Holly

University of Melbourne
Head of Recruitment Elevate Australia
Holly studied Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Sociology) at University of Melbourne

What’s your job about

My company, Elevate Education, is Australia’s largest provider of study skills workshops to secondary schools. We work very closely with schools and send in teams of presenters who are currently at university and who have done very well in high school themselves. Our presenters deliver seminars to students on how to study effectively and help students ultimately achieve their best!

My role is the Head of Recruitment for Elevate in Australia. The role has only recently been created, as we flagged it as one of the most important parts of the business, as without superstar presenters the company cannot deliver on its core product, the fantastic seminars!

My role has three parts. The first is developing and maintaining relationships with university faculties, societies and colleges to promote the exciting world of Elevate to all students and get the word out there! These relationships also extend to Elevate’s client schools, as teachers are often keen to refer their star students. The second part is organizing and coordinating events across the year, for example hosting social occasions in O-Week or setting up stalls at corporate events to promote the job opportunity and spread our brand image. The final role is to manage the whole recruitment process, including running interviews, which I absolutely love and is my favorite part of the job! It is great meeting so many people from all different walks of life and really helps to develop my own interpersonal skills. As I am recruiting presenters across all of Australia, there is a lot of interstate travelling involved, which makes the job all the more exciting!

What is your background

I guess I would describe my life growing up as somewhat complicated -  I was born in Canada and shortly after this my family moved to Hong Kong, then onto the UK before settling down in Brisbane. I finished high school in Brisbane and then headed back to the UK for a Gap Year working in a Hogwarts-esque boarding school, before moving to Melbourne to start my undergraduate degree. I completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Melbourne and lived on campus at Trinity College. When I graduated, I was very unsure of exactly what career path I wanted to take I had decided that psychology was probably not the right direction for me and was very much toying with the idea of doing post graduate law.

Whilst deliberating over my next move, I was approached by the General Manager of Elevate to explore the possibilities of moving to Sydney and joining the head office team. I initially accepted the role with only short term plans in mind, intending to go back to university after having had a year experiencing full time work. However almost immediately after moving to Sydney I got the Elevate bug and have had the unparalleled experience of working in several different positions across the company, exposing me to many different skillsets and facets of a business. I initially started as Operations Manager which meant fulfilling various HR duties and managing the company’s financials. After 6 months in this role I transitioned into the Client Services manager for Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. In this role my goals were to develop strong working relationships with our client schools, renegotiate annual contracts, field enquiries and devise strategy to provide the highest level of customer service. For someone who is extremely passionate about education, I loved engaging with teachers and gaining a greater insight into how schools operate. It was also a very rewarding job as I was able to hear feedback firsthand from teachers who sat in on seminars and truly understand the unique impact that Elevate is having on students and schools. Then in August this year I transitioned into the Head of Recruitment and it has been my most exciting role as of yet and I can’t wait to see what will happen next!

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Most certainly! Everyone working in the head office has a different story and has come from very different backgrounds, creating an incredibly diverse environment! I personally have never used the skills learnt from my university degree since I have been at Elevate. From my first day of stepping into the office I have learnt and built upon the skills I was trained in and continue to learn everyday through observation within our office. The business theory and acumen I have gained since working for Elevate is incomparable and I am almost certain I would not have been exposed to it anywhere else. To me, success at Elevate is dependent on your ambitions and character traits and the embodiment of our 8 core values that direct everyone’s behaviors. If you have a passion for education and truly want to help students succeed, plus you’re are heavily invested in your own professional and personal development then you would be a perfect Elevate fit no matter your background!

What’s the coolest thing about your job?

Wow, where to start! I think I would need to split this into two separate parts.

The first, is that the company instills a huge amount of trust in each of its employees and, as a result, everyone is given a lot of autonomy and the freedom (within reason) to complete your job to the best of your ability. There isn’t anyone peering over your shoulder or constantly checking up on you, you set your own goals and targets and you can create your own path for how you want to achieve it. If you have an idea or a potential project, no matter how big or small, your thoughts will always be heard and well considered and this is how some of our most exciting business ventures have been born!

The second, is that the people we work with are very much close friends as much as we are colleagues. The oldest person in the office in 27 which means it is a very vibrant and dynamic workplace, and everyone is extremely likeminded and working for the company for the same reason. We are all passionate about education and very invested in the success of the company which creates a great ‘work hard play hard’ culture. We have frequent breaks across the day for ‘Rondo’ (‘around the world’ table tennis) and almost every Friday night the team goes out for drinks to celebrate the week that was!

What are the limitations of your job?

A limitation of the job ironically ties in with my favorite part, being the autonomy and freedom that we are afforded. We all work extremely hard to hit our goals and targets as we are held accountable for them. This sometimes means that the hard yards need to be put in and you will not always be working the standard 9 – 5pm hours. While we certainly do not work through all hours of the night, you do need to have the flexibility to work later if it is needed.

Also, as we have 120 casual employees across Australia, you can never predict what unforeseen issues might pop up that need immediate action. This can mean weekend and early morning calls if issues pop up.

3 pieces of advice you would give yourself as a student

  1. Do not worry too much if you don’t have a concrete plan. I am a firm believer of “everything happens for a reason”. We have had it constantly drilled in to us from a young age that we must all have goals and plans in place. Goals are great, but do not let it stress you out if you do not have an exact plan. Things will fall into place in time and opportunities will come to you that you never expected.
  2. Change is good! Do not be afraid of it. Be open to new and exciting opportunities no matter how daunting they may be. You will always learn from them and even though it might be tricky initially, it will be the best decision you make!
  3. Read! There are so many great books out there to help your personal development! It seems that every great leader in the business world has written a book, get your hands on them and the more knowledge you can acquire, the more you can apply it to your job and other parts of your life.