Graduate Life: Chasing a Career

Since graduating in 2011, I’ve spent my time doing various part-time jobs.

The dream job I expected to achieve pretty quickly seemed to be floating away in the background and I know I’m not alone in this. Margaret Lynch, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, stated recently: “The number of graduates out of work is still far too high, and our own research earlier this year revealed that 56% had experienced some unemployment since graduating. In addition, a quarter of graduates we spoke to said they were in non-graduate level jobs”.  With news like this constantly in the headlines, it’s difficult to stay positive about achieving that perfect job.

It didn’t take long before the excitement of what the world of work could hold for me started to fade. In my spare time I was trawling through websites, newspapers and recruitment agencies to find jobs I believed I was qualified for. It started to occur to me that for graduate and junior jobs, there was still an element of experience needed – a degree wasn’t enough.

I started to feel like a statistic of underemployment but, as my mother said: “You never know where it might lead.”

You really don’t know what opportunities are just round the corner. However, it’s important to remember that these opportunities don’t always land at your feet. They may be difficult to obtain but they are not non-existent. In fact, according to BBC News Scotland, the official figures indicate that just under 60% of those who graduated last year were in permanent posts within 6 months. This is a 2.2% rise on 2009/10 – so hope isn’t lost! There are also many positive stories of graduates who manage to get their dream job too – Google it for a pick-me-up! Most of these lucky graduates have had some work experience or completed internships, proving that experience is an important part of the game now.

After a year, I am finally learning the rules. Positivity and persistence really is the key here. Keep applying for jobs but don’t be afraid to phone up places and enquire about work experience too. It’s a great way to develop skills. Make contacts! Whether through friends, relatives, university tutors, people you come across in part-time jobs – it doesn’t matter where you find them, as long as you make them. This is how you learn about opportunities.

Do your research too. Many places don’t post job opportunities or internships publicly, you have to find and single them out yourself. Find a way to establish how unique and interesting you are. If your experience and skills are quite limited (like mine) push yourself to do something about it. Use whatever is close to you and volunteer. It shows that you are willing to take part in the community and it’ll provide you with valuable skills and experience. Working abroad for a year is a great way to learn about yourself, gain confidence and life experience.

Job hunting in the current climate is tough, but try and stay positive, confident and be persistent. It’s down to us to make that dream job happen…

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