Another week, another post. Following my last post, still nothing remarkable has happened in my search for employment. In the past two weeks I have applied for around 60 jobs. No joke, no exaggeration, that many in the space of about 14 days. For those people out there who to make the harsh judgement that all graduates/those who are unemployed don’t look hard enough for work, I would strongly beg to differ. This weeks post is me mainly looking at the subject of the Job Centre, something that has become a bit of a taboo in our society in recent years.
I started looking and applying for jobs at the end of December last year. Now, its the middle of October 2013, and in the past few weeks, particuarly since around the beginning of September, it has crossed my mind many times that perhaps I’m not doing everything that I could be to be getting myself out there, and attracting potential employers to do exactly what it says on the tin: employ me. I needed help, and so a few weeks ago, literally a couple of days after my 22nd birthday, I decided to sign on to the Job Centre.
It was not something that I wanted to do, even now nearly a month after I started off this process, I still feel let down. Not by anyone in particular, but more so by myself. It really was the last thing on my list that I wanted to do in terms of looking for a job. I remember hearing a few friends of mine, who after finishing their A Levels at sixth form made the choice not to go to university like the majority of my friends, started looking for work, but had no luck in doing so for a good six months or more, and so had to take the step of going to the Job Centre for any help that they could get to find them a job. Having heard their stories, I knew that if worse came to worst after finishing uni, and that I couldn’t find anything by myself after a decent enough time of looking by myself, that I could go there if I needed to, and they would hopefully be successful in helping me find something. Baring this in mind, I still saw this as being the last option I had if my job hunt was an unsuccessful one. I remember at the beginning of this year, around February sort of time, talking to my friends at university about how I hoped that I would never have to go on the Job Centre, and that as I had started looking for jobs so early in advance of my finishing and graduating from uni, that I should be able to find something within a few months of leaving. In my mind, at that moment in time, being unemployed five months after wrapping up my studies and having to go onto the Job Centre was a million miles away from my mind. I knew, of course, that the world of work was not an easy one to get into, and that I would have to put a lot of time and effort into getting something, but I still had this thought that the situation I am in now, would not happen to me. If I had a time machine I would go back to that moment and tell myself of Feburary 2013 to not be so naive, because it was a very naive thought of mine, and sitting here now I can’t quite believe it ever crossed my mind. It is really unlike me, as I am probably one of the least arrogant people in the word and I never expect good things to happen to me, or for people to do nice things for me for that matter. (I have just realised how morbid that sounds, back to the main point of this post…)
So here I am now, just turned 22 years old, five months since leaving university with a degree, unemployed, and now seeking help from the Job Centre. Not exactly the dream place I saw myself as being in three years ago when I first started studying for my degree. Unfortunately it is an all too common pattern that young people in this country are going through. More and more university graduates are leaving with decent degrees in subjects that are of interest to them and can help them in seeking employment in the sector they want to work in, but when it actually comes to finding a job, luck isn’t coming there way, and for that extra bit of help they’re having to go down the same route that I had to make the choice to do a month ago. It’s not a good pattern, quite frankly its one that shouldn’t be happening. When I went in for my first few meetings at my local Job Centre with my advisor, I could see by the faces of the people that I was seeing, that when they looked at my CV and saw that I had ten GCSEs, four A Levels and a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours, the thought of ‘what on earth is she doing here?’ was crossing their minds. There are probably a great deal of other people thinking exactly the same thing about graduates having to go to the job centre to help them find a job, I mean who ever heard a lecturer or an employment advisor during their time at university saying that you wouldn’t get a job within a few months after graduating and that you would have to sign on in order to get help to actually find employment? I certainly didn’t.
As much as I didn’t want to have to admit defeat and sign on, so far in the month that I have been there I have had a hell of a lot of help. Already I have been referred to two amazing internship and work experience opportunities, both of which are paid, and will look amazing on my CV if I get them, and give me some amazing experience that I will take with me throughout my career, when I, you know, eventually get a career. I obviously have to go through exactly the same application process as everyone else so my chances of getting either position are the same as they would have been if I wasn’t with the Job Centre, but both are roles that I would not have found otherwise, so I am keeping my fingers crossed about the both of them, shall have to see what fate has instore with those. The other day I also had a couple of meetings with a woman there who helped me completely overhaul my CV. We re-wrote the entire thing in the space of two sessions over the past week, and it looks amazing compared to how it used to look. I have now started sending that out to all employers I am contacting, and have updated it to all of the job search websites that I have accounts with, so hopefully compared to the utter rubbish state of my previous CV, this one will be a hell of a lot better and will hopefully draw in potential employers.
Yes, having to sign onto the Job Centre was not what I ideally would have liked to have done after being nearly half a year out of uni, but that is, unfortunately, just the way of the job market nowadays. Of course having GCSEs, A Levels and a degree are still brilliant things to have, and they are well worth the years of hard work, and will eventually help you get a job, but due to the state of the work climate that is present in our country today, it isn’t as simple as it used to be to get a job, in any sector. I know that probably a lot of you out there who are reading this, whether you have also just recently graduated like me, or if you’re still a student that is looking to the future and life after uni, that signing onto the Job Centre for a bit of extra help in finding a suitable job that you will love is one of the last things you would want to do in your search. As you have probably guessed from reading this post, I was exactly the same. However, now that it is actually happening to me, and even though it is still something that I am not happy about having to happen, but it isn’t the end of the world. They have so much advice and help to offer, and will give you all the hints and tips they can to push you in the right direction so that finally, eventually, you will get a job. Yes okay its a bit of a diversion from what you would actually rather be doing, such as actually working and having a job, but I think we all know that getting into the world of work isn’t as easy as jumping from primary school, to secondary school, to sixth form, to university was. They are there to help you, and if you show that you are enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated to finding work, then that is exactly what they will try and help you to do. I will keep you posted about my job hunt, and if the Job Centre brings me any luck in my posts for the coming weeks. Fingers crossed something comes up!