Luke Pit, 24, was job hunting for roles in design, gaming and data analytics, when his Job Centre Plus coach sent him a link to Steps Ahead Mentoring.
Luke signed up in October 2020 and was matched with mentor Samantha Giblin.
Cracking the job code
Luke had dedicated time and effort to finding a entry position related to design, or a customer service role for a gaming company. This would provide useful experience at a junior level, and at least mean he would have an income. The aim was to capitalise on his interactive media degree but receiving 30 rejections had left him feeling in need of an objective view and some help.
'In the back of my head I knew there were things I definitely needed help with, such as my CV and help to find jobs. I looked at roles locally, as Cambridge is a base for some well-known games brands, and it’s competitive, so I looked at jobs I thought I was suitable for on paper.'
'I used Twitter to follow companies I liked, for research to find out about projects or product launches and for broad info about the brand. But none of my applications got an acknowledgment of even being received. One company replied within forty minutes of me sending off my CV and I could tell it was an automated reply and they were massively over-subscribed.'
After speaking with his work coach at Job Centre Pus, they recommended Steps Ahead Mentoring to provide advice and an objective approach to Luke’s job search.
Mentoring kicked-off with an informal session to meet his mentor, Samantha. During the initial session, they set-up weekly remote calls and figured out the biggest challenges to focus on. For CIPD mentors, each session is an important chance to listen.
'My mentor explained the process to me and the commitments on both sides and we set up regular calls,' Luke says.
Keep it clear and simple
Together Luke and his mentor decided they would tackle his CV and develop his interview techniques.
'Samantha knew I wanted to keep the pace up on the job search and suggested that if I was willing to move more quickly, we could work together regularly to do that. Firstly, it was about getting my CV sorted. I wanted to get it out to companies, and sometimes we’d speak three or four times a week, going back and forth to make the right changes.'
Applying for jobs can be daunting, even when you feel you are qualified or experienced and believe your skills fit the job description. Luke was keeping a stream of applications going, but he was unsure if his CV was a true reflection of his capabilities and knowledge.
Samantha’s advice was to 'keep the CV simple to get the job done,' which was spot on for someone trying to get into the world of design.
Luke says, 'I didn’t know what an employer expected. I’d listed skills, but Samantha explained that I needed to show what I’d learnt from my experience and that’s what I had to get across. My CV was really improved by working with my mentor. I went over it with a fine-tooth comb.'
'Samantha pushed for clarification, and we worked on explaining my skills and how to communicate them better. Each statement was backed-up with an example and that really helped for interviews.'
After applying for various roles in design, gaming and data analytics, Luke secured a job with Amazon, as a Machine Learning Data Assistant working on its keystone Alexa technology.
The new work normal?
Luke started his new role on 11 January 2020, working as part of the team that develops Alexa’s knowledge and voice response.
Day one at Amazon began at home, in his bedroom. Working remotely has become the norm for many during the COVID-19 restrictions and is one of the defining factors for young people starting out in the world of work.
Luke hopes to soon be alongside his teammates at Amazon’s Cambridge site, which is a key innovation hub for the company. Their ethos is recruiting curious and creative minds, to help develop new machine learning methods.
He credits the weekly calls with his mentor as a vital factor in helping him find a job and recommends Steps Ahead Mentoring to others in a similar position.
'I was finding the job search frustrating and disheartening, and just difficult to navigate. Job specs on recruitment websites seemed misleading. You get automated replies when sending in a CV and no feedback.'
'Sign up for mentoring, it’s simple. I just clicked on a link to the CIPD website and registered. They’ll give you advice and help you in your job search.'