The short version of this story is: if you can articulate to an employer that the skills you have acquired in the past make you capable of doing the role which you are applying for, you will be in a good position to land yourself a job.

Here is the longer story:
I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BESS degree in 2016 and like most people, I had no idea what I wanted to do. The week after I finished my exams I moved to New York, and I stayed there until September 2019 when I moved home and started my career in sales.

When I got to New York I had little or no experience, I had done a couple of short internships in Accenture and State Street and had five years bar experience. At the time, my favourite TV show was Entourage and I decided I wanted to work in the entertainment industry so using my network (a cousin who is an actor in LA) I got an interview to be an assistant to two talent managers.

I had no experience working in the entertainment industry and to be completely honest, I’m not that into Broadway or Indie Films so my industry knowledge wasn’t great either. But I wanted the job so I went about trying to convince them that I am a quick learner and work well under pressure. I used the fact that I could cope with working a job all through college and handled internships well to my advantage and that I could apply skills I learned in college and in my internships to be successful in the role. I emphasised that I was coachable and eager. They bought it.

The role was both a dream and a nightmare simultaneously. The company I was working for represented some amazing people and had series regulars on shows like House of Cards, Billions,The Walking Dead as well as Broadway stars and actors in the Avengers Franchise.

I attended premieres, got tickets to shows and was given access to a world I never knew existed. I also really got on well with my managers and they brought me to far more events that I should never have gotten access to.

The flip side of that coin was that my phone was never off for the two years I was there. We had 50 actors that we managed and the requests that I would be asked to do could range from the sublime to the ridiculous. From rearranging a flight for a client at 5 am on New Year's morning, to carrying my manager's sick dog home through Soho once a week - they asked and I did it.

On one of the more stressful days, I was asked with two hours notice to have a green gluten free cake with ‘Happy Birthday Lupita’ for Lupita Nyongo (12 Years A Slave) to be arranged and delivered to an awards show in LA for one of my clients. After calling almost every bakery in LA I realised it couldn’t be done on time so I went with 27 cupcakes of the same description spelling out the message - job done.


I could go on about the role but don't want to stray too far from my point  - the importance of transferable skills. I left the talent management company and soon after left New York and came back to Ireland. I had decided once I returned that I wanted to turn my attention to sales, specifically in the tech sector. I had never heard of terms like BANT or ARR when I interviewed in Immedis so I focused on controlling the narrative that I had exhibited grit, determination and creativity in a previous role and that those traits would stand to me in sales , luckily for me, they  bought into it as well.

Over the past 18 months in Immedis, I’ve been coached closely and have been given formal sales training and methodologies to add to the softer skills I brought with me. As I now move into a new role once again with Gradguide I will look to marry my previous skills that I’ve gained from working in bars and in talent management now with the formal sales training which I consistently received in Immedis to help me in my new role in Gradguide.

So, as I wrap up the longer version of events here, the messaging is simple - leverage your transferable skills and articulate your grit, determination and coachability to companies you’re speaking with. Not every company will take a chance on someone without the relevant experience. I have been unsuccessful in countless job applications for dozens of companies.

Similar to sales, not everyone wants to buy the product you are selling, but if you are consistent with your approach to applying and interviewing in companies you will manage to land the right role. The partner companies that we work with all buy into the logic of hiring for potential and nurturing talent which is what makes working with Gradguide so rewarding to me.


Matthew from Gradguide