For those of you who regularly follow my blog, you will know that the end of last year was a bit of a nightmare for me. I took a huge risk in quitting my job because I needed more of a challenge and wanted to apply all the amazing things I’d learnt on the MBA. I joined a very new start up, which didn’t work out well (you can read about it here) and I ended up being unemployed for two months because nobody hires over Christmas.
Not being one to sit around doing nothing, I decided to dedicate my time focusing on making my CV reflect my abilities and knowledge. By wonderful coincidence, the MBA cohort were treated to a session by the brilliant Bill Faust, author of ‘Pitch Yourself’. The focus was around tips and techniques to customise your CV to each job you apply for, and how to tell stories to illustrate your skills during the interview process. I bought his book and got to work on creating my Career DNA Bank. In the end I had roughly 15 versions of my CV tailored to specific jobs and people specifications from companies that appealed to me.
A Series of Extraordinary Events
The first extraordinary thing happened when the very first application I sent out secured an interview! That has never happened to me and before I realised it, I had two solid weeks full of interviews, back to back. However, there were two roles that stood out to me most:
- An Executive Assistant role to the MD of a tech company who design solutions for logistics companies, because the MD had a great LinkedIn profile and was highly endorsed as a mentor.
- A Digital Marketing Assistant at an international publishing company, as I’m obsessed with books, and although the job seemed beneath my skill level, I saw it as a foot in the door.
The interview for the EA went brilliantly, as per the LinkedIn profile the MD was the kind of leader who likes to nurture and develop his team, he said it was all about the people. We spoke for over an hour, I thought I’d defiantly nailed it and then at the end of the interview he said, “I want to be honest with you… You are not right for this job.” My heart stopped. How could I have misjudged the conversation so wildly? He then continued, “You are not someone’s assistant, you are someone’s boss… Would you consider instead applying for the role of Marketing Manager as we need someone who can bring the marketing and brand image of the company into the 21st century?” Knowing that I had the other interview coming up I asked if I could have a few days to think about it.
I interviewed at the publishing company the following week and I sat down with the International Publishing Director who I got on well with and again at the end of the interview she said, “I don’t think you would be suitable for the role of Digital Marketing Assistant… I think I want to bring you in as Marketing Manager in charge of the Marketing and Customer Service teams as they need someone who can lead them and improve processes.” I was flawed. My CV got me through the door and my stories got me promoted before I even accepted the role.
Long story short I accepted at the publishing company and after two weeks there I couldn’t be happier. There are many challenges to address but the owner has given me full trust and support to just get on with it. I finally feel like I am able to use everything I’ve learnt so far on the MBA and I can defiantly see the benefits of the qualification. I’m blown away by the difference in my confidence and the way I think about and approach problem solving.
My MBA journey will come to an end in August this year and there isn’t much more in the way of lectures left for my cohort. We have one more boardroom experience and our action research projects left to complete. I know some people in my group are relieved and keen to finish, but I’m in no hurry at all. I dread to think where I would be now without my MBA experience as it has truly been the making of me both personally and professionally.
Many thanks to Janine for writing this personal blog on her job search journey. We’re so pleased for you and you new role! Find out more about the Westminster MBA and find a copy of Bill Faust’s book, Pitch Yourself.
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- Taking Risks And Building Resilience: My Adventure With A Tech Start-Up By Westminster MBA Student, Janine Hornsby - 19 December 2017