So, you’ve just graduated or you will be soon. You’ve spent the last few months tirelessly perfecting your CV, getting as much experience as possible, networking, making the most of your contacts at university, volunteering to gain new skills and of course gaining a top notch degree. You are in debt, but you’ve worked your ass off to make sure you are in the best possible position to get a job in this tough climate. You’ve done everything you can.
Oh wait, hold on? You say you’ve got a degree and therefore deserve to walk into a job? You don’t have any extra-curriculars to put on your CV? You weren’t aware that employment is hard to come by these days? Well – these reality checks are for you.
You’ve got a degree. So what?
It’s a well known fact that a large proportion of new graduates, still (despite getting better advice) think that their degree is the only important factor in them getting any sort of paid work. Let me burst that bubble for you right now. A degree isn’t even 50% of the story. Sure, decades ago when degrees were a bit harder to come by, it was your golden ticket to a well paid job in a good company and you probably wouldn’t have to try that hard. Now? Degrees are ten a penny and I’m sorry to say they don’t entitle you to anything.
The recruitment pool is far more complex these days, and with first degrees not necessarily being an indicator of employment quality, recruiters are using many other things like interviews, assessment centres, tests, wider experience and volunteers as indicators for a job. And that’s just for an entry level position. And guess what – there are smart people who don’t have degrees who know all this and are beating you to the best jobs.
Drinking isn’t a CV worthy activity
If you’ve spent any spare time at university practising your best drinking song and engaging shot drinking yard of ale initiation type activities to the exclusion of anything else you are not going to find the world of getting a job very easy. Because you see as we’ve discussed, a degree isn’t enough anymore and recruiters want to know what you’ve bee doing in your spare time to make you more employable. Unless you want a job at the bar you’ve been frequenting, socialising as your only activity is not going to help you.
Hopefully you heeded all the advice you’ve already been given and got involved in societies based on your interests, volunteered, had some part time work and took on some organising activities all of which will have given you transferrable skills for employment which you can talk about.
If you haven’t, start quickly. In fact – start now.
You may have to start at the bottom
Despite your deepest and darkest thoughts, you won’t be entitled to a senior role and it’s unlikely you’ll be getting one. What with there generally being less jobs available, you are going to have to suck it up and start at the bottom. The days of graduate schemes placing you on a leadership track are over and even in professions like law and accountancy you have to start at trainee level (albeit as a well paid trainee).
However, don’t feel downhearted. Starting at the bottom allows you to gain skills, learn and prove yourself in a safe environment. All of which will be super helpful when you do finally make it up to the next rung.
There’s a bloody economic crisis
Look around you. The economy is failing, no one has any money and week by week major brands are going bust and disappearing from the high street. Even if nothing else in this article resonates, the best thing you can do is look at the context before making as little effort as possible to get a job.
There are almost a million 16-24 year olds out of work. That’s 1 in 4 folks! You might be the best hire a company could ever have, but facts are facts. Those companies aren’t hiring. There are fewer jobs around and the competition will be fierce, so you have to both understand that only the best and those who make most effort will get those jobs, and not shout about the fact that it is so unfair because you are a graduate. You are right – it is unfair. But it isn;t unfair solely because you are a graduate – it’s just plain balls.
Armed with this new information go out into the world as a new graduate and make the best of the opportunities and challenges facing you. The world doesn’t owe you a living sure – but you certainly owe yourself one.
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