So I’m going to share some advice about what to do and what not to do after you graduate, based on my experience.
First, I’m going to give you a low-down on the recruitment agencies. I’m not their biggest fans, to be honest. They seem to want to help you, but only when you exclusively fit the role they are actively working on. That’s fair enough, but their job is to help you get a job, right? Often, the roles they are working on are sales based, & in my experience it’s about 80%. So what happens when you don’t want a sales role and would like to pursue something creative? A lot of the creative roles desire candidates that have at least a years relevant experience in the field.
Here comes the Catch 22… How can you have experience in a role you haven’t worked, in order to get the role? You fall into the void, unless you secure a job months in advance.
Personally, I have probably applied for around 300 jobs in the last 3 weeks. I still don’t have a job. Let’s all laugh at that, shall we? Many of these roles were via job searching websites, like Reed, Guardian Jobs, Total Jobs, CV Library & Milkround. Not all of the employers got back to me, and even more annoyingly not all of the applications reached them. I did not receive a confirmation email from their side – I can’t even stress enough how important it is that you get one. I have been on quite a few interviews, all sales based, though some of them were disguised under the umbrella of marketing, (don’t even get me started on that). I’ll be honest, some of them were successful, but I dropped out, or declined to continue, purely because I didn’t feel right about the role or the work environment. It’s important to note here that you shouldn’t just take any job. You’ll have to do that job for at least a year. Choose wisely.
Some interviews didn’t go well, and I was told I was unsuccessful, hand shaken and I left feeling a little dejected. Some didn’t even get back to me, post interview, I didn’t hear anything at all. Some interviews were on the phone, and though the calls went well, reviewing my CV I was discounted. Last but not least, there were 2 roles that gave me mini-assessments to do. Suffice to say I failed. I’m still not sure if they were completely necessary – specifically the maths questions for an editing role. Banter!
On one particular day I went to 3 different interviews in one day. Laugh with me! I travelled in to Southwark, and waited for 30 minutes. I decided I’d better leave, though I hadn’t been seen, as I had another appointment to keep. I then rushed over to Royal Victoria, and waited 40 minutes after my allocated interview time, only to be invited back, but decline either way. I then rushed over to Angel to see the last appointment who did not even call me back… I have done the legwork, so you don’t have to. Don’t stretch yourself too thin, do one a at time, and be prepared to wait, as nobody values your time as much as you do!
So what can you do to get a job starting in the summer? (It’s only mid-july, you have time!)
– refine and tailor your CV for your desired industry/sector
– write a cover letter, or a short personal summary to add above your CV
– you can put your CV onto the recruiter databases
– you can put your CV on Indeed & Reed & use one click apply
– you can reach out to prospective companies directly, look for a “careers” or “work for us” page
– you can directly call and badger the companies you would like to work for, ask for HR & send your CV in directly
– look for either “Entry-level” or “Graduate” in the title, if you have a year of experience you can opt for “Junior”
– make sure you don’t stretch yourself too thin, and come across over eager
So in summary, I say apply for only the roles that you are sure that you fit the criteria. Make sure you read the job description carefully, and if/when interviewed, make sure to regurgitate it back to them. Go on as many interviews as you can, as this will help build your confidence and give you some unteachable lessons. Take it one day a time, and don’t jump at the first job offer you get.
I hope you have better luck than me!