We spoke to two recent graduates about their aspirations and goals as new women in business and how they feel as women of the future. We asked them how they felt in the new world of business as it has changed vastly over the past 2 years.
The Job Market:
Firstly, we spoke to a woman who graduated this year who gained her first post-graduate job. Madeleine, a graduate for Lancaster University was asked how she felt about applying for jobs in the current situation, she commented “The application process was difficult and long, due to COVID all interviews were over the phone or online, so it was hard to get a feel for the companies and portray myself.”
Our second graduate we spoke to was Emma from Lancaster University graduating last year when the pandemic was in the acceleration phase. She told us “At first it was difficult, I spent about a month after graduating panicking that I was hearing very little back from employers and worrying that this would be long term. However, soon I started to get responses and interview requests. The first few interviews were difficult, as it takes time to become comfortable with the format of them and questions you can be asked, but soon you become used to it and gain your confidence.”
Encouraging women in business:
We asked Madeleine what she thought helped to encourage her as a woman in business, her reply “Determination and resilience. You will always get judged in the world of business but having the strength and self-confidence to not let it negatively affect you is so important.”
Asking Emma, the same question she expressed “Having confidence in your own convictions. Some people can shout louder than you, but that doesn’t mean that they are always right. It took me time going into the workplace, learning new systems and practices. The best thing you can do is work hard and believe in your own abilities.”
Mistakes or opportunities:
We queried the women to tell us if they had any regrets in their career so far, Emma told us “Nothing you do in your career is a mistake if you learn from it. I didn’t graduate already being a buyer, but I had a supportive team that I learned a lot from and turned my mistakes into opportunities to grow.”
Madeleine confided in us, speaking candidly “Sometimes when you get your heart set on a job and it doesn’t work out, it can feel like the end of the world and it’s easy to blame yourself and think you aren’t good enough. In reality, there could have been 1000 factors to why you didn’t get that role and you have to keep focused and move forward.”
We spoke about how work and life balance differ from each person. The transition from university life to working everyday can be difficult to manage. Here’s how Emma said she copes “Creating a separation between work and home life. Learning how to switch off when you close the laptop can be hard but coming to terms with the fact that worrying about work in your own time will not change anything is important. I also find that having something to do after work encourages me to leave at sensible times, for me this is the gym- which also allows me to turn my mind from any stresses of the day.”
Madeleine’s advice is “Every morning I write to-do lists for the day and anything that isn’t complete is put in my diary for the next day, so I don’t go home worrying about work issues.” As she works from home it can be difficult to divide the two, but this advice could really be beneficial to students and university work.
Student and Graduate Help:
We asked these two graduates if they had any advice for the women looking at job descriptions and applying for jobs. Furthermore, the job market for students can be very competitive, Madeleine’s advice is “Keep positive and keep going, the application process may be long and time-consuming, but you will get through it. Never underestimate your abilities and have confidence in your journey.”
Emma’s advice added “Don’t panic. When you graduate, and the ceremony is done you can be left thinking (or panicking) about what is next. The best thing you can do is just channel your energy into understanding what you now want from your future. For me, I was unsure of what I wanted to do next and so I set my focus on Graduate schemes that would offer me full exposure to different organisational functions. Also, don’t compare yourself to where others are up to. The chances are some may graduate and find a job a week later, but this is rare. As long as you are putting your energy into creating your future, what you want will come and it will be at the exact right time for you (just don’t rush).”
The Future and Aspirations:
We asked Emma about her aspirations for the future “At this point in my career and education, I have a lot of aspirations. Since I am staring my CIPD, I hope to be building on career within Human resources, with a focus on workplace diversity and equal opportunities. I hope to be instrumental in creating a forward-thinking workplace, and in a position where I can make a real difference in the lives of employees as well as in a position to offer real support and knowledge to those around me. I see myself continuing to build a career that I am passionate about with even more knowledge and life experience behind me.” Everyone will have different aspirations and it is important not to compare yourself to your peers too much. If you feel that you want to go for a leadership role- go for it!
This concludes the blog; we hope it has been an immersive read and you have taken lots from it. Whether you are a women student or graduate in business this advice and perspective on it is a real eye opener of the experiences and opportunities.
By Katie Sanders for Studenteer