Gemma Bartlett on her career in the Recruitment sector interviews Gemma Bartlett, Director at Cooper Jones Ltd.

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

Trust your gut instinct and don’t be afraid to take risks. You have to take a few risks if you want to be really successful, but it’s also about making intelligent choices and believing in yourself.

How did you choose what industry you wanted to work in?

I decided I wanted to work in Recruitment after 7 years of Retail Management, where I worked long hours for very little reward. I realised that the financial rewards that come with working in Recruitment as well as the quick progression, were the things that motivated me the most and I wanted to be a part of it.

What difference do you believe being a woman has made to your career?

I think it can open up doors for you in some ways. Recruitment is extremely male dominated, especially in certain sectors, and being a woman can put a different spin on things as you tend to naturally approach things in different ways. However other than this it hasn’t made much difference– in this industry you have to be strong, determined and confident regardless of gender and you won’t get far unless you are!

What have you had to risk/sacrifice to get to the position you have?

Starting my own business is a risk in itself as anyone who has done it will know, but I believe if you work smart and work hard you don’t have to sacrifice too much. I still have a good work / life balance although work is much more important to me now and I do put in more hours than I used to!

What advice would you give to aspiring graduates looking to work in your field?

I would firstly advise that they talk to Cooper Jones! We have a number of great opportunities for people looking to get into the Recruitment and Head hunting industry. But I would also stress that Recruitment is a sales role – therefore you must be prepared for what the role involves and ideally get some telephone based sales experience before going into it – it will stand you in really good stead and set you apart from others.

What have you struggled most with since starting your career, and do you have any advice on how to overcome it?

I struggled at first with the cold calling side of the role – not so much getting on the phones and doing the calls, but how to get the decision makers to listen to you. But I quickly realised that people buy into people - as soon as I put my own personality into it rather than following a “structured call” it turned things around.

Do you feel diversity is an issue where you work?

I think it can be more of an issue in this industry than it is with others, and I do find this at times when I am trying to place people into Recruitment roles. However, I think as we move forward the industry is seeing that employing people from a range of backgrounds can add significant value to their organisation.

What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?

This industry has some pretty great things going for it – it’s fast paced and challenging every day, you’re never clock watching, it’s a very sociable industry with great incentives and you can progress really quickly based on your own success. I have also never grown tired of the buzz of doing a deal. But most of all I love the financial rewards you can gain from this industry and that you are in charge of your earning potential. Not many other jobs will see you earning as much as you can in Recruitment, as well as having a long term career set out in front of you.