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Working at Smile - 17-08-2023 - - 0 comments
From Graduate to Leader: Olivia's Career Story

Meet Olivia, who started Smile Education as a graduate in 2013. Since then, she has gone on to achieve promotion after promotion.


How did you start your role at Smile Education?

In Spring 2013, I was completing my Maths degree at UoB and was in the application process for graduate schemes.

Meanwhile, Katy – Smile’s owner and Managing Director - was helping with a careers event at Cannock Chase High School (one of her clients and my secondary school!) and got chatting to my Mum who was Head of Business Studies and Careers at the time.

When she asked Katy more about her job she thought it sounded like something I would love. My Mum has always been a very good judge of character and told me Katy had something about her, was so passionate about her business and the actual role sounded fun, so I took a closer look into Smile Education!

I attended an assessment day which confirmed this was definitely the environment for me, and then interviewed with Katy in May 2013 and was offered the job there and then!

I joined because Katy and Smile were different to the other interviews I attended, compared to big corporate businesses where I was just a CV. I felt after meeting Katy and the team I could shape my career within an owner-led business with people who genuinely cared about me being successful.

How was your first year at Smile Education?

During my first year I was mentored by Katy and Emma, as well as listening closely to experienced colleagues around me, shadowing their calls and meetings.

I genuinely learnt from the very best and replicated their processes and approach to grow my desk. I listened to every piece of feedback and within 12 months had been promoted twice and was enjoying everything that came with running a successful desk at Smile.

How has your career grown since you started?

In 2015 I was promoted to a Team Leader role where I had involvement in internal hires and mentoring consultants, this has been one of my favourite parts of my time at Smile – seeing people grow their own career in the same way I was given the opportunity to.

2015 was also a great year as Hannah, Emma and Kash joined the business, who have been a huge part of my journey at Smile.

What makes you proud to work at Smile Education?

I am proud to work at Smile because we have worked so hard to create an environment where people enjoy coming to work, we evolve with change and provide the best service to our clients and candidates. Our values are embedded into our daily lives and in turn, we end up working with like-minded, ambitious people who want to be their best.

What does your career look like now, and what are your goals for the future?

Currently I am training one of our consultants into a team leader role to take on new hires so we are all about growth on secondary!

My goal is to continue helping grow the business, mentoring new people to meet their own career goals.

Is there any advice you’d give to people looking to join Smile Education as a graduate?

Working in recruitment as a graduate gives you opportunities you wouldn’t anticipate so early into your 20s. For both your career progression and earning potential, the speed this can happen with the right attitude is unmatched. In just a couple of years you could be managing your own team, you could be buying your first home or you could be going on holidays every half term (or all 3!)

My advice is… this journey will take 100% commitment, resilience, and strength – but I promise it is all worth it!


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