Post-Grad Employment Un-Enjoyment


Post grads are like wild cats hunting for prey in a vast, empty stretch of land. You've got to be quick, or you'll miss out; or, if your teeth aren't sharp enough, the bigger lion will catch the antelope, leaving you back at square one...hungry...and lost. 

Okay, slightly dramatic, but ya feel me.

Coming out of uni, you basically take what you can get. There are thousands of jobless 21yo's with little to no experience competing for only a handful of jobs. 

"You need more experience," they say.

Okay, so how am I supposed to get some bloody experience, with no experience, if you won't give me the damn experience!? It's a vicious cycle. 

"You interviewed well, we just had another applicant that stood out more."

Well what the hell is that supposed to mean? What did they do that was so great? Could they balance their coffee on their forehead while doing a cartwheel? Did they volunteer in Africa for an entire year?! WHY ARE THEY BETTER THAN ME?!

I'm not an idiot, but I was never one of those devoted high school students who would sit by the teacher's desk waiting for a pat. I was basically in cabbage maths, I nearly blew up the science lab (don't give me a Bunsen burner), and basically broke every single needle in sewing.

At uni I manged to find my feet a little more. I never any failed papers or assignments, and managed to come out with about a B average. It's fair to say I did okay for someone who wrote most of their essays the night before they were due. 

A B average is okay, but I couldn't exactly use that as a selling point. 

So with that being said, If you're anything like me - not thick as pig shit, but not the brightest crayon in the box either (like more of a dusty pink than a fluorescent yellow), then you'd have also found this period after uni an absolute stressful mish.

During this phase the idea of throwing in the towel and getting a job at Maccy Ds didn't actually sound that unappealing. In fact, I even found myself applying for the odd full time retail job - to which the response there was "unfortunately you are too overqualified for this position." 

"OVERQUALIFIED!?? OOOVVEERRQUALIFIED?!!! You try tell that to the 50 other organisations within my actual field that have turned me down this week.

FFS. You can't win. 

All it takes is just one person to give you a chance; that 'foot in the door' - your first breath of 'real world' air. However, getting that opportunity isn't so easy. They say it's "who you know, not what you know." In a lot of cases this couldn't be more true.

In fact two out of three of my big gal grown up jobs were through a personal connection. 

Personally, I think that word and mouth is your best platform for finding your first job after uni. The post graduate job market is so skimp, and as the position is likely not crucial to the company, employers won't make proper time to sift through hundreds of CVs in great depth. Also, Sally from accounts probably has her husband's sister's friend's housekeeper's niece lined up for the role already.

A lot of the time companies legally have to advertise their positions. However with that being said, more often than not someone internally is probably already seconded into the role, or has a very high chance of being appointed.

A key signal of this is if your interview is over in 2.5 seconds and they make sweet FA of an effort with you. As a fresh-faced battler this is utter BS and can be a complete waste of your time if they aren't upfront with you. The only thing you can do here is still put your best foot forward and hope that they keep your CV on file for a rainy day.

If you actually did get an interview in the first place before getting rejected, then Ka pai to you - you must be doing something right. Ask for feedback, and keep trying. Keep doing you, hon.

It only took me three or four rejections until I started to reach out to friends and family and try my luck there. Unexpectedly this was successful, and I was hired as a Christmas casual. It was only for a few months, but it was enough time for me to put in 100 percent and try make an impression.

Ultimately this led to an extended contract, then another job, and so on...'The rest is still unwritten'. Lol.

It's so flattering when people you know recommend you to their employer. They are risking their reputation for you here. If you make a complete twat of yourself, it not only reflects you, but the person who recommended you also. No pressure.

With that being said, you defs can't be too picky when trying to lock in your first job. You may think being in a job you don't completely love is a setback, but everything is temporary and experience is key. What your non-dream job is doing is helping you discover what you would rather be doing (job wise, not as in getting OTP w the squad). As long as you're starting out somewhere in your preferred line of work, then you allgoods.

It's all trial and error. If you come straight out of uni and manage to land your dream job straight away, then you must be a bloody magician or something.

Houdini, dat you?

I'm quite fortunate that my degree (communications) has many areas to branch into (media, marketing, internal comms, etc.). I really feel for the nurses and teachers of the world who don't have as many varied options. It's tough out there, kids.

Having a degree is essentially just a ticket to prove that you can stick to something - and to prove you are clever enough to juggle years of binge drinking mixed with essay writing (often at the same time).

I've come across so many people who are in jobs which have hardly anything to do with what they've studied. So don't panic if you have a Defence Against the Dark Arts degree, but decide later down the track you would rather pursue Potions or Dragon Fighting. It's allgood Ron. 

Doing a gap year abroad after uni isn't the worst idea if you're really struggling to find something. When I finished my study, I wasn't ready to go from attending three classes a week, sleeping till noon, and living in fat pants, to working a 40 hour a week in a pencil skirt and blouse. 

Having a bit of travel or 'life experience' under your belt can potentially make you more employable. If they think you are less likely to dart off on the next yacht to Croatia than the straggler who interviewed before you, your chances could be a lot higher.

At the end of the day, some people have good luck, some have the brains, and some just have made the right connections. The only influence you can really rely on is the effort you are willing to put in.

Tips for getting a job after uni:

  • LOCK DOWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA. Sure, you doing a shoey in the club with ya tit hanging out is hilar, but is your future employer going to think so? Probs not girlfriend.
  • If you're confused about what you want to do and where you want to work, ask yourself: "What is my thing? What am I good at? Can I make a living out of it? = JOB??
  • Be proactive. Get in early. Don't wait for the opportunity to come to you. By this I mean getting in touch early on with a place you'd like to work and preach what you could add to their team.
  • Try to stand out and be different on paper. Be memorable. By this I don't mean adding flames to the footer of your CV, but be sharp, punchy, and add wit where appropiate. 
  • Research the company before getting in touch. Pull out a stat or fact that shows you have invested interest into what they do. 
  • Don't be afraid to let people in your wider circle know that you're looking for a job. Tap into Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Don't let your ego get in the way, we've all been down that struggle street at some point, pal.
  • Offer your time for free for a couple of hours per week. It may seem pointless, but if you make a good enough impression they will more than likely keep you on or refer you to another company/client/organisation etc.
  • Always follow up after an interview (an email thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the position).
  • In the cases where you aren't successful, it does pay to ask for feedback. You don't want to keep making the same mistakes, right?
  • If you're really having no luck, there's always stripping. I hear the pay is pretty attractive. Something to think about....

Good luck, ya little dusty pink lion.
 

P.S. How do we eliminate all of the parking wardens on this earth? Great career option if going around ruining everyone's day is what you're pining after (sore spot).