I’m 22, have spent over £3000 on getting a degree, lost 3 years work experience and wages and at present I’m being paid £6.00 an hour to answer telephones. Not exactly what I imagined as life after graduating!
I have so far applied for 5 graduate schemes in the retail sector, and although I realise that in this current economic crisis there are going to be fewer jobs available, I am still becoming all too familiar with the “Unfortunately you haven’t made it on to our assessment centre this time around” e-mails sitting in my inbox as I eagerly check my e-mail every morning.
Now I’m not one to blow my own trumpet, far from it, but after collecting a fistful of ‘A*’s and ‘A’s at GCSE and 3 ’A’s and a ‘B’ at A-level I’ve given myself the best pre-academic base I could. Being Head Girl during Year 13, I gained organisational, teamwork and leadership skills which add another dimension to my CV. Having had a part-time job since I was 16 and also working my way through University I have shown an exemplary work ethic, which shows employers my dedication to work and to the company. And having graduated with a 2:1 in Pharmacology, I looked forward to taking on new challenges in the world around me, and making my way up the career ladder.
However, so far I’ve had no luck, and I’m wondering what more I could possibly do!
Volunteering you may shout….but I’ve done that – a week live-in volunteering with a respite charity. Extra-curricular sports activities? Done that – was captain of a girl’s football team at University. Extra involvement at University? Done that – I worked on University Summer Schools for two years in a row.
It begs the question, what are employers looking for in 2009? X-ray vision? A sixth sense?
Maybe in the 21st Century, with more people gaining ‘A’s at A-level and more people going to University than ever before, jobs are going to be as hard to get as those exclusive places on the first flight to space! Maybe it was my mistake to think that you’re personality, drive and ambition was also important. Unfortunately, it is hard to get this across in a CV and an interview is where you can shine, so all I have to do is get to that stage!
Maybe a change in sector is needed to further my career; hospitality and leisure might be worth a go! So I’ll start small and apply for a receptionist job, I should at least get an interview for that, right? Unfortunately they think not, apparently there aren’t any vacancies for someone with my skills and abilities. So basically I’m too well qualified for that, and not well enough qualified for anything else.
Managers in retail and or leisure and hospitality need to have several years’ worth of experience to be able to be ‘competent’, and for the smaller jobs which allow you to gain this experience they won’t take you on because they know you’ll leave as soon as you can get something better. So we’re stuck in no-man’s land, neither assistant nor manager.
But wait, what’s this? An invitation to attend an Assessment Centre! Wow, the opportunity to shine that I was asking for. So I attend, full of enthusiasm and retail knowledge only to find that out of several hundred applicants there are only 2-3 jobs available and another assessment centre before an appointment! But someone’s got to get the job and I could be in that 2%! So for now, its fingers crossed and I best keep answering that telephone until I hear!
I’ll let you know!