Back in April I wrote a post about finishing my degree and going through the infuriating process of trying to bag my first job straight out of university. It would be fair to say I was feeling let down by the educational system and completely lost faith in my job hunt.
However, it turned out that my faith has since been restored after bagging my job as a Web and Marketing Executive within the tourism industry. If it wasn’t for the fact that my Public Relations degree required me to take a year work placement in industry I would never have landed my perfect graduate job.
Working for Bournemouth Tourism as a PR Support Officer meant I was thrown in at the deep-end and handed large projects with large amounts of responsibility, that I was grateful to manage. The managers at Bournemouth put their faith in me and allowed me to run with ideas, think creatively and really get stuck into the nitty-gritty of working in Tourism PR.
Two years later that determination and hard-work landed me the next step on the career ladder. My experience meant I could talk confidently about my ability to fulfil the role and also demonstrate the additional PR skills that I could utilise.
Don’t get me wrong… the period between finishing University and sitting at my new desk was a difficult journey. There is no point in me trying to pretend it happened any other way. I spent months doubting myself and my ability to have a successful career. The rejections and knock-backs made me feel inadequate, at times, and at the end of every week I was ready to throw in the towel and resign to working in my parents pub.
So how did I do it?
Well nothing short of hard-work is going to cut it in today’s climate. Competition and unemployment levels is enough to bring out the best in anyone who is remotely passionate about a career, supporting their families or simply getting themselves the job they want. As a graduate you are new to the working world and it is a case of proving that you are just as good, if not better, than someone who has five years experience under their belt. Here’s how I did it…
- Don’t give up – it sounds simple enough but rejections are enough to knock anyone’s confidence. Remember that someone will give you your chance.
- Be memorable – little things can make an employer remember you and enhance your chance of an interview. For me it was about developing a short conversation with, my now, manager. After acknowledging that my application had been received I typed back a polite and friendly response expressing my genuine interest in the role.
- Think creatively and don’t be afraid to be different – I lost count of the amount of formal applications forms I completed during my job hunt and then there was the interview tasks. My best advice would be to stand out and don’t be afraid to do something unexpected. For my job I was asked to put together a proposal and the brief seemed to be directing me towards focusing on the Olympics. However, I didn’t want to go with the obvious and chose something completely different in the hope that I would be remembered and commended for trying something unexpected… It worked!
- Don’t lose confidence in yourself – this was one of the hardest factors for me. I am my own worse enemy and don’t take well to rejection. I had to learn to not take it too personally and remain confident in my ability. A lack of confidence can come across in the interview stage, hindering the chances of progression.
It’s not all doom and gloom for graduates out there… it just takes an extra push and a realistic attitude. We can’t all expect to fall out of university and land ourselves a dream job, but we can expect to work hard and succeed because of it.