Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Grad Fairytale

Read Elizabeth's motivational words to keep you going when the graduate job hunt gets tough.

When about to leave college and embark on university life, it usually sounds something like this; “Yeah, I might mess round and get my college degree” (courtesy of Bruno Mars –Lazy Song). University is a different stage in our lives that we look forward to with eyes wide open, waiting to jump in with both feet and take in all the experience it has in store for us. This was the Disney fantasy of university for the majority of us; Pre-recession, Pre-Financial Crisis, and any other negative connotation that ‘Pre’can be placed in front of.

Now reality has hit and we are forced to think about what happens after you ‘graduate happily ever after…’. Now incumbent under-graduates, final year students and graduates are living in Post-times. Everyday we are reminded about the little prospect of the graduate market. The devil on the shoulder appears with questions – “What is the value of a degree when I can’t get a job?”

Fear not! You can be your own knight in shining armour. (Trailer guy voice)

What is a G.R.A.D – Gradually. Realising. All. Dreams (very corny I know! – The media do a good job of the ‘Doom’ & ‘Gloom’ story, they don’t need your help, unless you are getting paid for it).

PERSISTENCE + DETERMINATION = Never Give Up. Remember you have slaved 3-4years, sacrificed being relatively rich for being broke all the time, with your daily diet consisting of energy drinks and Tesco value brand. The simple equation above will ensure that you keep your spirits high and keep applying for those positions that seem proverbial to you!

If you are in the creative industry – get creative with your application techniques. If you are going into a technical sector; know your industry well and all things affecting it and could affect it.

AMBITION. Keep it high. If your aspiration level has gone down a few notches, I suggest you get a rocky theme song going and raise it again! Keep your level of ambition high; it prevents you from settling for less. But remember – humble beginnings means starting from somewhere. Your ambition level will keep you fired-up to keep moving to where you want to be!

These were the two major things that kept me going when I felt I saw no end in sight. I knew where I wanted to be (In Finance & Banking) and I knew that I will not be given a corner office immediately, I would have to work my way there. I took up voluntary positions that had links with finance just so I can rub shoulders with the sector. I took up cold calling within an accountancy firm in order to see how it operates; just so I can be inside of the firm (cold calling and I did not go together at all). All of these experiences gave me insight into the sector but also into me, I knew exactly what I wanted and what I didn’t.

When I was told one-page CV was the way to go, I did so and made sure I had both one-page and two-pages. I tailored my CVs to all the potential and different employers that I was aiming for; from the big global companies, to the small boutique companies. I was ready for them! I allowed various people to check my CVs and give me feedback on them. Feedback on CVs never corroborate other people’s, but I took what I thought would make a difference to whoever was glancing at it in HR.

I became very friendly with my university careers office, I went to the events they put on and the society I was president of at the time tried to develop strong links and relationship with them. This meant that we knew about any jobs that was going on or being advertised within careers and also any other opportunities that may arise, such as mentoring schemes (so being mentored).

So I am a G.R.A.D, am still Gradually Realising All my Dreams, but I feel am closer. Keep writing those application letters, keep sending out the CVs and responding to job alerts (the only content in my inbox). You have to find the job, the job will not find you!

Post written by Elizabeth Adeniran, find her @CityGirlDiaries

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