Pharmacy student Habiba Ahmad found that self advertisement and a proactive approach were the keys to impressing her employer. These qualities have landed her valuable work experience and then a paid job with Wilkinson’s Pharmacy, and led to her being named The University of Manchester’s ‘International Student Employee of the Year’ in a national competition run by NASES.
We talk to Habiba to find out how she did it.
Habiba, how did you first find this job?
A speculative inquiry for work experience.
What did you have to do to secure two weeks of work experience? Any CV/interview required?
A brief phone interview in which the employer merely wanted to ascertain whether I was seriously considering Pharmacy as a career.
Was the two weeks work experience unpaid?
Unpaid, but the manager gave gift vouchers to me at the end of two weeks.
How did you approach this two weeks of experience? Did you feel you had to prove yourself?
I approached the two weeks with a view to learn about pharmacy as a profession. I tried to gain as much experience as possible relating to different tasks that are carried out in a community pharmacy as well as shop floor.
From your perspective, why were Wilkinson’s so keen to offer you a job after your work experience?
Several reasons, though Wilkinson’s Pharmacy were not actively recruiting at that time. I got on well with all staff members. Equally importantly, they recognised my ability to get the job done. I endeavoured to complete every task to the best of my ability and exercise my own judgement regarding what needed to be done without waiting to be told.
What do you think has made you a success in the role?
I always attempted to finish any task assigned to me and take on responsibility for any other jobs that needed to be done. I have actively tried to learn more about the role of community pharmacists and attended many training sessions and meetings run by local PCT (NHS Primary Care Trust) to complement my learning and apply my knowledge at work
What have you learned about job-hunting from this experience?
Confidence and good communication skills are essential for any job in the retail setting.
Is there any advice you would give to other students looking for work experience?
Try to show as much passion and commitment at your work experience as possible. If you are given any task, try to complete it to best of your ability and if you don’t understand anything