In an exciting development for the programme, Shannon joined the ScotGrad team as our first ever, very own, ScotGrad Associate in 2015! She shares some excellent advice for graduates here...
What is your background?
Originally, I'm from East Kilbride but I now live in Glasgow. I studied Politics at the University of Strathclyde, graduating last year in 2014. My studies were largely focussed on international conflict, and political theory (my dissertation was about Star Wars!), but I spent a lot of my free time doing social media for a couple small companies and learning about digital content.
Why did you apply for a ScotGrad placement?
I had applied for a few ScotGrad roles in the past, because I've seen how successful they can be. My boyfriend started his career doing a placement, and he's so successful now (you can read his story elsewhere!). His sister had worked with some amazing ScotGrad Associates, and my dad has hired two now as well. So I wanted to be part of that group of really amazing graduates who gets a ScotGrad placement!
What did you expect to gain?
I didn't do a Marketing degree, so I wanted to develop my skills and creativity in the digital marketing field. And honestly, I expected I'd gain a lot personally; having a graduate job with a steady salary where people praised my work gave me so much confidence that everyone I know has noticed. I also expected to gain a lot of insight into the public sector, and into graduate employment.
What skills were you able to bring to your placement from your degree?
At first I wasn't so sure because my role and my degree were worlds apart. However, and I think this is true for a lot of social science degrees, there's a lot of soft skills and underlying skills you take from that degree that I used all the time. Being able to work to deadlines, writing in a way that's easily understood by the majority of people, communication skills, and also research skills were the biggest take away from my degree. I know how to analyse and report on subjects, and I could apply that formula to my work at ScotGrad.
What have you learnt by taking part in the programme?
The biggest thing I took away from my placement was a sense of self. Before I started that role, I was shy, not very confident, had no belief in my ability, and absolutely thought I was going to be in that tiny percentage of graduates who don't do anything. Leaving that role, I'm so much more confident in my ideas, and in how I speak to people, and I know my own intelligence and skills are worthwhile. As a graduate looking at all these big roles, I was scared to death thinking I'd never be able to get a job because they were so far out my reach, and now I can see that I do have something of value to add to a company.
Would you recommend the programme to other graduates?
Absolutely. The biggest thing that I think a lot of graduates lack is confidence, and also the ability to really sell themselves. The application process alone encourages you to really sell yourself and your skills to an employer! More than that, it gives young people access to jobs that they wouldn't normally be considered for.
You're also part of a network of other grads in the same position, and you can go along to the training course which is amazing. It really gives you all these business and networking skills you know you should develop but don't think about. Plus you meet other ScotGrad Associates and you see how amazing they are!
Based on your experience, what advice do you have for other graduates?
Don't worry if you don't know what you want to do for the rest of your life when you leave university.
Seriously, it's probably the biggest thing that held me back for the longest time. You worry that you don't have 5 years experience, you worry that you can't get above a certain salary, you worry that you can't get a job in your degree area. My best advice is to just stop worrying.
You are good enough for any role. You are smart enough, talented enough, skilled enough, and you are worthy of your time being paid for. You have value to add to a company, show them that.
If you read a job description and you think "I could totally do that" then apply. What's the worst thing that can happen, you don't get the job? So what? At least you tried, at least you gave it your best and you can look back and learn from it on how to improve for the next application. You'll never get that job if you never even apply.
What are your future career plans?
At the moment, I'm doing Digital Marketing for a craft brewery in the Borders and I love my job. At the same time, I'm learning so much about marketing in this industry and my opinions and views on it that it's opening my eyes to other areas I could move into in the future. My main future goal is to make Scotland a globally renowned country when it comes to alcohol; we've got so much more than whisky and people don't even know it!
Fancy a ScotGrad placement after reading this? Check out the latest graduate placements and apply today.