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Thursday, April 12, 2012

From student to student marketing. The rises and falls of a graduate job hunt


This weeks posts comes from our very own, Louisa Smith, Marketing Assistant telling you all about her transition from being a student to her first full-time graduate job. 

For my first entry, I want to go right back to the beginning and tell you about my journey from university to working life. As a student, it’s incredibly easy to assume that you will finish your degree, graduate in the summer, enjoy a few months of lazing about in luxurious sunshine, and then settle down on a graduate scheme in September, earning your own money, renting a swish new pad with your friends, and essentially, living the dream. Of course this happens for a lot of people, but for those it doesn't happen to – I want to reassure you that there are many other ways to find your feet in the world of work!

A year ago, I was happily living in the bubble world of Warwick University. I loved everything about Warwick. I knew the end was nigh, and whilst I was sad to leave university, I was also excited to start my career. I therefore spent the majority of terms one and two filling out application forms for graduate schemes. My Facebook news feed was constantly plastered with celebratory statuses from those who had secured their graduate scheme and new life for the next year. As I wrote about all the extra curricular activities I was involved in, all the work experience I had done, all the ways I had expanded my knowledge and developed my personality at university, I made the assumption that I would be offered a place on at least one of them, surely?

Sadly not. I was rejected from every single graduate scheme I applied to, and was dragged away from Warwick an emotional wreck, with about 50p in my bank account and no plans for the rest of my life. After a few (long) days of arguing with my parents about washing up or radio volume or sharing of the car, I decided that regression was not the way forward, and that the only way I would be happy is if I had a reason to get up and get out of the house everyday! I therefore began the search for an entry level graduate job.

And that’s where TARGETjobs came along! The role required someone to work for 3 months, travelling the UK, representing TARGETjobs at Freshers and Careers Fairs. I would be in different places everyday, meeting new people, having new experiences, and all the time developing my skills for future employment. For the first time, I felt excited about a job. I completed an application form, had a telephone interview, and was then invited to the head office for a face-to-face interview. As expected, I was asked about my previous experience, my skills, and what I believed I could bring to the role. My answers came naturally for the first time, I felt like I had found a job which matched my skills, and which I believed I could really succeed in. When I was offered the job, I accepted immediately! The three months flew by, and I had a fantastic time working at all the fairs. My success in the role then led me to a full-time position in the TARGETjobs Marketing Department, where I began work in January. I’m now expanding my skills and knowledge everyday, and am (hopefully!) well on the way to a future career in marketing. All this stemmed from one application back in July, for a temporary role!

This experience has therefore taught me that there is more than one way to enter the world of work. There are hundreds of jobs out there, but what’s important is that you search out the right role for YOU. My CV was bursting with extra-curricular activities which I’d undertaken at university, and it was this energetic and lively lifestyle which got me my role in marketing, because they demonstrated that I had the necessary skills for the job. My advice is therefore to get as much work experience as you can, in the area that you would like to work in. If you get rejected from a graduate scheme or entry job, keep going! There is something out there for everyone, and once you find your dream job, I promise you that all your experience and efforts will definitely pay off!

So have a think about what you’d like to do, then get out there and go for it!

GOOD LUCK!

Louisa 

P.S. Next time I’ll be writing all about my role in marketing, and what you can expect as a graduate in a marketing job. Until then, happy job-hunting!