Meet Zac Hill, who graduated with a degree in Business Management in 2010. Zac is in the process of launching his own business, This is All, which aims to help other social enterprises to improve their internal operations. Zac talks about how his course and experiences at Brighton led him to work within the third sector.
“I’m currently doing some freelance work while setting my social enterprise, This is All. Prior to this, I worked in an international development organisation, spending one year managing a large UKAID-funded project in Ghana, and another year designing and implementing the monitoring & evaluation practices for all the organisation’s contracts.
I secured my previous job by applying to the company following a 3-month voluntary placement in Uganda. Prior to this, I had gained project management experience by working with the students’ union (SU) at the university, and I secured that job after volunteering part-time for the SU.
My three tips for getting a job are as follows:
- Tip 1: Actively seek opportunities to make contacts and improve your skills
A CV with a degree and work experience (voluntary or otherwise) is more appealing than one with a degree only. Voluntary work can also lead to paid work directly. University is a great opportunity to take on voluntary work – in my final year I had a part-time job, was volunteering, and graduated with First Class Honours – you can volunteer without it impacting your grades!
- Tip 2: Learn to write and talk about yourself
I’ve generally found that people are good at either writing about themselves or talking about themselves (in the context of applying for jobs). Unfortunately, you need to be good at both in the standard recruitment process. I am personally terrible at interviews; when I go for interviews, I plan what I think the questions might be, think about how I would write the responses, and use that to guide my interview responses.For writing about yourself, find someone who is good at writing cover letters or application forms (they are easy to spot – they get invited to lots of interviews!) and ask if they would share their latest application with you.
- Tip 3: If you plan to start a company, do it at university
There’s so much funding and advice available to university students looking to set-up a company, it’s an excellent time to explore a business idea. You’re also surrounded by people with spare time and a variety of interests, it’s a very good place to find your founder team.Of course, it’s possible to set-up a business after university, however, if your post-graduation plan is to be an entrepreneur, then start considering it now.”
In what way is your degree/university experience relevant?
“In my final year of university, I had a major attitude shift, which changed my post-graduation plans. I chose to study Business Management in 2010 during the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, with the point of view that being good at business makes you not only impervious to adverse financial climates, but those who are very good can make a lot of money consulting how to survive adverse climates.
For better or worse (in my opinion, for better), my work with the third sector during my time in university led me to want to apply my skills in a way that will have a positive impact – excuse the buzzword. This has ultimately led me to start a social enterprise to help other social organisations improve their internal operations. I would, therefore, say my degree is particularly relevant to the work I have ended up doing.
If I were to share a final thought, it would be to treat the final year of university as practice for the working world; when you graduate, the training wheels will be off! Practice having structure and routine, practice having to maintain healthy working relationships, and practice professionalism.
To any final year students reading this, I wish you the best of luck.”