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We asked Shelby to tell us about her professional journey before and after her Personal Career Management coaching sessions…

“I’m Shelby Holmes, I’m 27, and I’m from North Wales.

My family are Showman. I’ve grown up in the fairground industry. A big part of my childhood was travelling around the country and setting up funfairs. At one point we had a carousel, we had a hook a duck, and we had various games. It was a really good introduction to work. I was doing a lot of work from a young age. So that was a good thing.

I kind of surprised everybody in my family by saying “actually I want to go to university” and not only did I want to go to university “I want to go to Oxford!”

I don’t think my parents were really expecting it, so it was a very big surprise but they were also very, very proud.

I completed my BA in English, which I loved. It gave me a very different set of skills and a very different arena to move in.

I had this strange combination of experiences. When I was younger; very practical knowledge, and good customer service skills. Now combined with this very academic experience.

I had my degree, I was super proud of it and I knew I wanted to use the skills that the university had given me as well.

One of the things I struggled with when transitioning after university into jobs, was trying to translate my experiences into something that made sense on a CV. That was one of the reasons that led me to look at career coaching.”

Why did you choose Personal Career Management?

“It kept getting to a point in a job where I just wondered… ‘Where am I going to go after this?’ ‘Do I want to do this for another five years?’

I found myself in the middle of a pandemic, sort of having a bit of a crisis and thinking… ‘Okay, I really want to have a more focused approach to what I do next time I pick a job.’ I really wanted a professional opinion.

It’s like: If you’ve got a bit of a cut or a bruise, that’s something you can handle yourself, with your own first aid kit. But, if someone came to you with a broken arm, you’d say “You need a professional.” Not that my career was a disaster, by no means, but you get to a point in your life where you look at a problem that you have and think I need a professional.

I did some research, because I really wanted to pick somewhere that had a good reputation and really knew what they were doing. I came across Personal Career Management several times. It was very well reviewed, and I thought… “Right, this is for me.”

What did you do in the Personal Career Management coaching sessions?

“One of the exercises was picking from a huge list of descriptive words. What you would describe as things that you want to do in your next job. Some of them were quite similar to each other. One word was ‘negotiating’, another was ‘relationship building’ and another one was ‘using diplomacy’. But, actually because they’re quite nuanced between each other, it made you really think about what is it that I enjoy about this. It’s not just ‘communication’, it’s something very specific that I enjoy. That was just one of a number of exercises that we did at the beginning of the journey, that really solidified my idea of what I wanted to do and that I’d be good at as well. It was very helpful.”

What would you say Personal Career Management coaching gave you?

“The first immediate thing is that it is someone to speak to, and just say…

“I’m not sure.” “I don’t know.” “These are my thoughts on the matter”

Somebody to bounce those off with, and somebody to say…

“You’re okay, you’re not the only person who feels like that.”

The other thing that gives you, is someone who is really knowledgeable and really knows their stuff and actually makes really sensible suggestion from what you’re saying. So not just that you are able to vent to them, but also for them to say…

“Okay, it sounds like x, y and z would actually be good areas for you” and often it’s something that you’ve never even considered before! But actually, they say it and you think “Yeah, that’s definitely something I would be interested in.”

It’s also a huge number of resources. Really helpful tools, in terms of CV building, personal statement building, tactics to use when searching for jobs.

You might be able to find a mediocre free version online, but with Personal Career Management it’s a proper, professionally developed, useful resource that I gained a lot out of.”

What was the result of your coaching with Personal Career Management?

“I applied for three roles, I interviewed for all three, I got an offer from all three!

Which has never happened before in my whole life, and I’ve never heard of it happening to anyone else either.

It just really confirmed that this was a good idea, it was the right strategy, and I’m genuinely qualified to do this stuff.

My current role is Outreach Officer at New College part of the University of Oxford.

I’m so thrilled it is a job that I really enjoy. A big part of my role as working with schools in the UK prepping them for Oxford applications, but also just showing that University is a very achievable goal for a lot of students.

I’m absolutely thrilled.”

What would you say to someone thinking of approaching

Personal Career Management?

The way you have to think about it is, it’s an investment in your career.

Your career realistically is going to last your whole life so if you’re on the wrong path, or if you’re not sure about what you’re doing with your career it really could save you a hell of a lot of time.

It’s worth investing some time, money and resources into it earlier. It pays dividends further on.

It certainly saved me a long time and a lot of wasted applications.

For me, it was worth every penny.

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