Case study

Sales support administrator — Marie

A temping job in an office can provide valuable experience for getting into administration work, says Marie…

How did you get your job?

After graduating, I got a job temping at the local university in the engineering department. I was unsure where I wanted to go with my career and so thought it would be advisable to get a real work placement to add to my CV.

This was meant to be for three weeks but was extended to 12 months once I was established, as the team was impressed with my performance.

When the temp role was concluded, I placed my CV online and added a short covering letter detailing the administration roles that I had carried out. I was ed by a local recruitment agency with an opportunity to join the sales team of Littlefish, which is a Managed IT Service Provider. I interviewed and got the job.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

I was able to carry over the time management and advanced writing skills I developed throughout my time in university.

However, the technical and academic content of my biological natural sciences degree has no relevance to my current position.

What are your main work activities?

My main duties are to provide support to the sales and service account management teams - mainly through management of quotations and commodity tracking of sales and costs to the company.

I also manage the purchasing within the business, including liaising with suppliers and purchase order management.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

The role started out as a sales graduate programme, however I quickly realised that sales was not a career I wanted to pursue, so I looked towards a more office-focused role.

I moved into sales administration and began to cover service account management administration as well. The role has recently developed to cover purchasing and purchase administration.

Career wise, I want to move away from administration, potentially to focus more on the purchasing management element but I am still undecided.

What do you enjoy about your job?

In my role I am fortunate to see most processes from start to finish - from initial quote creation to the final project invoicing. I find this the most enjoyable element, as you get to see the whole picture of the process you are involved in, rather than just a snapshot in time.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

The most challenging aspect is managing the time of colleagues. If I have a deadline and need input from a colleague, ensuring that they allocate the required time to the request in the timeframe we have can be a challenge, especially if they are already working a full-time job.

Any advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Exceptional spelling and grammar are crucial for the role as is attention to detail, so make sure there are no errors in your application.

Securing an administration role with no experience is not easy, even if the work itself does not require a high skill set. There are a large number of qualified individuals all looking for the same role and they will be chosen over someone who is new to the field.

Getting a few days or weeks of temp work is essential. I gained mine though a university graduate temping agency and it allowed me to put application-specific experience on my CV, which got me the interview.

Being highly capable in utilising the Microsoft Office suite was also key for getting into this job.

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