My experience as an Unlocked Brand Ambassador

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My experience as an Unlocked Brand Ambassador

My name is Hajra, and I just graduated from the University of Manchester. In my final year of university, I came across Unlocked and the organisation’s mission of reducing re-offending in the UK really resonated with me. I decided that I wanted to somehow be involved in making this change and so applied to the position of Brand Ambassador in Manchester. Unlocked is currently recruiting for their next generation of brand ambassadors so they asked me to share my experiences!

What actually is a brand ambassador? 
Basically, it’s a role to promote and share the story of an organisation on a particular campus. Obviously, recruiters like Unlocked want to target top unis but cannot have a permanent presence everywhere. That is where brand ambassadors come in!

What’s it like doing the role? 
I really enjoyed using my creativity to market the brand and had a lot of fun persuading people to apply to Unlocked Graduates!

Unlocked gave me the freedom to brainstorm and come up with my own marketing ideas. As part of the role, I decided to create a series of articles about re-offending to promote Unlocked Graduates’ mission. Whilst I was researching, I became even more interested in the topic of re-offending and learned a lot about the realities of the prison system. Taking the lead on a project that I myself put forward and seeing the results and feedback from students was super fulfilling and one of the highlights of my experience as a Brand Ambassador. Some people also have the chance to visit a prison – another really interesting experience.
Is it a nightmare balancing academic and university-related commitments?  
It might be surprising, but it really wasn’t! The role was flexible enough for me to easily divide my time according to my schedule. I had a fantastic Line Manager who I was always in touch with. He was open to discussing my progress and helped me manage my workload.

If there was ever a time when I struggled to make a deadline or was particularly busy during term time I had the option of carrying some of my hours over to the following week. Using Trello, an online list-making application, to log all my activities and record how long each activity took was also a great way of balancing priorities and tracking how much time I was investing into the job each week.
Does it really give you CV-worthy skills? 
I think persuading people to apply to the Unlocked scheme as well as answering questions from students in person and on social media undoubtedly helped me build my communication skills. Because the Brand Ambassador role is so self-directed, I improved my confidence by coming up with marketing ideas and then managing these projects.

I also enjoyed learning about design and online marketing by regularly using social media to showcase visuals and infographics I made on online platforms like Canva.

What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a Brand Ambassador for Unlocked?  
I’d say that becoming a Brand Ambassador at Unlocked Graduates is incredibly rewarding. Not only do you play a part in solving the issue of re-offending in the UK, but you also have an opportunity to guide others and help them achieve their career goals.

It’s also a great way of getting your foot in the door when it comes to a career in the public sector. As a Brand Ambassador, you will be fast-tracked to an assessment centre for the scheme and gain insight into how the organisation achieves its targets. The role also opens up opportunities to work at the organisation in a different capacity, e.g. in recruitment or marketing.
How has the Brand Ambassador role helped me secure other career opportunities?  
It definitely involved building relationships with people including students, university career representatives and graduate recruitment. During interviews for other graduate roles I applied to, I was able to draw from my experiences at Unlocked to demonstrate how I could work under pressure and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

By representing an organisation that is looking to achieve genuine change, I was also able to set myself apart from the other candidates. In one of my interviews, I spoke about my interest in prison reform and the work I had done as Brand Ambassador at Unlocked. This helped me come across as a more well-rounded candidate who had interests outside of university. The role also provided me with experiences and talking points I could use to secure opportunities in other industries.

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