Navigating the Graduate Job Hunt

As some of you will know, I have been mostly unemployed since I graduated from university last June, apart from a couple of months where I worked in a local cafe for some pennies.

And I finally got a job!!

The superstitious part of me feels like I shouldn't even be saying anything about it yet, as I don't start for another week, but the logical part of me says it's pretty unlikely that they will change their mind all of a sudden.

But that said, the last few months have been really, really difficult for me and if there are any of you in the same situation I just wanted to take a moment to say it will be ok!


Having come out the other side, I have a few thoughts on how to deal with being in the position of having not yet secured a graduate job, so here goes:

1) Don't panic

It is really easy to quite quickly get yourself in a state when you see where your classmates or friends are at and worry that you're falling behind. But remember, in the grand scheme of things a few months will not make a difference and it's much better taking time to figure out what is best for you then panicking and making a choice that might lead you away from the direction you want.

Around December, I was having more moments where I felt really down and quite lost, and ended up applying for a job that I knew really I didn't want to do, but thought I had a better chance of getting. Luckily, the job I have now been offered was advertised around the same time, which I knew instantly I felt much happier about.


2) Go with your heart

Choosing a career, and a place to live, is a huge decision. Of course, think about it carefully but when it comes down to it, I think you know what's right for you, and you certainly know what isn't. I had lots of (well-meaning) people saying things like "Why don't you go abroad to get a job?" which, while I love travelling, didn't feel right to me for various reasons. 

At the same time, don't feel bad for taking a job to tide you over in the meantime, if you are able to find one.

3)...but be flexible

It's great to have a dream job in mind, but particularly once you've finally finished university you have time to think about other options and it's important to bear in mind that things might not go the way you'd planned.

I got the grades I wanted at school, went to the university I wanted and got the degree classification I wanted...so this is really the first time in my life that things haven't gone quite to plan. Which is no doubt partly why this has been so difficult for me, but I do think things have probably worked out for the best. My new job is in a similar vein to the other career I had been interested in, and actually I think may be better suited for me...but we'll see!

So apply for anything you're interested in. You can always decline an interview, or even a job offer, if it gets to that stage and it's not right for you, but going through the process is invaluable both in terms of gaining experience in applying and interviewing, and in learning about options you hadn't previously considered that might actually be ideal.



4) Allow yourself  "time off" & get out of the house

I know all too well what it's like, trawling all the job-websites under the sun, spending loads of time editing your CV and writing application forms - and even feeling guilty when you're not doing this. You will go crazy if you do this all day, every day, so try to allocate a certain portion of time for this each day and don't allow yourself to feel bad if you spend other time watching TV or films or whatever else. In the end you'll be in a better position for putting your all into your search and in a few months you WILL be employed so won't have the chance to chill out like this! And you've worked hard for 3+ years at university, I think you're allowed a bit of down time.

And I'm sure you are probably very low on funds, but try to get out of the house as often as you can. This could just be for a good walk which will clear your head like you wouldn't believe, or a coffee with a friend which won't break the bank! Trust me, getting out of the house will keep you sane and take your mind off of things for a bit. Again, don't feel guilty about doing things other than job hunting - you simply can't and shouldn't do it all the time.


5) Keep your head up

Try not to feel too down for too long. If you're anything like me, you're probably going to have a wee cry at some point, but don't let it overwhelm you. Remind yourself how well you've done to get where you are, and know that something will come your way eventually if you keep at it.

I kept a happy book to help me reflect on things and appreciate the little things in each day. For example, I have been back home with my parents for this period, and could not be more grateful of how supportive and understanding they have been.


I hope some of that rambling mess helps any of you who are in a similar situation to the one I was in. I know I took comfort in the fact that I was not alone, and neither are you!

So...I am moving to Chester (England) on Saturday. My job isn't actually in Chester, it's a short commute away but I think it'll be a nice place to live - though I'm more nervous for this move than I was for going to uni!

If anyone is local or knows the area, I'd welcome any suggestions or recommendations you have :)

And if anyone has any questions or just wants to talk about my experiences after graduation, go ahead and pop it in the comments.

21 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the job lovely! I hope the move went well!! <3

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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    1. Thanks Jennie :) I actually move this week (don't know why this says 'posted on Friday'!) so my room is a bit of a tip at the moment!
      xx

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  2. Congratulations! I've been applying for graduate jobs at the moment too and haven't been successful yet - this post was really lovely and positive! Good luck with your new job! Love from a new follower xx

    kittyhearts.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you Kitty, I wish you the best of luck, I'm sure something will come along soon for you! <3 xx

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  3. Congratulations on your job! That is really great for you. I wish you all the best.

    www.beautiful-in-essence.blogspot.com

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  4. Congrats on graduating! I am actually starting my first year of uni this year but these tips are so great :)
    http://saltskinned.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Thanks Anita! Don't let my situation freak you out either, I know plenty of people who graduated and went straight into a job! Enjoy uni - I loved it, for the most part!
      xx

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  5. Congrats on the job! I panicked and did an MA after graduation, which I will finish in the summer, but I am already freaking out about the job hunt - you're totally right though, everything will be fine eventually!

    Bxx

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    1. Thanks Bella! Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get something soon enough and your MA will definitely stand you in good stead!
      xx

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  6. Thanks so much for this. I never went to school, but this still gave me a bit of clarity for when I do decide to go. Thank you so much again!

    xo
    Jacqueline
    jacquelinvia.blogspot.com

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    1. Aw, thanks Jacqueline, I'm so glad you felt it was of some use to you!
      xx

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  7. Congratulations on the job Rachel! I hope you enjoy it as much as you think you will :-)

    Sharlotte // Sharlotte

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    2. Thanks very much Sharlotte - I hope so too!
      xx

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  8. Yay, congratulations!

    I know exactly how you felt, at times it just felt like I was being told I was useless at everything and I'd never get a job (I still feel useless IN my job sometimes haha). Good on you, and moving to a different city too! BIG change :) xx

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