“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions” ~
Getting your first post graduate job is not easy and it’s even harder for those who have no work experience to back-up their degree. Universities never talk about that part, do they? A survey conducted by YouGov found that 52% of employers say university does not prepare young people for the world of work. As a graduate who was in the rat race to get a job after graduating last year, that figure is all too real for me.
You’d think that after the blood, sweat and tears and promises of employment, getting the job would be a piece of cake. Think again. It’s months of job application after job application after job application. Then there’s the rejection e-mails or complete silence where you’re left in limbo wondering whether they got your application at all.
I was fortunate enough to go on a placement year during my course but even still, that did not protect me from the months of writing cover letters and job application to only receive rejection letters or complete silence. Oh the silence, thats the part I hate the most. Being left in limbo wondering whether they got your application at all.
It’s a hard knock life for us but I’m here to encourage you that with a little faith and persistence it gets better.
I currently work as a Project Manager for a software development company which I never applied for. After months of job hunting, I was getting discouraged and wanted to give up but I knew the current job I was doing wasn’t one I could build a career on. Plus, I’d spent too long at university and incurred too much debt to give up.
So I kept applying and one day I received a call from a recruiting agency that found my CV on a job board. I had no idea which job board since I’d applied to so many but I didn’t care. They told me they had a vacancy for a Project Manager role and explained what I’d be doing. I had no idea what the company did nor did I understand the role but I thought why not. I mean, they called me so they must think I’m capable, right? After asking me a few questions they invited me for an interview where I’d have to take an excel test. He asked me if I’d be comfortable with that to which I replied yes. I mean it’s just excel and I have a degree in software engineering so how hard could it be?
Oh it can be very hard, especially when you have no idea what you’re doing. I could have told them I didn’t know but then that would have meant admitting that I lied on my CV about my expert knowledge in Microsoft Office product. So I just sat there thinking “Jesus take the wheel!”.
And trust me He did. Long story short, the computer crashed which meant I couldn’t take the test. Hallelujah!
We swiftly moved on to the rest of the interview which was easier as I had months of practice from all the job applications I’d done. That’s the beauty of job hunting, every application is an experience that will equip you for the next one. It’s not a fun process but it does develop you. I felt a lot more confident talking about my CV and experience because I had done that so many times before. It was practically engraved in my head by now.
That was by far the best interview I’d had and it was for a role I felt I wasn’t qualified to do. Go figure!
Hours later, I found out I got the job. Now I work with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, in a company I didn’t know existed a few months ago.
What this experience taught me was the importance of keeping a positive mind and taking a leap of faith. Especially when it comes to finding a job after university. With all the rejections I’d been receiving over the months, I could have said no to this interview since I didn’t even understand what the job role was. But I didn’t. I saw this as a character building experience and that’s how the job hunting process should be seen.
A university degree is good but just don’t rely on it alone. It’s just a tool, not the whole tool box. Getting out there and facing the world is what really prepares you for the world.
My 12-month review is due this March. Perhaps I’ll share with you what I’ve learned in 12 months of my first post-grad job.
How was your experience finding your post-grad job? Do you have any tips/advice on how to climb up the career ladder?
Let me know in the comments below.