This month is it. The teaching aspect of my Masters comes to an end, and with it all of the free time!! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. No. I bloody well wish. From the end of April onwards I have three 4,000 word essays due on 2nd May, a 15,000 word dissertation due on 1st September, oh and about three holidays I want to go on, which means getting a ‘proper’ job, and actually doing something with my life is of paramount importance right now.
I was incredibly lucky that when I was 18 and decided it was time to get a part time job, I applied to about seven, had a casual interview with the Echo Arena and got the job on the spot. As it’s a zero hour contract, I have managed to keep that job for almost five years now (as if it’s been five years since I was 18 ;(). Similarly, when I knew I was moving to Leicester, I had a casual interview with the O2 Academy and got a zero hour contract with them. All great for fitting around university and long distance relationship and friendships demands. But now, I need a job, a career, a graduate position, a dream to live, a fulfilling way to go about my day and pay all of the bills!! Yeah, those things are way less easy to come by. Here’s a quick list of what I’ve learned in the process, and some tips for those of you about to begin this journey/are currently on it. Feel free to give me tips too! I’m still waiting to confirm a ‘proper’ job, so I’m by no means an exemplary expert.
1) It’s not going to happen first time
You are not going to get the first grown up job you apply for. Accept it now, it will make this arduous process a lot less painful. I know a couple of people who did graduate and head straight into their career, and I’m ecstatic for and proud of them, but most of them have degrees in law, or events management, or accountancy, or medicine, so as much as they still have to make a massive effort and apply all over the place, their degree was 75% certain to take them somewhere quickly. If your degree is in something like English or History, and you don’t want to be a teacher, it is likely to be a bit of while before you settle on a career idea, nevermind into chosen career. Then of course, if you want to join something like the Police, you have to wait for them to actually be recruiting. The best way to deal with this is to literally apply everywhere, I must have sent out about 40 odd applications for various things and have had my application progressed about 10 times. Just keep at it.
2) Don’t forget: the job position is there to be filled
This is the single best thing I have ever had pointed out to me in regards to applying for jobs. The reason you were able to send in your CV is because that company NEEDS the position filling. They NEED you, as much as you need them. No, they don’t need you enough to accept you if you’re completely and utterly wrong for the job, but it does mean they will cut you some slack in terms of accounting for nerves in an interview etc, because they can only get away with not hiring someone for so long. Remembering this helps you retain a little bit of power of the situation, which I’ve found is very helpful.
3) Your CV needs to be bloody impressive
It’s all well and good have a 2:1 degree in a relevant subject, having been on a sports team or in a society at university, and having done your D of E silver or volunteered at a festival, but guess what; you’re not the only one!! You know you did all those things because your parents or your school told you it would be good for your CV? Well there were parents and schools telling millions of other kids in millions of other places to do the same things. These things will definitely help you get a job because of the skills they gave you, but if an employer is reading over this same facts fifty times a day, at least make sure your facts look a bit different, and big up anything unusual, like what grade piano or tap dance you are. Make sure they’re clear, concise, but particularly if you’re wanting a job in a creative field, play around with your layout etc to wake the employer up once they get to your CV. The two most helpful resources I used for perfecting my CV were my fantastic friend Jane, who had already been accepted for more jobs than myself so I knew she had a clue, and the website adzuna. For free, adzuna will let you upload your CV and then give it a percentage along with points about how to improve it.
4) Your job/career doesn’t have to be everything
I think one of the most important things you need to decide is what you want your job, whatever it is, to be to you. At the moment, my jobs are literally just ways for me to gain some experience and earn money. All I want to do right now is be able to answer a question about a time I’ve given good customer service, and afford to have all of the fun with my friends! eg. last weekend back at Keele during which there was all the dancing, all the drinking and all the laughing ❤ Next year, I want to build on experience and earn enough money that I can save as much as possible for the future. Then after that I want a job that fulfills, motivates and challenges me, but that isn’t for everyone. For some people, a job is always about earning money to spend on experiences and nothing else, and that’s more than OK too. It will help your struggle through applications if you decide which way you want to go though.
5) You’re absolutely bloody amazing and it’s going to be OK
Your worth should never be calculated by a weight scale or a pay scale, the opinions of someone who’s never met or the opinions of someone who never made the effort to get to know you. Keep trying, utilise all offers of help you are given, do your research about companies before applying, and stick with the people who will build you up no matter what. You can do it. I promise.