Applying for work experience is a great way to understand what it is you are looking for in a career. When you are unsure of what profession best suits your personality, skills, and most importantly, is a career you can be passionate about, work experience can give you a glimpse into workplaces and roles.
Work experience equips aspiring professionals with tacit knowledge and soft skills that come with working in an office environment. In particular, work experience provides an opportunity to observe teamwork skills, develop professional communication skills, and also improve awareness of commercial operations. On top of previous work experience and qualifications these skills help candidates stand out in an increasingly competitive job market, and hopefully assert confidence in bringing something unique to a team.
At Purple, we are proud of the work we do each and every day and feel it is important to have the opportunity to discover a career that engages professional drive, offers a challenge, and is rewarding. For Ellie Williams, she was starting her A-levels (or final high school exams) and still unsure what to do after graduation. Taking initiative to discover her options, Ellie joined Purple’s Austin, Texas office for a week of full-time work experience.
Ellie’s goal was to speak with different Purple departments and shadow as much of the day to day operations as possible, helping wherever needed throughout the week. On day one Ellie was paired with Ashley Rector, Senior Partner Success Manager, as her Purple Buddy to introduce her to everyone and help settle in.
“It was very welcoming having Ashley as my Purple buddy. I was given a list of objectives to help Purple reduce their carbon footprint by researching corporate social responsibility projects. I enjoyed the tasks because it is something I can put on my CV for future employers to see as experience.”
Ashley was also Ellie’s go-to person to help set up phone meetings with our passionately Purple people in HR, sales, finance, and web development to give Ellie a picture of what their roles entail.
“As I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do it seemed more beneficial for me to understand the different roles going into the meetings, rather than learn how to do them.”
Ellie’s first meeting was a video call with Cathy Belford, Global HR Manager, at Purple HQ in Manchester to hear about what is involved in HR operations and managing personnel of a business, the processes of hiring, administration, and recruitment. This was followed by a call with Juliana Sanches, Executive Assistant to the Chief Revenue Officer (now Customer Retention Manager), in the Madrid office about her love for fast-paced work and experience in marketing and finance, compiling reports, supporting employees and managing office contracts. Ellie also spoke with Eleanor Maskrey, HR Administrator, about different learning experiences and pathways available to professionals for getting to the same successful career before going through Ellie’s CSR project research results.
“During the call with Eleanor several of the team walked past and waved at me despite never meeting me. This was really nice because is showed the friendly atmosphere is really throughout all the offices, and made me feel welcome.”
While Ellie learned a lot about the roles and found them particularly interesting, it was her conversation with Andrew Butterworth, Finance Controller at Purple HQ, that resonated with her passion for numbers and strategy. Andrew is responsible for revenues and day-to-day finances at Purple across our international offices. He spoke with Ellie about his role in looking over budgets for the next five years (up to 2022) and identifying areas performing well or require attention based of the direction and vision of the company.
“Because I have an interest in mathematics and I’m considering it for university, it was great to ask Andrew what he studied to become a financial controller. Andrew said his degree and a 12month placement in ACCA Accounting gave him a great opportunity to gain experience, and therefore understand more from finance in practice to finance in industry. There is a lot of strategy involved, and from our meeting I learned finance is often more fun and involves a variety of communication and sales skills as well. However, it was my next call I had with Janet that helped point me in the right direction of what I needed to do next.”
Janet Daington, PHP Web Developer, has been working at Purple HQ for three years working on the Purple website, creating reports, and using code to fix bugs, or issues, to help improve the website’s performance. Janet has also been a Purple buddy to the most new recruits, and had a lot of advice to share with Ellie to help her approach university with her newfound interest in finance.
“The call with Janet helped give me direction to what I need to do next. Not only did she give me insight into what she does and what impact this has, she gave me advice in approaching university with my likes and dislikes, and what I am good at. It also gave me an interest in looking into accounting and finance as a university course, which is useful since I can now look into which universities are relevant for me. Previously I had, at most, a loose idea of what I wanted to study.
“My week here at Purple has been very beneficial since I have learned more about roles within a business, CSR projects, and have considered new career and pathway choices for myself. Everyone who I have met has been so kind and welcoming. I enjoyed being taken out of my comfort zone by having daily video calls with people around the world, and even just talking to people in the office as I can sometimes be quite shy. We all went out to an event called Blues on the Green and it was a perfect end to the week! Overall I had a great week being passionately Purple.”
Commenting on Ellie’s week in the Austin office, Cathy said: “The team are honoured to have played a part in helping Ellie kickstart her career. Work experience is an invaluable opportunity to understand the foundation skill set for particular roles. It is completely different from being in a school or university learning about different departments to establishing your presence in a workplace. Being in an office environment helps young professionals learn how to communicate with confidence and put their knowledge, skills, and interests into practice.”
If you want to be truly challenged and work with like-minded people while still having something unique to bring to the space, contact us for our Purple Careers Site today!