Cherilyn is in her final year at The University of Warwick studying International Business with French. She wanted to apply to the Unlocked Graduate scheme and thought the Brand Manager role was a good way to learn more about the organisation, the mission statement and recruitment process. Cherilyn has now been accepted onto the Unlocked Graduates’ 2018 cohort and will start her job as a prison officer in September.
Why did you want to work for Unlocked Graduates?
I was originally motivated to apply to Unlocked Graduates because it’s such a unique opportunity – you get the chance to make a difference in the role which is so different to other schemes. You also study for a fully-funded Master’s and contribute to a policy paper. I’ve always wanted to drive change but it’s difficult to find a graduate programme that allows you to have such a massive impact.
In my role as a Brand Manager I was hoping to find out more about the organisation; I thought the mission statement was absolutely incredible – the dedication to reducing reoffending is so important.
How would you describe your role as an Unlocked Brand Manager?
My role as an Unlocked Graduates Brand Manager fit in easily with my studies. I had a lot of autonomy in deciding for myself what would work, but was also given support for my ideas and tips on how to network with other Brand Managers from separate organisations. I did a lot of one-to-one meetings with people and used social media as a tool to promote the programme.
One of the most exciting opportunities was doing a collaboration event with Frontline, who recruit graduate social workers. I worked alongside their Brand Manager and brainstormed ideas to promote ourselves on campus. It was useful because if people were interested in one socially-focused job they were usually interested in the other which meant we both reached a broader audience.
What advice would you give to someone applying to the role?
My Brand Manager role really prepared me in my application for the graduate programme, I knew the scope of the scheme and understood what Unlocked Graduates were looking for. The recruitment process for the scheme was a great process to go through. You have to look back at your previous experience and demonstrate the skills and competencies that Unlocked Graduates are looking for, such as relationship building and leadership.
The assessment centre was really exciting, you were surrounded by people who wanted to make a difference in the world. Overall, the day was really engaging and made me realise what I could achieve in the role as a prison officer for Unlocked Graduates. Even if you weren’t thinking about applying to Unlocked Graduates, being a Brand Manager will help you understand graduate recruitment processes and what employers are looking for more broadly.
What have you gained from the experience?
Primarily, the role has taught me to reflect on the strategies I was using to promote the Unlocked Graduates message on campus – using different outreach, one-on-ones, social media etc. I learnt what activities were most engaging for students. I think the ability to reflect is important for any job you might have after University. It’s particularly relevant to Unlocked Graduates because you’re going to be engaging in personal interactions every day and you’ll need to reflect on and be self-critical about these interactions to ensure that you create meaningful, trusting relationships with the prisoners in your care.
Interested in developing your skills whilst also fitting paid work around your studies? Unlocked Graduates offer a variety of work opportunities – if you’re interested in applying to be a Brand Manager or Intern, register here.