Two months after graduating… What have I learned?

What does a bench and me have in common? Quite a lot. After graduating from Birmingham City University, I have been in the never-ending fight to secure my first graduate job and whilst I have had secured interviews and come close to getting job offers, it has given me some food for thought.

It can feel very lonely and isolating but in hindsight it has given me some perspective on where I seem to be falling down. I have always prided myself on life-long learning and I’m always willing to do new things no matter how difficult or easy it may be.

Here’s what I have learned in five points about those two months on the graduate job hunt.

1. Tailor those applications!

I cannot stress this enough and it’s something I take into consideration whenever I am applying for a job and that is to tailor the application to the role I am applying for. Whilst I have been very lucky to secure placements, work experience and casual paid work, its identifying those transferable skills that will get you in the job market.

2. Be willing to upskill yourself

Overtime, it’s something I have had to do because it’s super important to learn new skills and experiences that you don’t like. In this year, I have learned Tableau, SQL and R but I have made a huge effort to work on my life skills as the hard skills are good, but networking, speaking to people and teamwork will get you a long way in life.

3. You’re not a failure! You’re not a failure!

This is what I have come to terms with over the past couple of months and whilst I had a few mental breakdowns last weekend, it gave me some perspective. There are thousands of graduates vying for the same jobs as me, you just have to take every rejection and knock positively and move forward.

4. Build your portfolio

Throughout my years in further and higher education, it has been extremely important to build up a portfolio of work you can show to employers. Yes, I have spent over four years writing and getting work experience with Sky and ITV, but that is not enough. Creating your own content goes a long way to getting that foot on the ladder.

5. Have a backup plan

I know I would love to be in my first job right now but if it’s not working out, enforce a backup plan. That may be working anywhere that gives you experience. I’m rethinking my career route because it would give me a chance to get the necessary experience to work my way up in my chosen industry.

The most important thing I have learned in this tough period of my life is something will eventually come. You have to pay your dues in order to show that you are willing to secure your dream job. My time will come, but in the meanwhile I have to get my foot on the job market first!

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