NAME: Chris Brooks
DEGREE/EMPLOYMENT: Graduated from Southampton University with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He is now on a graduate scheme as an analyst programmer at Research Machines (RM), an ICT supplier for schools.
WORK EXPERIENCE: Chris temped at RM during the four summers he was at university. He worked in a range of different departments from human resources to credit control.
What was your motivation?
I really needed to get some money together before I went to university so I applied for temporary admin work at RM for the summer. I ended up working in the HR department and really enjoyed it. They asked me if I’d be willing to come back for the following summer which I did and I spent it working in the finance department. I’d originally wanted to be a pilot when I left university but I had problems with my sight. That was when I thought of working for RM full time.
What did the application process involve?
I applied for the summer jobs directly by contacting the company and asking if they had any vacancies for temporary work. When it came to applying for the graduate scheme after uni I didn’t have to go through the first online stages of the application process because they already knew me. Instead, I went straight onto the psychometric tests, the interviews and case–study exercises.
What did you do?
When I worked as a temp with the finance department one of the projects I was involved in was the replacement of the finance software. I worked closely with information systems, the department where I currently work as a graduate analyst programmer.
How did you sell the experience on your CV?
Actually, the key element was knowing people, rather than selling the experience on my CV, that gave me the edge when it came to applying for the graduate scheme.
Did you enjoy it?
Yes, I got a great overview of the different departments when I was temping and I also good a good feel for the company. RM works with schools and the idea of being involved in public service really attracted me. Plus, I’d really wanted to come back and work here again – I enjoyed the workplace, people knew me here and they are prepared to invest the training which allowed me to pick up some professional qualifications.
What did you learn?
At the start of uni wasn’t really sure what I would do if I couldn’t be a pilot, so temping gave me a real chance to try a range of different things. It helped confirm that finance wasn’t the career for me and also helped confirm that information systems was the kind of department I would want to work in.
I enjoyed coming to work and getting an idea of the different. I really liked the people and got involved in the social side of things.
Probably the hardest thing was working in areas where I had no experience. However there were always people on hand to help out.
Advice to readers:
I really would view temporary work as a way in to different organisations. It’s a great chance to try different job roles and if you do decide to apply for a full–time position having a personal reference from someone who has worked with you is worth a thousand cover letters.
Get ahead with temporary work:
Don’t just view temporary work as a way of raising much needed cash – it can also be a great way of experiencing different work environments and road–testing different types of careers. Offices can be strange places (and not everyone is cut out for office life) so why not combine your need for cash with something that may help you with your long–term aspirations. And don’t discount the old bar work or shop work, they still could give you some ideas about what you’d like to do in the future (fashion buyer, events manager?).