On: The Job Hunt | Where To Start?

Okay, let’s not pretend that finding a job is easy. It takes hard work, dedication, time, and probably some tears thrown in there as well. There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing what you’re capable of and having no one return your emails, calls, pleas of desperation. Having been out of uni for nearly a year now (something I try not to think about too often), I’m still struggling. So my question is, how does anyone actually get a freaking job?

Like many graduates, I finished my university degree ready to burst into the work force. I wanted to work. I still want to work. However, this proved very difficult. The thing is this: I’ve come out of my higher education full to the brim with skills, but with no experience. That is always the thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across a listing for a job that looks like this:

AMAZING JOB OPPORTUNITY!

Are you looking for a job that you’re perfect for? Then look no further! Our perfect candidate MUST:

  • Be a recent graduate (I am!)
  • Have excellent computer skills, with knowledge in such-and-such software (Wow, I do!)
  • Be able to work well both independently and in a team (I went to uni, so of course I can)
  • Have excellent time management skills (See above)
  • Be willing to work unsociable hours (The job description and company look amazing, so ya)
  • Have 3-5 years experience in this field. Any applicant without will not be considered (Um…)

Tell me this hiring people: How am I supposed to ever get experience if there are hardly any jobs where you get trained in the job. The amount of times I’ve seen the above type of advert is ridiculous. I understand that businesses want people straight out of uni because then they can pay less or whatever, but where is this magical experience supposed to come from?

I’ve applied to these sorts of jobs before, and saying the whole ‘I’m a fast learner’ thing (better worded, or at least I hope), and have received many a reply saying I don’t have enough experience. Yes, but I have everything else you’re looking for! Sigh.

University is where you’re meant to cultivate your network. Your tutors and lecturers are all industry or ex-industry professionals and you can go to them and ask for help. This being said, actually being friends with your tutors and lecturers is quite difficult. For starters, depending on who you’re talking to, these people are quite often very busy, what with working at a university and all. I’m quite lucky and, with a group of people, was able to get a small amount of work in the television studio at my uni. The technical director of the studio got us all these jobs and he was amazing at helping us all learn new skills, both within the studio and how to go about approaching professionals.

These people are meant to be your gateway to your chosen profession, but what do you do if you don’t know anyone? You could do the route I chose: internships. Having been an intern for quite a few different businesses, I can tell you how frustrating it can be. For seven months I worked in a film distribution company. As advertised on the listing, I thought I would be writing pieces for all the films released, be organising promotional material, and generally just have a job within the office. Nope. I got to get the director’s lunch everyday, calling couriers, and sorting paperwork. Fun. (Whilst I say all this, I did have a great time there, but there’s being an intern, and then there’s being the person who does all the jobs no one else wants to do). I later learned that another intern (who had been at the business for over 2 years) had only just been offered a casual position. 2 years. As much as I love a place, I could never work there for free for 2 years.

I also don’t get paid in my current role, although I do very much have a role. I run the website and all social media, I am in contact with clients. From these two places, I now have the experience I need in order to apply to these sorts of jobs – it’s just a matter of finding the best place to suit you. The media industry in particular has great opportunities for people of all experience levels. I’ve seen a lost of listings that are volunteer/experience/internship roles. I’ve then seen a very similar listing but for a full time job. As film media is so specialised, there are a lot of people who simply cannot afford to pay the people working for them (the position I’m in right now).

Act today only, tomorrow is too late

It can be so easy to give up your job search. Rejection after rejection (or in most cases, silence after silence) it can be tempting to just not even apply, as you already know what the answer will be. DO NOT GET YOURSELF DOWN! You can do it! Many a time I’ve found myself looking at a listing and thinking ‘eh, I’ll just do it tomorrow’. Tomorrow comes around and I’ve lost my motivation. It can be so difficult to stay motivated when you feel like you’re taking two steps forward and one step back. If you ever feel like you can’t do it, just think of this depressing quote:

People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents. — Andrew Carnegie

Yeah. Does anyone want mediocrity? This is the question all job seekers must ask themselves. If you’re like me and are lazier than you wish to admit, the trick to starting is finding something small to motivate yourself. Something as simple as a ‘job diary’ – write down the job you want to apply for on the date the listing ends, as this gives you a physical visual reference of when to apply for what. Now that everything is online it can be really difficult to keep track of everything, so I find it helps to have something you can hold in your hands. You could also tell someone what and when you’re going to apply for something. I don’t know about you, but the thought of disappointing someone by not doing what I said I would is awful. (Of course, make sure to tell someone who cares about your future. Your next door neighbour’s girlfriend of two weeks might not be the one).

I’m going to make this into a little series of me ranting about finding a job, so next time I’ll be writing about where to look. And on that, I shall leave you with something to lift your spirits!

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. – Norman Vincent Peale

Thanks Norman.

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