Lessons From The World Of Job Hunting

28 Sept 2017

Lessons from the world of job hunting

After I finished university, a big secret was revealed to me. After being told for pretty much my entire life that education was extremely important and that I must have a degree and then I would be absolutely able to get a job, it turned out that LOL NOPE JUST KIDDING, you actually need experience of working in the relevant field.

Which I didn’t have because:

A) a degree in creative writing is very non-specific in terms of jobs or careers. You can go into a whole host of sectors and roles so naturally, most degrees in the subject don’t include placements or internship opportunities as part of the course.
B) I had no freakin’ clue what I wanted to do after leaving university so I’d just focused on actually getting the degree. So sue me.

Turns out, having a degree and my experience in waitressing and studying were not enough to give me a chance in jobs I was interested in. The day that truly hit home was a real fun one, I tell ya.

It took me just under a year to get a full time, paid job relevant to my degree and interests (and that’s not including the summer of working in a wedding venue and pretending I was still a student). In that time, I did two un-paid internships, a random one-off waitressing shift, a three-week stint in an admin role that required you to be good at excel (which I’m not) and a lot of job hunting.

Here’s what I learned:

Prepping for an interview will only get you so far 

You can’t prep for the interviewer who brings her dog to the interview or for the interview that took place on a sofa or for the interview question “if you were a biscuit, what would you be and why?”. You should be prepared yes, but don’t give your life and soul to that prep because there are some scenarios you just can’t predict.

A custard cream in case you’re wondering.

A lot of recruitment agencies are like the land that time forgot 

I’ve had SO many bizarre experiences with recruitment agencies. From the leaflet reminding me to shower before an interview to the recruiter who tried to ask me out on a date during interview prep to the many soulless rooms I’ve been forced to sit in to complete one of those BLOODY MICROSOFT TESTS. Unfortunately, you just gotta suck it up cos you need a job but don’t worry if being there makes you feel like you may never escape this soulless place. I think that’s normal.

Certain people will like to suggest you should ‘just’ get a job in admin whilst you job hunt 

*Prepare for a rant*

These people tend to have walked straight from university into a well-paid office job (usually via connections). Not to suggest these people don’t work hard, because they do, or there’s anything wrong with using your connections, because there isn’t. But there is something wrong with their snobbery around administrative roles.  This dismissive idea that admin is a job you can just grab hold of on your way to your main goal, like grabbing a coffee on the way to work; well, it’s unfair and, quite frankly, absurd. I’ll tell you something, if you work somewhere with a poor administrator, you know about it. You have to be freakin’ organised, intelligent and ON IT to be a good administrator and to prove you are capable, you have to dedicate just as much effort, produce just as good application form and perform just as well in the interview as you would any other job.  So feel free to tell those people to pipe down and stop talking rubbish.

Waiting to hear back from interviews is like waiting for JK to write another HP book

Try and do ANYTHING but sit and stare at your phone like a crazed junkie waiting for their next hit. Also, don’t put your emails on loud cos that little ‘ping’ will constantly give you a heart attack and 95% of the time it will be Pizza Express emailing you their latest 2-4-1 deal. And, no, you can’t afford it.

Interviewers will insist on asking the question ‘so, where do you see yourself in ten years time?’

Despite the fact it’s the MOST absurd question. Well, apart from the biscuit one. I don’t have a step-by-step ten year plan and I’m pretty sure that makes me the normal one pal.

Every single person, except a fellow unemployed graduate, will want to offer you advice on how to get a job 

Even if you haven’t asked and even if they have NO experience of being unemployed. And all their advice will be chuffing useless. So many fun conversations to be had.

Recruiters will ask you to ‘pop in’ to their office in central London just to sign a form like it’s no biggie 

Um pal, I live an hour away and have 3p in my bank account. Could we not just like, email?

People will expect you to be applying for jobs 24 hours a day 

Like if you take a break to wee or, ya know, eat then you’re a lazy youth living off the state. SOZ FOR EMPTYING MY BLADDAR.

Most people don’t actually know how to conduct an interview

So they’ll ask a question HR insist they ask but won’t know what they’re actually asking, and neither will you. So you’ll answer with something equally as non-descript without knowing what you’re actually saying, and neither will they. And the merry dance of bullshit continues.
Most employers will allow you to take leave for pre-booked holidays 

You got a job! And then it turns out your already-booked holiday falls in your second week. Not ideal but the majority of employers will let you take it even if it is inconvenient because, let’s face it, no one wants to be the twat that tells someone they have to cancel their holiday and lose shit loads of money. Not great for staff morale is it? The point is, the holiday is a metaphor for life. Don’t arrange your life around a hypothetical job you may or may not get.

Getting any job is hard work

Whatever role you’re looking for, there’s the endless searching, CV perfecting, application writing, not to mention the interview outfit, travel, preparation and nervousness. And that’s just to get to the effing interview. It can literally take days of your time and effort, and often at the end of it, all you’re left with is an automated email telling you it was all for nothing. So when people are making you feel like you’re a failure, useless or are judging of the waitressing shift you’ve taken on because you’ve had endless rejections for writing roles and have no money…. Feel free to punch them in the face.

You haven’t failed, it’s just an awful process

Mostly, getting a job is dependent on circumstances that are nothing to do with you. Most interviewers decide if they like you within 3 seconds of walking into the room so there’s not much you can do there. There’s so many factors and an awful lot of luck involved. So don’t beat yourself up, you’ll get there kid.