Rick Barratt:

At the end of June I found myself in a situation, which a lot of other students find themselves in at the end of the academic year. I had finished my final year of university; I had my degree in one hand I had worked 7 years to earn this and spent every waking moment working towards getting it, but now it was time to enter the real world and get a real job.

Every student is all too aware these days that after graduating the chance of walking into a job quickly aren’t high. And the chance of getting into your chosen field is even slimmer. As soon as my graduation ceremony was over, I was online uploading my CV to every job search website I could. Applying for every available position there was.

One of the biggest problems I encountered was that my CV was mainly tailored to my chosen field of expertise, which was sound engineering. I knew that this wasn’t appealing to every employer and was a huge hindrance in finding work.

I was searching for help, and turned to the job center. They understood my problem as they see this happen every year and as a consequence of this I was referred to the Steps Ahead programme run by CIPD.

Steps Ahead aim to help young job seekers by pairing them with a mentor who can work with them on a one-to-one basis and help improve their chance of gaining employment.

As soon as I signed up it paired me with Natalie. Shortly after Natalie contacted me, she introduced herself and explained her background and explained what she can do to help my job search.

I had told her that my problem was my CV and explained where I came from; very quickly she had transformed a mess of words and details into something workable. She also helped by telling me about more websites to upload my CV and the importance of job-seeking via social media and having a good cover letter.

Natalie was very easy to talk to and approachable about any problems I had, I often find myself mixing my words and losing my confidence when speaking but she helped this by going through interview techniques and the right things to say to potential employers.

I instantly became more confident applying for jobs, throughout the next month I was receiving letters telling me about positions already being filled instead of non-responses, eventually I was getting phone interviews and job offers.

Something, which had never happened before and even though I declined those, offers, due to not being able to give me enough hours. This spurred me on and picked me up to keep going.

In just over a month of being on the programme I found myself in employment, Natalie periodically checked up on me to see how it was going, any problems I was having and was generally there to support me.

Natalie was friendly and very professional throughout my whole period on the programe. She was always available and it was fantastic to have somebody on your side. It’s always great to have someone reassure you that you’re doing fine and to guide and advise you.

In the time of writing this I have been with my employer for over 5 months, and a special thanks has to go to Natalie because I didn’t think I’d be at this point so soon.

Natalie is a credit to the CIPD and I am sure she will go on to help a lot more people in the position I found myself.