So you have graduated, or about to graduate, and the dreaded job hunt begins. You maybe in a lucky position and already have a job lined up because of the connections you have made, or you are self employed, but for most that isn’t the case. Although graduate unemployment is at its lowest in 39 years, the struggle is still very real for most; especially when you have no idea what to do.
I’m in a slightly different position. I went from my undergraduate degree straight to a masters programme, but fate is still the same and come September I will be searching for a graduate role or work in the sport industry. However, that doesn’t mean the work of searching for a job hasn’t already begun. My aim is to find work experience and internships alongside my postgraduate degree, to build connections and increase my experience in the field.
It isn’t all straight forward, and searching and applying for jobs isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but I suppose most of us have to go through it.
It is crazy the things you learn from applying for jobs, even if you don’t get an interview. Over the course of the last year, and applying for countless jobs in different sectors, there are a few things that I have learnt through the process.
1 – No matter how creative your CV may look, it doesn’t mean you will get an interview, let alone the job.
Recently I have been creating more ‘creative’ CV’s for job applications, mainly using Canva after trying use Pages and it all going horrifically wrong. Don’t get me started on Microsoft Word templates either – the stress was real. Canva on the other hand is great. Now, instead of your bog standard word document CV I have created more colourful and out there CVs to emphasis the ‘creative’ requirement that so many jobs require. A few weeks ago I spent three hours doing a CV, only to be emailed this week that I had been unsuccessful, yet I matched all the job requirements. Proof that you can be creative but it doesn’t give you bonus points for an interview.
2 – Not every firm or business will tell you if you have been successful or not at each stage.
Oh wow, so many businesses don’t get back to you. Some will actually say that ‘if you don’t hear from us in x amount of weeks, consider your application unsuccessful’. Okay I get that, but it’s the businesses that don’t give you anything. I suppose it’s the ruthless world of work.
3 – And if a business does get back to you, sometimes it will be months after you had applied (and the deadline).
So yesterday I got an email saying that my application has been unsuccessful for a job I had applied for in July with a closing date in July. I think I had worked that one out for myself. I suppose it was nice to receive an email anyway.
4 – Don’t apply for ‘internships’ that in the description somehow state that it would be good (but not limited to) undergraduates on placement schemes.
Clearly it’s going to be a waste of time. They don’t want graduates or soon to be masters graduates, but an undergraduate doing a placement year, but they don’t actually make that very clear. Some businesses do, and some sneakily put it deep in the job description. Anyway, at that point try, but you will most likely be unsuccessful and won’t get an interview.
5 – Most internships want more skills and experience than what you will probably achieve in your whole working career
The amount of times I have been unsuccessful because other candidates have more experience and skills. It’s an internship, I thought they were to help develop skills and not discriminate against people who want to build those skills. The annoying thing is is that most of the time I meet all the job requirements. I have writing skills, social media skills, interpersonal, communication, team work, creativity with plenty of examples.
6 – It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
It’s the age old saying, and not having connections in the right place can really suck. Use social media to your best advantage. Follow people in the field, or possible field you want to be in. Also create a more professional Twitter and reach out through that. You never know who will see your tweets or who may get in contact with you.
7 – Don’t just use one website to search for jobs
Don’t just stick to target jobs or your university careers website. LinkedIn is great. Also try to find job boards that are for a specific industry. If you are looking in sport business / industry, then try Women In Football, Kick It Out, Jobs in Football, and UK Sport for example. If you looking for more creative marketing jobs then Dots is also great.
8 – Twitter can be your best friend in the career search, or your nightmare
Creating a professional twitter was the best thing I have ever done on Twitter, except for getting Justin Bieber to follow me in 2014 but that’s another story. Although my main twitter has 40,000 followers and my professional only 90, I have followed people within the industry and helping to build professional connections that I haven’t yet done so on LinkedIn.
9 – Tailoring a CV and Cover Letter to each job and business takes time, but you have to do it
One of the most important things you can do. Tailor it to the job requirements and the business. Although I currently work in retail, the place I work has been accepting CVs for a part time job in the men’s fashion chain, however candidates haven’t been tailoring their CV’s and half don’t know what a cover letter is. Honestly we don’t need someone who can use a forklift, or can arrange flowers nicely – it’s a job serving clothes to customers. It’s quite funny really. Yes I know data protection, but my manager likes all staff (there are 6 of us) to also evaluate applicants who put their CV in.
10 – Assessment Center’s are shit and ruthless
I have already moaned about assessment center’s before, so I won’t go on too much, but role play at assessment center’s is real and I’m still annoyed that is what I failed on. Anyway, didn’t want to work in the sector anyway.
The craziest thing is i’m talking like I actually have a job. Well I do, but not a career. Here’s hoping that will change.
Love Alicia x