Written by Natasha Ebdon, Consultant at VMAGROUP
After I graduated from the University of Leeds in 2011, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do long-term, but I knew I wanted something people-facing and I was keen to use my language skills – my degree was in French and Italian. I discovered recruitment agencies at this point and sent my CV far and wide, finding a role within a couple of months as a Communications Assistant for what was then Alliance Boots (now Walgreens Boots Alliance), where I stayed for just over three years and learnt a huge amount. That was when I decided Internal Communications was what I wanted to focus on.
When it was time to look for my next challenge, I went back to the job boards and recruitment agencies, and it became clear that there was a stark difference between the good and the ‘not so good’ recruitment agencies. There were the agencies who would inundate me with job specs without ever having taken the time to speak to me, let alone meet me. Then there were the ones who I built up great relationships with and they really took the time to understand what motivates me and the kind of company and role I’d really thrive in.
VMAGROUP was the latter for me and I was able to pick up the phone to a number of consultants and have open and honest conversations about which roles I was interested in. I always felt that I could trust them to help me make the best choice. I picked up a contract role for six months and then VMAGROUP helped me find my next permanent role at Ophir Energy. Unfortunately, my time there was cut short by redundancy during a difficult period for the oil and gas industry. But, I got straight back in touch with VMAGROUP to discuss my options and the consultant I met with for a coffee made me feel so much better and within no time had helped me find a three-month contract role while I looked for my next permanent role.
I was fortunate to start a permanent role as soon as the contract ended, but quickly realised that I actually wanted to do something different and happened to be browsing LinkedIn one day when I came across a blog post written by Sophie Collins, a Consultant at VMAGROUP who I had been in touch with previously.
I’d not considered recruitment before, but when I read Sophie’s blog I saw a lot of similarities in what I was feeling. One thing that particularly stood out for me was Sophie saying: “I would not have joined just any recruitment agency as it was essential for me to feel that I was actually adding value for my clients and candidates rather than just providing a ‘CV service’.” I’d always had a really great candidate experience with VMAGROUP so I knew I’d fit in with their culture and values.
I was familiar with many of the consultants already and after speaking with Nicky, the internal recruiter at VMAGROUP, and a few of the other consultants who had made the move from communications to join the company, I felt really comfortable in my decision and took the plunge to change my career.
I’ve now been at VMAGROUP for a year and am delighted I made the move. The satisfaction of hearing how excited candidates are when I tell them they’ve secured their dream role is fantastic, and I love helping my clients find great people to join their teams. I love that I can still use everything I learnt while working in internal communications and I get to see things from a different viewpoint.
There are of course challenges: having to tell someone they haven’t got the job they’ve been interviewing and preparing for; or the pressure of clients looking for very quick shortlist turnarounds, but we have a great supportive working culture and my manager enables me to manage my own time.
I’d recommend anyone thinking about their next move and looking for a change in direction to get in touch and have an informal conversation with VMAGROUP – it could lead somewhere exciting!
VMAGROUP is an international recruitment and executive search specialist for marketing, digital and communications. To have a discussion with one of our dedicated consultants regarding the market, recruiting for a permanent or interim role or if you are looking for a new role, please contact us.