Katie Jamieson details her frustration as a graduate looking for employment before a PR company took notice of her blog and gave her a chance…
Upon my graduation from Lancaster University in 2010 I returned the rented accommodation,library books and mortar board intact, but the 2:1 and the pocketful of dreams were mine for keeping. Everything was packed into storage and I headed home for Manchester. Despite the comedown from The Best Three Years Of Your Life, I was keen to enter full time employment, but needed to start looking, like most of my friends. In fact, there was only a handful of people I ever knew who were blessed enough to have known since birth that it was their dream
to do something called a ‘graduate programme’ and somewhere between the dissertations, revision and Come Dine With Me marathons they had managed to secure such a rare opportunity.
The first few weeks into my search, I encountered a lot of ‘No’s – or pure ignorance, which was even more annoying – and I chastised myself for being so naive as to think my diligence alone would get me any job I liked. As weeks turned into months, I began to step up the application process until there was no employment stone unturned that didn’t have my CV attached to it, in the North-West at least.
I decided to expand my job search further afield with desperate reasoning that if I was offered something, then I would make it work. After signing up to and scouring a wealth of recruitment sites, having my CV changed around by various job experts (I ended up with 24 different versions) I felt no more special than any of the other graduates who formed the endless paper sift that I was stuck in. I decided to revisit Give A Grad A Go and saw a one month paid placement with PR company, TopLine Communications, which sounded fantastic. Fantastic, but London-based. Not only did the job appeal, but after working 9-5 days of filling in extensive applications and often knowing I would never hear back, GAGAGO’s 50-word manifesto application appealed to the desperate, downtrodden, adjective-friendly graduate that I was. 50 words to make an impression. I have never used so few nouns and verbs in a sentence before. Then something amazing happened. My phone rang. Of course it was GAGAGO asking me a few more questions to see if I was right for the job and requesting a link to my blog, which I sent them. They also asked how I could do a job in London, when I lived in Manchester. This is something I suspect a lot of the recruitment sites and jobs I applied for often rejected me for. In fact, the week prior to this phone call I had been at an interview where I was the only one of fourteen from outside of London. While others got time to tell the group about their achievements, I was asked “Why London?” “I’ll do it, don’t worry” I assured them, not really knowing if I could, logistically. Skip ahead a few pages and the very next day I was on a train to London for the interview and got offered the placement. When that finished, I was made permanent.
Although I haven’t looked back since, I have of course made sacrifices. I had to leave my family and friends and find a flat. I spent three months sleeping on blow-up beds of various friends’ living rooms and each day was a daily shock at the cost of living down here. I couldn’t have dreamed of doing it if TopLine hadn’t offered a paid placement. But, I have no regrets. I was one of thousands
of graduates in the North, stagnating and nearing an implosion of confidence. My advice to recruiters who are London-centric is to look outside the capital for highly capable, excellent graduates. Being forced to make life changes to pursue a career is only going to increase work ethic, and it is about time recruiters look past the chips and gravy and give more
graduates from the north a go.
view my kloodle profile here https://kloodle.com/jamieson