Early in your career, it’s hard to get the exact role you are after in the corporate world. You will often hear you lost out to a candidate with more experience, or you may not hear back at all!
Santi Widiana has gone from working in a Moorabbin surf shop to working in Human Resources within global management consulting and now with tech giant Seek.com – all by getting into the company first in a lesser role, and then working towards where she wanted to be once she was in.
I caught up with Santi this week for a coffee, and we spoke about her experience and pathway into Human Resources Specialisation. I asked her what wisdom she could share with up-and-coming candidates who want to get to their dream role, but keep getting knocked back at the front door.
Essentially it boiled down to 3 key aspects:
Maximise your chances to get a break in a business at the bottom level.
Be curious, Be eager. Talk to family and friend networks, ask them if they know anyone in a business, or if they know any recruiters. I got my break through you, John, by leveraging my Aunt’s business relationship with Plan B.
Use your customer service skills to good effect in entry-level roles.
Meet everyone in the office. Impress and do your all tasks, no matter what they are, with positivity. Tougher Execs are like difficult customers sometimes – and put your retail and/or hospitality experience to good use here.
Once you’re in, keep yourself open to opportunities that come your way.
If you’re showing a willingness to learn, good managers will seek to support you in your journey. Expose yourself to different parts of a business, and you may find your calling in an unexpected place.
It all reminds me of a 1965 Country & Western song, “Do what you do, do well” song that my father used to sing to me (it’s on Youtube!) when I was a young boy; the philosophy being: you’ll go places if you take pride in any job – no matter how small it might be.