#MyJourneyToSoftcat – Ellie Fenton, Customer Services Executive
Customer Services Executive
Tell us about yourself
Hello! I’m Ellie and I’m from Maidenhead. I joined Softcat as a Customer Service Apprentice in April 2019 and graduated in September 2020. Before joining Softcat, I took a gap year after my A Levels because I wasn’t sure that university was the right path for me. In my gap year I was keen to figure out what I wanted to do, so I signed up to an agency where I could temp in offices around my area. This was hugely beneficial, as it made me think about the kind of environment I wanted to work in and showed me that I didn’t want to stop working either! Despite not wanting to attend university, I knew that I wanted to keep learning and gain another qualification, which made pursuing an apprenticeship perfect for me.
What is your role?
I am now a Customer Services Executive and I look after all the returns for my northern sales teams, as well as all invoicing queries across the business. Some of my day to day responsibilities include logging returns, chasing supplier credit notes, arranging collections, credit-reinvoicing orders and liaising with different teams within Softcat and our external suppliers.
What drew you to apply for Softcat?
Softcat kept popping up when I was looking for apprenticeships! I was vaguely aware of the company because I knew of people who had previously completed the apprenticeship scheme, but I just assumed the IT industry wasn’t for me! I finally decided to do some proper research into Softcat and realised it was so much more than I had originally thought. I also reached out to some of my friends within the company, and after hearing their experiences as well I realised that I would be stupid not to apply. The culture, values and successful apprenticeship scheme was exactly the kind of company I was looking to join.
<figure class="wpb_wrapper vc_figure"><img class="vc_single_image-img attachment-full" title="Apprentice cohort" src="https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apprentice-cohort.jpg" sizes="100vw" srcset="https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apprentice-cohort.jpg 2140w, https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apprentice-cohort-300x147.jpg 300w, https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apprentice-cohort-1024x502.jpg 1024w, https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apprentice-cohort-768x377.jpg 768w, https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apprentice-cohort-1536x754.jpg 1536w, https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apprentice-cohort-2048x1005.jpg 2048w" alt="" width="2140" height="1050" /></figure>
Tell us about your candidate experience during the recruitment process?
The recruitment process was smooth! It was split into three steps; the first step was the telephone interview. This was with a member of the recruitment team, and the purpose here was for them to get to know me and my goals for the future, and for me to get some more insight into the company and the role I was applying to. The next step was the face to face interview with my soon-to-be team leaders. It was a really nice interview experience and they put my nerves at ease. I think the positive vibe of the office when I was walking round really helped me too! The final stage was meeting my department manager, this was more of a friendly conversation and a ‘get to know me’ session rather than a formal interview. The day after, I received a call saying I got the job! The apprenticeship scheme started in September 2019, but as there was an opening for a temp in my team I got to start earlier which I was really happy about.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself at the start of the recruitment process?
Don’t be so nervous and don’t doubt yourself! After the interview process, I quickly realised that I wasn’t there to be grilled or tested, they just wanted to get to know me! It was the nicest recruitment process I had ever been through, and I truly felt that throughout the experience they just wanted me to do well.
How has your Softcat experience been so far? How do you feel Softcat has supported you in your career?
I’ve had an amazing experience with Softcat so far. After my apprenticeship I was awarded with Non-Sales Apprentice of the Year which was a huge achievement and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my team, managers, and the apprenticeship scheme leaders. I’ve had so many opportunities to expand my knowledge and progress in my career at Softcat. Outside of my job role, I am also part of Softcat’s BAME network which is so supportive and something I wish I had at school and college. This has allowed me to be involved with so many events that support the community. One of my favourite events so far was being part of a panel that supported a group of young BAME girls with how to market themselves, gain interview experience and transition from education to work. The biggest thing that my time at Softcat has taught me that you’re not limited to your job role and there are always things to get involved with and put yourself forward for.
<figure class="wpb_wrapper vc_figure"><img class="vc_single_image-img attachment-full" title="founders 2019" src="https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/founders-2019.jpg" sizes="100vw" srcset="https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/founders-2019.jpg 1242w, https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/founders-2019-300x219.jpg 300w, https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/founders-2019-1024x746.jpg 1024w, https://jobs.softcat.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/founders-2019-768x560.jpg 768w" alt="" width="1242" height="905" /></figure>
What would be your ‘Top Tip’ for success within Softcat?
I don’t think I would have done half of the things that I have if it wasn’t for the apprenticeship scheme or my involvement with the Softcat Networks such as BAME. Instilling that mindset of believing in yourself and not being afraid to put yourself out there early in your career is really important and a great way to build your skillset and get noticed.
What advice would you give someone thinking about joining Softcat?
Go for it! Don’t doubt yourself or your experiences. Softcat is a really supportive environment, you just need to be yourself!