Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Defying Convention

Michael Palmer tells us about his graduate job hunt journey: 

Doom, gloom, pessimism and more gloom. Whenever the subject of the graduate job market is broached in the news, it is done so with such an overwhelming sense of foreboding that it is very easy to feel disheartened as a graduate. I certainly felt a little overawed after graduating. The aim of this post is to give graduates a bit of encouragement by showing that it is nowhere near impossible to find a job in the current climate; it just takes a bit of dedication.

I will start by telling you a little bit about myself. I chose an academic subject that I hoped would demonstrate intellect and aptitude to prospective employers. It was only after completing my degree that I realised although I enjoyed completing my history BA; I didn't want to be a historian, museum curator or teacher. When I talked to people either at the job centre or my uni's career service, they kept trying to encourage me to go down these paths as I didn't have other experience.

I realised that if I wanted to work in my chosen field, I had to overcome my lack of experience. The industry I had chosen to work in was digital marketing. The reason I chose this field was because I have always been active online and have always had a slightly nerdy obsession with trying to keep up with current trends on the internet. I was fortunate to see two free digital marketing training courses being offered. I signed up to both of them and found them to be a great help not only in enhancing my knowledge of the industry but also in bulking out my desperately thin CV in a way that demonstrated not only experience but also passion.

Following advice I received on one of the training courses, I started my own blog. I set up the blog as a way of demonstrating my skills, remaining proactive and also in the hope that including my blog on CV's and covering letters would help my application stand out. Overall I must say that having a blog is certainly a tactic that works. It can also be quite empowering. When you keep hearing nothing back despite spending hours applying for jobs it is easy to become disenchanted and feel a little powerless. Personally I found that having my blog allowed me to stay motivated and positive as I would have to ensure I had done something new each week in order to have something to write about. In short, it can give you a voice in the face of the deafening silence you often hear from potential employers whilst job hunting. This can also be a really helpful way of channelling the frustration that builds up when employers act like the application you spent hours crafting did not reach them.

It was pretty much a month after I set up the blog that I found work. I Googled all my local digital agencies and sent them a covering letter and a copy of my CV and requested to be informed if any suitable entry level jobs came up. One company replied requesting an interview. I will be honest, when they asked “do you mind telling us a little about why you think blogging is important?” I am certain their eyes glazed over by the end but, in spite of this, I was lucky enough to be offered the role.  I do not want this post to appear like a graduate bragging as he has managed to find a job. I do however hope it demonstrates that if you are proactive, enthusiastic and motivated, you can still find work in the current climate, even without experience. 
Good Luck!

Guest post: Michael Palmer, Off-page SEO consultant 

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