Cyber-security, sales and sports science might not, at first glance, appear to have much in common, but for Sean McCarthy, it was the skills he learned on his degree course that won him an exciting job with international tech company Avecto.
“When I was in my final year, I went to some careers fairs and researched graduate jobs but I only really looked at sports-related organisations because I really didn’t know what else I could do or what else was out there,” recalls Sean. “It was a chance call from a graduate recruitment company that introduced me to the idea of sales and made me realise that the skills I had developed during my sports science degree were transferable to a load of other careers.”
After a year in the sales department of software company AppSense, Sean moved to Avecto as an Account Manager for the aerospace and defence sectors. His role involves advising senior managers of some of the biggest brands in the world on cyber-security systems to protect their valuable data.
“Although I obviously have to know a lot about the software we provide, my job is less about the technology and more about applying the kind of skills I developed at Edge Hill – time management, working to multiple deadlines, delivering compelling presentations. I spend most of my day talking to prospective and existing clients so good communication skills are also really important. I’ve always been a very competitive person – the type who wants to get the highest marks – so a job with targets and performance-related pay is ideal for me.”
However, it wasn’t just the variety of the job and the uncapped sales targets that attracted Sean to Avecto. The company is renowned for its ‘Silicon Valley’ style culture, and keeps its employees happy and productive with a range of perks including an on-site games room, gym, complimentary snacks and regular incentive events.
“I think people might be put off applying for jobs with tech companies because they think they need a degree in Computer Science or Maths, but companies like Avecto need employees with a whole range of different skills.
“As a student, you can become quite insular and focused on your degree subject, when actually you might be suited to a career in a completely different area,” says Sean. “People say, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’, so my advice to students is to get as much information on different careers as you can, speak to recruiters to see what’s out there, go on assessment days to find out what you’d be good at. The results might surprise you.”