Written by Max Ibbotson, Final Year English Language Student and Careers Service Student Blogger
What I’ve Learned From Job-Hunting
Well, it’s time. You’ve finally finished uni. Coursework submitted, exams buried, Big Hands roof garden visited. You were hoping this day would stay away forever, but it can’t. The day is here for you to actually get a job. Here are a few of the things I’ve found out, and that you will too, about the Job-Hunting Landscape.
- You never hate yourself more than when you’re writing your CV/cover letter
It seems strange that the worst kind of person with an ocean-filling hubris is more likely to get a job over you, a nicer, humbler person. But CVs and cover letters are both a no-man’s-land for social conventions – you don’t usually like to boast about it, but now every employer is going to know about that ‘commitment’ badge you earned in year 9. Show off.
- Don’t be afraid to apply to companies with no jobs advertised
It’s actually quite a common – if a bit scary – way to get a job. Sometimes it’s because they’ve not got around to advertising the job, or they just like the initiative. Either way, it’s a valid way to get your name known. Although, it is excruciating trying to sell yourself to someone who doesn’t want to be sold anything – so congratulations, you’re officially now a cold caller!
- Entry-level jobs often ask for two years-experience
I mean, WHAT??? Frankly, it’s ridiculous and I have no real advice to give you other than to go back in time and get yourself and internship for a job you didn’t know you wanted at the time. (Although if you’re reading this and not yet in your final year, do what you can to gain any kind of practice and understanding of the industry you want to work in. This can be as simple as joining a society and running their social media or organising their events. Also, the university offer mentoring schemes that are a great way to get hold of some work experience
- Job titles don’t always match the job descriptions
You could come across what sounds like your dream job. Being a ‘Marketing Executive’, for example, sounds pretty good. You might be in charge of some people, maybe have your own office. However, check the job description and buried within the stuff about ‘liaising with team members’ and ‘successful achievements of goals and meeting deadlines’ is the bullet point that the job is mainly just handing out flyers. That’s right: you’re going to start off as one of those people stood outside in the rain near the SU. Doesn’t sound very ‘executive-y’, does it? On the other hand, you may see a job title that’s maybe not your bag, but the job description is ticking all the boxes. It’s all very deceiving. And annoying. The point is: every industry and sector have their own quirks and nuances with their job titles. Do your research and work out what job titles really mean. An ‘executive’ in marketing may be very different to an ‘executive’ in finance, for example. Watch out.
- You’re not going to find your dream job just yet
Despite what I said above, it’s very unlikely that what you want to do will be available to you straight after graduation. Do your homework – how do you get to where you want to be? Often, you’ll have to zig-zag your way in to the job by doing stuff that’s similar but not exactly the thing you were after. Plus, employers will appreciate that you know and have experienced multiple areas of the industry. Don’t let go of the dream just yet.