Vanessa Collins on Paddling her Way to the Australia Post Graduate Program

January 31, 2019
By Chris Girardi

Traditional job applications can be outright dull. Sure, there’s the excitement that comes with finding a new position or seeing a new office space, but there’s equally a heap of tedious paperwork, nerve wracking interviews and LONG wait times. This is something we’re helping to change (check out what we did for the hospitality industry) by making the application process, quick, easy and based on skills you demonstrate or the experience you have - not just how you write about them.

Vanessa Collins is a great example of finding success through Paddl Challenges. She has participated in two Paddl Games assessments - the Blakes Feast Skills Challenge and the Australia Post Graduate Program Assessment Day. That means she’s experienced first-hand how we’re helping change the way companies hire talent.

We caught up with Vanessa to find out more about her experience as she prepares to start full time work in the 2019 Australia Post Graduate Program.

So Vanessa, can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your interests?

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I’m originally from West Gippsland, Victoria, and moved to Melbourne in 2016 to kick of my uni degree. The decision of what to study didn’t come easy for me. I had never been set on one field I wanted to get into. However, once I started my Business Degree, I knew I had made the right decision. 3 years later I graduated with a Bachelor of Business majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from RMIT.

My interests and hobbies include small-medium business development and growth, photography, travel, seeing new places, being immersed in different cultures, and cooking. Throughout my degree I also volunteered - this was a great chance to develop my skills and increase my ability to talk about different experiences and situations; I would highly recommend this to everyone!

Your first Paddl experience was the Australia Post Graduate Program Assessment Day in September 2018. How would you describe it?

The day was great! It was interactive and fun, we got to work in small teams to address a problem given to us by the company. Don’t get me wrong, the day was intense and a struggle at times to get the work done before the deadlines, but well worth the experience. We had to work with people we had just met that morning. So while working on the problem, we were also getting to know each other, how to work as a group and everyone’s strengths and weakness. This was a great experience and something to take away from the day that you wouldn’t get in a traditional sit-down interview.

Each team had 2 Australia Post team members who were there to observe but also answer questions throughout the day. At the Australia Post Day, we also had an opportunity for a 15-minute chat with someone from the HR team. This was a good opportunity for them to gain more of a personal understanding about each of us which is not obtainable from purely being observed.

We then saw you again at the Blakes Feast Skills Challenge in October 2018. How did the day go? Did it differ to your first experience?

It was fun, easy going and not stressful at all. Unlike the traditional sit-down job interview it was a great way for us to be able to show off our catering skills. The morning involved 3 rounds - a cocktail party service of drinks, cocktail party service of food and then a sit-down dinner plate clear. These were short little simulations to show how we responded in the different situations, allowing us to demonstrate our skills.

The Blakes Feast Skills Challenge was around 90 minutes, unlike the Australia Post Graduate Program Assessment Day was a full day event. But, they both had the same fundamental premise - to display and showcase our skills and strengths.

We’re so glad you enjoyed each day! How did you find the pre-assessment application? Did it differ from your other application experiences?

Both of the application processes were quite similar; they started with my Paddl profile. I then had the opportunity to write a short ‘cover letter’ to answer some quick multiple choice questions, and the application was finished! I then had phone interviews which gave me a chance to elaborate on my experiences, interest in the job and skills. Finally, it finished with the challenge days.

Creating a Paddl Profile, rather than a traditional resume made me think about what I would really want an employer to know about me. But, compared to other application processes, I think the biggest difference is the skills assessment that Paddl runs. These days are fun and engaging, and for me it almost felt like I wasn’t at a job interview!

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So, now you’ve successfully landed a role with Australia Post, can you tell us a bit about what you understand you’ll be doing?

The role at Australia Post is a 2-year graduate program. It consists of 3 rotations in their business generalist stream. I am not yet sure what my first rotation will be, as this one is given to me by Australia Post at the start. From then on, I get to choose my following 2 rotations when the time comes.

Since you became involved with these events while you were studying, what would your advice be to other people who are approaching the end of their studies?

Keep your eyes peeled! Paddl was a great platform for me as I saw these opportunities and just went for it. There’s no harm in just trying and putting yourself out there. The search can be long and hard but try not to doubt yourself. My philosophy was to put my best foot forward and to not dwell on what the outcome could be or if I could have done something better or different after the day.

Finally, best of luck, and don’t be afraid to go to a challenge day - they are good fun and you’ll learn lots!

Now it’s your turn

We have a bunch more awesome opportunities coming up later this year and want YOU to be the first to know. All you have to do is create your Paddl Profile, then add Activity Cards to showcase your experience, and you’ll be ready to go!

You can also join our ‘Student & Graduate Opportunities’ Facebook Group, where a community of like-minded Paddlrs come together to keep up to date on awesome opportunities, organisations and job sectors, and to support each other as they kick off their career journeys.