Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

Grad Expectations: Why finishing university has made me feel like a character from a Dickens novel. One of the unwashed ones. Running around the dark underbelly of London with an inexplicably Cockney, but not quite Cockney, accent. Also, an exercise in whether people will read long article titles.

In Commentary on January 4, 2013 at 8:30 am

Over the last 6 months, I have undergone an incredible journey. By journey I mean a metaphorical journey. I haven’t actually physically moved that much. Come to think of it, it hasn’t really been that incredible. Let’s start again.

For the last three years I’ve been wondering what lay on the other side of that mystical curtain known as Graduation. Now that I’m on the other side of said curtain, I sort of wish I had spent my time wondering about something else. How exactly do they manage to fit an entire forest into a can of pine fresh air freshener for example…

Seriously though, I sailed through my undergraduate degree thinking that it would be easy to find a job at the end of it. Oh how wrong I was. I mean, it was obviously wrong to have a sense of entitlement simply because I had gained a degree, but 6 months later and I’m still looking for work. That just ain’t sitting pretty with me.  I’m not alone either. Youth unemployment is at an all-time high. The question is; what can one do to get that all important job?

I would say that the first, and possibly one of the most important things, is to not get disheartened. Yes, it may feel like you’re embarking on a never ending shame spiral of daytime TV and snack foods that under any other circumstances would seem disgusting but somehow now seem appropriate, but you have to remember that the only way to succeed is to maintain a positive outlook. This may be difficult if you’re surrounded by friends who are out buying iPads and going on expensive holidays, especially if you’ve always though they’re not as intelligent as you in a their-degree-is-complete-twaddle-compared-to-mine-so-they’ll-never-get-a-real-job-but-I-won’t-say-that-to-them-because-they’ll-probably-get-offended sort of way. Still, chin up. iPads are so awesome I want to cry stupid anyway.

As part of this staying positive approach, you may want to consider working on the range of skills you have to offer prospective employers. The obvious go-to activity would be volunteering. As someone who has been volunteering in the interim, I can say truthfully that it is a very good thing to do. It is a great way to build up your skills, and who doesn’t want to give something back to the community? Volunteering is popular with employers as they like someone who does something constructive with their time. So if you haven’t already, check with your local charities whether they have any vacancies and get to it. You won’t regret it. And if you do, you’re probably doing it wrong.

It’s also worthwhile thinking outside the box and honing any other skills you might have lying about. Employers love people who are creative because it shows that you have the sort of mind that we be able to attack a problem from more directions than a game of Twister. They especially love it if you can demonstrate how you managed to turn a hobby into viable business idea/ product. Tap into your inner Apprentice and see what you can make with what you’ve got, Blue Peter style. The sky is literally the limit, unless your hobby is aerospace, in which case you’re on your own.  Handy with a needle and thread? You could sell your creations at craft fairs. If music is more your thing you could look at uploading your pieces on t’internet and selling them for commercial use. Why, you could even start a humorous yet informative blog.

Before finishing up, I think it’s important to point out that whilst you should be doing everything you can to make yourself seem more appealing to recruiters, employers themselves also have a responsibility to treat candidates fairly. Now I know that it comes down to there only being a limited number of jobs available and such, but I think its preposterous that recruiters are still refusing to give feedback to rejected candidates. I’m sorry Mr Recruiter, but if you expect me to spend hours researching your business in order to fill out an application with abstract questions asking me how the colour scheme of your logo is going to affect your shareholder dividends over the next quarter, the least you can do is to explain why my answers weren’t good enough. Receiving the irritating ‘there were just too many candidates of a high quality this year’ is bad enough, but NO REPLY AT ALL? WHY? WHY MUST YOU TREAT ME SO??

Again, I understand that it comes down a lack of time on the recruiter’s part to be able to provide detailed feedback to each and every candidate, but surely some effort can be made. How can job-seekers be expected to improve if they don’t know what they need to improve on? Perhaps people should be specifically employed just to provide such feedback. They could be given a cool name like Refuted Aspirant Liaison Technicians (if these positions get created as a result of this article I call dibs on Head Refuted Aspirant Liaison Technician).

To wrap up then, stay positive, do something useful and I really want an iPad.

As always, comments are welcome. iPads are even more welcome.


New Year, New Blog

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2013 at 10:02 pm

This is really just an apology that I haven’t even begun to use this blog properly and a reminder that I need to start. Also, a reminder to buy some milk, but mainly the blog thing.