Name: Rachel Norman
Year of graduation: 2014
Job Title: Sales Associate
I studied English at the University of Lincoln and my 3 years there went entirely too quickly. My main interest outside of the course was music and in my third year I took over as president of the Orchestra Society. Given my degree and my interests it may be surprising to hear that I now work within Technology Sales for a company called Computacenter, but my progression into my current role was hardly conventional!
After graduation, I spent a year working in hospitality to save some money and during this time I also completed the TEFL course with a view of teaching English abroad. Shortly after completion of the course I moved to Lecce in the south of Italy where I tutored two young children in the English language. While living in Italy was an amazing experience, it was never a long term solution and so after a year I moved back to sunny England where I had no job and no idea of the career path I wanted to follow.
I was contacted by a recruiter one evening who had seen my CV online and thought it perfectly suited the Associate Programme that Computacenter was running. I initially applied on a bit of a whim, however the further into the application process I got and the more I learnt about the company and the programme, the more committed I became to being successful in the application process and starting my career with Computacenter.
Six months later I have had incredible coaching and exposure to customer meetings, senior management and even lead a bid to generate new business. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future here has to offer.
My current job title is Sales Associate, and I am spending 18 months working my way around the company and receiving training from each different area. At the end of this 18 month training period, my job role will change from Sales Associate to a more senior sales position.
During this 18 month training programme, I will build up a well-rounded view of Computacenter and how it’s structured through at least a month with each different department as well as sales training courses and additional workshops such as presentation skills. On being accepted onto the programme I was introduced to my support network which is comprised of a mentor, a coach and a ‘buddy’ who joined the Associate Programme a year before me. This support network is absolutely invaluable as I get to grips with my new role, providing as much support as I need and always on hand to give advice. Through this support network I’ve also got a fantastic insight into what life will be like for me coming off the programme, shadowing them in internal and external meetings and helping out with tasks whenever possible.
One piece of great news – this 18 month training course is paid! My starting salary here at Computacenter is £28k but will go up on completion of the Associate Programme. Another piece of great news is that when you come off the programme and start selling you will start earning commission and through this there is huge potential to earn a lot of money.
Computacenter has offices all across the UK as well as in other core European countries, and I am based out of the London office. This, however, does not mean that I spend all my time in London. There is great opportunity to travel around with Computacenter, from attending an event at Twickenham Stadium to travelling out to France for our Sales Kickoff next year, no two days are ever the same.
University of Lincoln's Career Services
During my time at the University of Lincoln, I unfortunately did not utilise to careers services that were available to me. Having since reached out to the careers team in order to partner up with them in my new role, I have been able to see the fantastic array of services and support that they have to offer and would encourage anyone who feels they could do with some support or guidance to get in touch!
Best Career Advice
If I have one piece of advice it is to not stress if you don’t know the direction you want to take with your career. Upon graduation I had an English degree and absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with it. Had someone asked me if I saw myself working in IT in the future I probably would’ve laughed in their face, and yet here I am 3 years later working for Computacenter.
Take your time, enjoy yourself and learn as much about what is out there as you can. There are some fantastic opportunities available to graduates and just because your degree is in a certain discipline that does not mean that you have to work in that area. Talk to past alumni such as myself, attend alumni evenings and careers events and talk to the careers team. By leveraging this experience and support you will no doubt make the best decision possible when finding a job.
University is an amazing time and it goes too fast! Enjoy every minute and I wish you the best of luck in your job searches.