Sophie Bullock – BA (Hons) Media Arts graduate

Current employer: Facebook

Current job title: Candidate Care Lead, Leadership Recruitment

Current location: London

"Every day at Facebook is fun and exciting. I’ve been flown to San Francisco to spend time at head office, been taken on the London Eye, met Bill Gates, been surprised with an afternoon at a health spa, and even got to mix music on the decks at the famous Abbey Road studios one Christmas."

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

After a stint behind my local Boots pharmacy, I moved on to a job at a tech recruiting agency which was based locally. One year later one of our clients, LOVEFiLM, had been acquired by Amazon and wanted someone from the agency to come onsite (London) and help with the transition from a recruiting perspective. Luckily for me, the agency director gave me this opportunity.

I never made it back to Devon: three months onsite turned into nine and eventually LOVEFiLM hired me as one of their own, which a few months later converted into an Amazon contract where I worked for the Amazon Instant Video recruiting team. After two years there I decided I needed more of a challenge, and Facebook hired me as a Senior Recruiting Coordinator. One year later, I was asked to look after the candidate cycle and experience for all leadership level candidates across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa which is what I still do to this day.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

It has predominantly been in recruiting. I’ve been so lucky with the companies at which I’ve ended up working which means that I’ve had no desire to change my career path! Switching from being an individual contributor during the early stages of my career to operating as a manager has been the main change, and I have learned a lot from the experiences along the way – thoroughly enjoying them all.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

Switching pace to fit in with the London life and having to learn how to deal with lots of meetings, deadlines, and demands was definitely a challenge at first. It took me a while to learn how to strike a good balance between work and my personal life.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Every day at Facebook is fun and exciting. I’ve been flown to San Francisco to spend time at head office, been taken on the London Eye, met Bill Gates, been surprised with an afternoon at a health spa, and even got to mix music on the decks at the famous Abbey Road studios one Christmas.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

I would have tried to have more confidence in myself. I often felt like I’d gotten opportunities out of ‘luck’ rather than ability, which meant that I didn’t speak up as often as I should have nor pushed back and said no when I should have. I have since learned that luck only gets you so far and that then you’re on your own: demand respect, speak up, share your ideas, don’t feel like you need to sit around and accept the status quo.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work?

More often than not you’ll need to start off at an agency before moving in-house. Whatever role you’re in, focus on the candidate. Targets can add pressure and commission is the goal each month, but if you take care of your candidates and give them an amazing experience everything else will fall into place: your hard work and reputation will lead you onto better opportunities.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

My course at Plymouth was not only enjoyable but it also pushed me into situations that were outside of my comfort zone: speaking in front of large groups, working in groups with peers that I didn’t know, etc. All of this was great for personal growth and provided me with experiences that I now rely on day in day out. It also got me used to deadlines, high expectations, and the ability to take feedback and deal with the occasional failure.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

The expansion/renovation of the Scott Building was spectacular: the new rooms, studios, and equipment really breathed life into the building and provided the students with so many more creative opportunities on the course. We were all so excited and so happy to be the first ones to get to enjoy it.

Do you stay in touch with other University of Plymouth alumni or lecturers?

I still have friends from my university days that I speak to now – almost eight years after graduating!

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?

100%. Not only is the course content diverse and the library and technical resources well-funded, but the location is fantastic too. You’re close to the coast, the moors, and the bars, shops and restaurants in the city centre, which are all superb. Not many students get to have their graduation ceremony overlooking the beautiful Devon coastline in the sunshine.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

If I could go back and do it all again there is only one thing I would change: my attitude towards money. I don’t regret going to university but I wish I had worked longer throughout my degree and tried to be less reliant on credit cards. It takes a long time to pay off your student loan so, if you can, try and graduate with that as the only debt you’ve accrued. Also, volunteer! It’s so much fun and helps your CV to stand out.

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