By Angharad Edwards 

Angie Hello Starling

Like most young (clueless) grads who completed their university degrees between the years of 2007 and 2013, I was told that it was pretty much impossible to find yourself a job having left the enviable comforts of student life.

You needed experience to get a job. You couldn’t get experience without a job. An ugly cycle that (as it does for majority) prompted me to leave the UK straight after graduating from Bristol University with a BSc in Psychology, and head over to the sunny shores of Manly Beach, Australia where I made coffees and nannied for wealthy families. Life was good, but inevitably, I returned to the UK a year later undeniably wiser, but a lot poorer.

Having embarked on several placements in advertising and media agencies throughout my time at university (and saying that, whilst in Oz) I knew that this was the industry I wanted to start my career in. “Getting in” though – and getting paid – that’s the hardest part. In between filling out outlandish grad scheme applications and trying to make use of every contact I had, I stumbled across GO Wales.

I looked through the graduate opportunities and a couple of positions stood out to me so I went ahead and made a profile, knocked up a couple of cover letters and sent them off. I was immediately contacted by GO Wales staff, offering me feedback on how to improve my profile and the next thing I knew I had two interviews lined up within two days.

One of these interviews was for a 6-month Digital Marketing Assistant position within Hello Starling, an independent advertising agency based in Cardiff. From the get-go the company made it clear that whilst the GO Wales Jobs Growth Wales position was only for 6-months they were looking for a long-term member of staff. Encouraging. The interview went very well (I can say in hindsight) and I was offered the position!

The next month I started with Hello Starling and, true to form, the GO Wales placement did end after 6 months.  At this point however, not only was my contract extended by I was also promoted to the position of Marketing Executive! I now manage the entire marketing strategy at Hello Starling, am gaining more responsibility every day and am constantly learning.  In terms of career progression, I can’t believe the change I’ve experienced in the last 7 months.

Hello Starling Team

The GO Wales team could not have been more supportive and encouraging throughout the entire process. From landing me an interview in the first place, to monitoring my progression on a monthly basis and always offering genuinely useful advice – every person I was put in contact with seemed so friendly and really concerned.

I believe that when people leave university they instantly think that the next step is a grad scheme in a big firm in London, not realising that there are so many opportunities out there that don’t involve a trek down this route. I’ve found that by working for a smaller company I’ve been able to work in all areas of the business and have also had more opportunities to prove my capabilities and enthusiasm. In turn my job role is now a lot more varied and sees me take on more responsibilities, the challenge of which I’m really enjoying.

I would encourage all graduates to stay open-minded when it comes to the job hunt. After all, you never know where you’ll end up but if you’re proactive about it, it’ll probably be somewhere pretty awesome.

You can view and apply for GO Wales graduate opportunities at www.gowales.co.uk