What not to say to an unemployed graduate

How’s the job hunt going?

I can guarantee you that since I finished university a year ago, this question has been asked of me more than any other. It HAUNTS me. Obvious annoyances aside, what bugs me is the way the question is phrased. “How’s the job hunt going?”, wonders everyone I ever see. “Found any jobs yet?”, I am asked, as if I am on some sort of career-themed treasure hunt. But the thing is, finding the jobs isn’t the problem. Getting one, on the other hand…


Any news?

This is what people say when they are trying to be cautious and have kind of worked out that the above question is starting to irritate you. By saying “Any news?” they have the option of saying “Oh no, I meant about…something else”, if you start to look tetchy.


So, got yourself a job yet?

In my experience, this is the straight-to-the-point, I-mean-business kind of question, frequently asked by people who have been in their jobs since before you were born and have no idea how hard things can currently be for people our age (and for anyone else who’s unemployed). Alternatively, this one will be asked by the parents of people you know from school who’ve done really well for themselves already. After asking said question, they will often continue to tell you about how great Billy is doing and how he’s got his own flat, conveniently leaving out the fact that they paid for most of it.


Well don’t look so gloomy, you’ve got to stay positive!

Have you? Well. Thank goodness you told me. Up until this point I was really struggling, but your gem of wisdom will see me through this dark, dark time. The next time I spend four hours filling out a 19-page application form and hear nothing back, I’ll bear your words in mind.


You’ve really got to get on their radar, you’ve got to get your name out there

If I had a pound for every time I heard someone say this, I wouldn’t even need a damn job. In fairness, there is a lot of truth in it, as I have found in the past, but it’s just one of those really obvious and almost patronising things that people tell you, as if you had no idea.


 And the worst of all:

Still nothing on the job-front?

What irritates me most about this one is this: if there was something on the  job-front…do you not think you would know about it? Do you not think that, after a year of attempting to secure full-time work, and after being asked the same question by all of you every time I see you, I would be shouting about my new job from the rooftops?


I have been asked most if not all of these questions in just the past day or two and I really am running out of different ways to say “No, no luck yet – but still! I’m sure something will come along soon!” whilst smiling convincingly. In seriousness, I’m sure I will find something soon(ish?), and that one day we’ll all look back on this time fondly whilst telling our grandchildren all about it. But for now, if one more person says “Any news?”…

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