I am Suhaib Habibullah, a law student at the University of Manchester. Earlier this year, I completed an internship at the EY Foundation as a Programme Delivery Coordinator. Last time, I interviewed Digital, Database and Analytics Lead, Lauren Holmes. In this blog, I will be interviewing Sarah Batty.
I am the Employment/Progression Coach for EY Foundation programmes Beyond Your Limits and Your Futures, covering Scotland and Manchester. I work with young people to set goals, action plans and help them achieve those goals. For Your Future, I manage volunteer job coaches of those young people, overseeing the relationships they have with the young people. I am relatively new to the role, having started in March this year.
Having graduated from university, I spent 4 months applying for a range of jobs. My first job was Project Support Assistant at Lancaster University. I was responsible for connecting students with employers. I then worked in widening participation for Newcastle University, where I would raise awareness of all routes to Higher Education and different paths young people could take, regardless of their background.
Afterwards, I worked at the University of Manchester, sourcing placements for students and encouraging employability growth. Following on from that role, I worked at Housing Association, coaching young NEET people (those not in education, employment, or training) through training and application support. I saw a job opening at EY Foundation through LinkedIn Jobs and applied for it.
A key thing I remind myself is that your network is your net worth.
Graduating from university and not having a job lined up was extremely demotivating. There were lots of rejections for a range of different reasons. I had no idea what I wanted to, but I knew I liked working with people.
One key takeaway from job searching was looking for opportunities in smaller companies. You do not always need to apply for the largest companies, which are often most advertised at recruitment events.
A key thing I remind myself is that your network is your net worth. Having a supportive and equally ambitious network is very important and it will naturally increase your awareness about job opportunities. Equally, always be adding new people to your network because you never know when they may come in handy.
My key piece of advice would be to back yourself 100% and be confident in your abilities. Additionally, never be afraid to seek advice from anyone, ask people to look over your CV, have mock interviews etc. Always be open minded when applying for jobs. Never feel tied down to a single application or employer. Finally, have a positive outlook and never be afraid to express yourself throughout the process, firms want to see the real you and not a superficial version. An employer can easily upskill you in a technical field but can’t teach you how to be friendly and positive, which is what everybody wants to see in a workplace!
Thanks for that advice, Sarah! I have learnt the importance of backing yourself and being confident in your ability. Keep an eye out for upcoming interviews with more career advice from the EYF team.