To tell the truth I have been putting off writing this last ALMP post in the vain hope that I wouldn’t be the first ALMP graduate to leave the scheme jobless (yes that’s right, the scheme has a 100% success rate in terms of graduate employment!). Fortunately – and after ten long months of off-and-on job hunting – I have found a job working for an exciting media agency in London. Funnily enough, the events which surrounded the interview earlier this week provide almost a perfect reflection of the ALMP programme and its extraordinary capabilities. As such, instead of just summing up my experience this year with Andrew Garner, it’s perhaps a good idea to share my last week on the programme with you.
In what may sound like a bizarre start to this anecdote, my week began at Glastonbury festival, where I had been volunteering behind a bar and revelling in the infamous mud baths. After six days, four seasons, a combined ten hours sleep and a ten hour coach journey I arrived home to find several missed calls and emails inviting me to an interview two days later. On a normal day this would be plenty of preparation time… but for a sleep-deprived, mud-soaked festival survivor, sleep was my priority. I therefore spent much of the following day in bed before heading up to London for the ALMP drinks reception. Interestingly, once there I spent little time talking to Andrew about my interview the following day, instead I quizzed him about his expanding business portfolio and intriguing love of motor sports. Whilst this may sound like a missed opportunity, one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt through Andrew this year is that interviews are often won and lost on personality fit and ‘soft’ skills. Therefore as long as you know your apples from your pears with regards to the industry, the rest is down to how you come across.
With that in mind I rolled up to the media agency the following day having prepared less than in any of my other interviews this year. Fortunately the company liked my personality, picking up on the keen enthusiasm I had for the industry. After a few hours of returning home I get the phone call offering me the job – at which point I panicked and asked for the opportunity to sleep on it.
What Andrew did next was pretty special. I called him and told him the good news, but also that I was unsure whether this company was the right one to begin my career with (it’s a small, independent agency rather than a major industry player – this may sound snobby but it’s another thing Andrew has instilled within me over the past year – each career move needs to be right, and moving to an obscure company may harm your future employability). Within a matter of hours Andrew had put me in contact with a hugely influential individual within the media planning and buying industry, who explained to me that the company in question was an exciting one to be at right now – so much so that he himself had investigated the possibility of buying it not that long ago.
Needless to say after receiving that type of advice I accepted the job whole heartedly. Andrew’s contact also kindly suggested that I save his number and call him in the future – another huge opportunity. In fact as I think I mentioned in my previous post, whilst the ALMP mentors can’t give you the answers, they can certainly push you in the right direction and – crucially – provide access to their hugely significant networks.
Thanks to the programme (and more specifically, Andrew) I have been introduced to three major players within an industry in which I am due to be working very soon. It’s now my job therefore to ensure that the doors which the ALMP programme has opened for me stay open.