting down the campus the next.

The entire dynamic of teaching changed overnight, and I had to adapt quickly if I wanted the past 3 years of hard work to still count. Like many students at this time, I felt the rug being pulled from under me and I cannot thank my lecturers enough for trying their best to help me through that challenging time to come out the other end, not only graduating, but graduating with a first class degree.

The next chapter

One of my final year modules was ‘Public relations’ and from my very first lecture, I had fallen in love. It had everything I wanted: creativity, no two days are the same and the fight to keep a brand's reputation alive when things go wrong. I had already discussed with my lecturer the ways in which I could get my foot in the door. He gave me names of companies that usually did internships, so I could apply as soon as they went live, everything seemed like it was falling into place.

Fast forward to March, everything was cancelled. Everyone had to work from home or were put on furlough, only essential jobs remained. My future came crashing down around me, everything I had planned was put on indefinite hold.

Finding work after uni

Many people during the pandemic lost their jobs, companies just couldn’t afford to keep people employed when there wasn’t any work coming in. This meant I not only had other graduates to compete against, but the thousands of people who had just lost their jobs. How was I supposed to compete against someone with a degree and experience?

I signed up to universal credit so that I had some income alongside my part-time job. They sent me jobs weekly. I applied, I failed. It seemed like a vicious cycle, and I resigned myself to the thought that I would never get a job in my desired career field.

Introduction to the kickstart scheme

My work coach mentioned that there was a scheme called kickstart; a 6-month placement at a company where you gain experience, refine your skills, and get yourself on the career ladder. I felt elated to be presented with the opportunity! It seemed as though my future was looking bright again, so I hastily put my application in. Shortly after I had a phone call and was asked to attend an interview.

Getting the job

I relived the interview over and over in my head. Did I say the right things? Did I make enough eye contact? Were they put off when I stumbled over my words? I picked the entire scene apart. As the days went past, I convinced myself not to worry about it. Even if I didn’t get the job, it was nice to have the interview experience.

A few days went past, and I had the phone call- I got the job! At first, I was just relieved that after nearly a year of searching for a job, I had finally found one. Then came the excitement of starting a role that I had studied for 3 years and learning what its really like to work in a professional environment.

My first month

I was a bit nervous for the first week, I had never worked from home and had no idea what to do. How do I start my first day without meeting any colleagues to offer support? I opened the supplied laptop and was bombarded with meetings and emails welcoming me to 2buy2, it was one of the warmest welcomes I have experienced, and they managed my remote introduction to the company so well.

The first week went by quickly, it was filled with introductions and training. During the second week, I started getting more involved with marketing tasks, shadowing the existing marketing team to see what they were doing and having basic tasks to get on with myself. The weeks that followed involved me being given more responsibility and being very involved with the inner workings of the campaigns.

It has been a whirlwind of a first month! I have already learnt a lot of skills that I can carry with me throughout my career. Getting to know everyone has been a highlight - the entire company has been extremely supportive with any query and have really made the transition into work very smooth and enjoyable.

Now on to month two...