Advocating for Defence families

Take a chance and embrace your network

PwC was one of the first employers to support our Defence Partner Employment Initiative.

Thanks to Sarah who has kindly written for us on how she secured employment with the firm as a result of a networking event held here in Canberra at the beginning of the year.

Networking is an incredible tool; it can unlock opportunities you didn’t even know existed.

One Monday my neighbour tagged me in a DFA post for a Defence partner networking event at PwC. “Who are they?” I thought. Having been a secondary teacher for 6 years I was after a change. On one hand I wondered if I even had anything to offer such a company, but on the other thought I may as well have a go!

I’m certainly glad that I did. We heard from the Talent Acquisition team, a Director and a Manager in Consulting, and there was a firm feeling of excitement towards the possible opportunities PwC presented. While I was still uncertain that I had any relevant skills, I spoke to one of the recruiters and explained my background, and he suggested I send through my résumé. My résumé could have been interpreted as somewhat patchy; 4 years in one location, followed by 2 in another and a gap in employment, then only 6 months in my position at the time. Though that wasn’t a problem, as soon after I was contacted for a general phone screen. And later, to my surprise, I was invited to an interview.

My status as a Defence partner wasn’t of huge significance in the interview itself, but rather the discussion was focused on my experiences and the skills I had developed. Having left interviews in the past feeling sweaty, this one was rather reassuring (and conversational). It could also have something to do with posting to a cool, temperate region from the tropics!

Fast forward a month and i’m writing this as a PwC employee, from the flexible ‘activity-based working’ environment of their Canberra office. So far, I’ve had access to a range of opportunities, from coaching and development, to Social Impact time and agenda discussions, and it won’t stop there.

Having found teaching work from reaching out to schools directly, this experience reaffirms to me the value to be gained from networking. And while, as a woman, I could easily attribute this opportunity to luck, I now know the harm in such an ideology from my learnings at PwC thus far.

My advice: be open to any and all opportunities, and value your own skills. If anything, your ‘patchy’ work history should be interpreted as offering diversity in experience and adaptability. We are experts at negotiating the unknown and making a life of it, so rather than thinking what you have got to lose by reaching out to these employers, think instead about what you could gain.

Sarah Wilson

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