I am currently in my second year of a 2-year Graduate Account Manager scheme here at Auto Trader within our Retailer Development & Support Tribe. My role has so far enabled me to work in all areas of our Tribe to understand all customer types, from independent dealers to larger franchise retailers, and the challenges they may be facing.
Ultimately, my final role as an Account Manager will be focused around our larger customers to help them unlock opportunities and get the best value out of their Auto Trader spend.
A typical working day for me usually starts at 6am – I give myself an hour to get out of the house which means I don’t get time for any breakfast, but I can make my essential coffee-to-go! Although my train to Manchester isn’t until 07:44 I have to get to my local train station in good time in order for me to get a parking space, but I don’t mind as I then use it as an opportunity to wake up, have my coffee and speak to my parents who live across the country in Surrey.
The train journey is often cramped, stuffy and stressful but I try to use it as an opportunity to catch up on the morning news headlines, social media and industry news.
A short seven minute walk to the Manchester office from the train station provides a nice blast of fresh air before I go into the office for the day. Depending on the rotation I am in, I will find a desk in my team’s allocated area – no one has an allocated desk, as hot-desking is designed to encourage collaboration and the chance to get to know different people in your team. On reflection this has been really useful, and I feel I’ve built up a good support network within the office.
The work I then do will be entirely dependent on the rotation I am in. My most recent rotation was a five week stint in the Retailer Insight Specialist team, whereby customers or their account owners can request data and insights form Auto Trader that might not be readily available to them to access externally. This involves data manipulation and presentation in order to draw as much insight from the data as possible to feed back to our customers so they can make beneficial changes to their business operations.
For my lunch break (or ‘dinner’ break as the Northerners call it), I heat my pre-packed lunch and sit in the canteen to eat. I usually go with the rest of my graduate intake, as it’s a nice opportunity to catch up on what we’re all doing (our team is sometimes split across different teams) and share our experiences.
My day may also be broken up with meetings for the Make a Difference Guild – this is something I feel strongly about, as it focuses on how Auto Trader can make a difference to our wider communities that we live and work in. I am part of the team that helps to promote the use of our volunteering days we are given (we each get to paid-leave days a year for volunteering_ to volunteer at local charities. Our meetings are usually around planning campaigns to roll out to our colleagues or providing updates to the wider Guild.
In the evenings, after I’ve had my afternoon battle with the trains, I usually give myself some down time to unwind, be that with a glass of wine or a cup of tea, or go for a run if my partner is home in good time (I don’t like running on my own, especially as a woman). This is then followed by cooking our dinner together. I really like to cook and we usually try a new recipe each week which is nice and mixes things up. Before going to bed, I sometimes use the Headspace app that we get for free through Auto Trader, which helps me to completely relax before going to sleep – and that’s a typical day in the life of Nat!
I graduated from The University of Liverpool in 2015, so I’m not a ‘new’ grad as such – I came to Auto Trader with three years’ experience of working, although it was a completely different career path. The Graduate Account Manager role entails working with a lot of data and being confident articulating this to our retailers, be that on the phone or face to face. Therefore, the two main skills I’d say for this role are being comfortable with data and speaking to others – not only this but having empathy and demonstrating that you are considerate of others and the situations they might be in, are definitely essential traits to have. Overall, any role within Auto Trader is underpinned by the company’s core values – these are applied to everything that we do within our day-to-day roles and the impact we have on the wider business.