Jamie Lester made it to the semi-finals of TV show The Apprentice but how did he get to where he is now? What are his tips for success? And what you shouldn’t write on your CV…
Your job before was as an Overseas Property Developer, what is that?
It basically involves finding overseas property and bringing it back to the UK to market. I started at 16, working at an Estate Agency, earning £3,500 a year. Obviously, this is really low, but I was determined to succeed in business and after all, I now have 14 years experience.
What do you think is needed for success?
I only focus on getting where I want to be. I never even think ‘what things are needed for success.’ I worked hard, earning the bosses a lot of money and I thought, I could be doing this myself. I don’t think you should ever ‘need’ the company. So at 24 I started my own business, all I needed was confidence..
Is confidence key?
Confidence in yourself is important, before others can see it. You’re never going to convince anyone unless they see confidence shining through.
You were commended on your ability to sell, is this an important skill?
Everyone needs to be able to sell themselves. Especially with a new business, no matter what career, you need to be able to negotiate, buy and sell. You need to have confidence and charisma.
Which of the other candidates on the show did you get on best with?
I got on well with everyone, in particular the two Chrisses and Stella. But I hated the bickering, I call it the ‘Coronation Street Effect.’ In an office, you will always find someone that you don’t get on with, but you have to move on from it.
What are you thoughts on Lord Sugar?
Alan Sugar doesn’t do a personal level, even in the final when we
had some ‘downtime’ with him, if he’s not interested, he won’t talk to you. As far as his management style goes, what you see on The Apprentice, isn’t a good style of management in reality, it’s just an entertaining show.
How about the interviews? How did they compare to a normal interview?
I don’t think they were accurate, it’s edited for entertainment. They aren’t really similar to normal interviews, they needed to be entertaining, so we were probed and probed, whereas, in a normal interview situation, you also are getting an insight into the company. If a company treated you like The Apprentice, who’d want to work for them? I did learn that you shouldn’t lie on your CV: you definitely shouldn’t lie that you have a third nipple.
What’s next for you?
Right now I am in the middle of launching my website, offering sales training. Soon I’ll be holding seminars and teaching students that confidence is key. I’m also working on an event with the Royal British Legion to be taking place on 11/11/11.
Any final advice for our graduates?
Be persistent. Also, when you’re invited to interviews, you need to learn how to sell yourself to the employers. Reel off your unique selling points to make yourself stand out.