I had a plan. I now realise it was a stupid, unrealistic plan. When I made the decision to pack up a condensed version of my life and head to university I was under the illusion I would be able to get a job when those intense three years were up. Silly me. I am still an unemployed graduate after finishing university nearly nine months ago, I’m finding the rejection emails a little tiresome now.
I didn’t really help myself, at university I had a great group of girlfriends and they were my rocks away from home and are still very much a part of my life. So naturally I wanted to spend as much time as I could with them – three years really does fly by – living with three of them helped but that didn’t get us out of our cold, mouldy student house.
So we would go to the pub, have movie nights in, nights out to our favourite club or just a walk around town to get away from the mountain of uni work that was beginning to pile up. Third year was tough, anyone who scoffs and says that student life is easy has obviously never gone through it. Coming away with a 2:1 Ba (Honours) in magazine journalism made not only me proud but all the people around me as well, I was the first Merritt to attend university so it was a bit of a big deal.
The time I spent socialising with my friends should have been time spent gaining this valuable ‘work experience’ all the lecturers were banging on about. If you are currently at university planning your next social event, why not send a few emails out to companies instead? It’s really not that hard. Alllaboutcareers.com explains why work experience is so important, “young people are more likely to be successful in their job hunt if they have done some good work experience. Fact.”
The evidence? Over half of the graduate recruiters that took part in a recent research study by Highfliers said that, “graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.”
Seems pretty legit, right?
If I could go back to uni and do it all over again I’d probably be just as lazy and continue to put my social life above finding work placements. My advice to anyone going through the student life right now: it is definitely WHO you know not WHAT you know. Sure, a degree looks great on your CV but employers are more likely to head straight to the ‘previous experience’ section, if it’s blank you’re in the ‘no’ pile straight away.
I am currently writing for YUPPEE obviously but I have now taken time off from my part time job and am gaining some useful work placements. It is hard as most are unpaid, but if you don’t put yourself out there then you’re never going to get anywhere, are you?