How feedback helped me get my new job and a future

Wednesday 21 January 2015

I moved to London two years ago to kick-start my career in the charity sector. I applied for a job with Young Women's Trust as I was extremely keen to work in an organisation which was passionate about helping women to progress in life. Gemma Aston

I found job hunting in the current climate incredibly difficult - it was time consuming, fruitless and a pretty soul-destroying process all round. A typical application took up to six hours depending on the company process and I was lucky to even get an email acknowledging the receipt of my form/email, let alone an actual interview. Once a graduate has left the protective confines of their university walls, it feels like there is very little free help for job hunters. The Jobcentre should be the obvious choice, however I was in employment, and didn't want to waste their valuable time.  

Part of what is so disheartening about job hunting is never knowing why you were unsuccessful. It is near-impossible to critically review your own application when you are convinced you put 100% into it.

Having now got a job in human resources and recruitment, I am aware how utterly time consuming it would be to give every applicant feedback just on their application. Young Women's Trust, however, did just that.
I applied for an entry level role with them and not only did they inform me that on this occasion I hadn't been shortlisted for interview (a rarity in itself), their email also offered me full feedback on my application and an offer for support from the organisation if I was under 25 and unemployed. I declined the support as I was in work and 26, however took them up on the feedback offer.  

The feedback they offered me was lengthy, insightful and sector-specific - something I had been really struggling to find for a long time - and really impressed me, as I would have expected to (and was on the verge of) pay quite a lot of money for the level of detail it went into. The offer of feedback and support just underlined how truly dedicated the organisation is to helping young women find employment; it was the first time in a long time I felt encouraged by an organisation rather than rejected and ignored.

Part of what makes young people my age stay in minimum wage jobs is the fear of constantly facing silence from the companies they apply to and in turn feeling more and more downtrodden. Young Women's Trust utterly set itself apart from any other organisation through the level of support they offered me, when in fact they were under no obligation to do so, and encouraged me to keep on applying for jobs. I have just celebrated my first Christmas away from a role in retail for the first time since leaving university four years ago. I am the very proud owner of a job which has lifted my confidence and my future; and I’m certain it would have taken me a great deal longer if I hadn't been given the support and feedback that Young Women's Trust offered to me.