Leaving the cosy bubble of University for the harsh reality of the working world feels a lot like having the lights switched on in a club before you’ve finished throwing your last shapes on the dance floor; you feel exposed, disorientated, and dangerously out of your comfort zone. You yearn for the halcyon freedoms of yester-year but instead you’re navigating yourself through the madness of the World of Work, firing out CV, after application form, after begging letter.
You’ve well and truly hit the job-search wall, and as a result you’re starting to display a worrying set of symptoms associated with the dreaded Unemployed Graduate Syndrome (UGS) which is ruining your chance of getting anywhere. You need to take action and turn these three bad habits into good-grad practice to keep this debilitating illness at bay.
Cure: No-one ever got CEO in their My Little Pony pyjamas did they? Whilst you’re waiting for THAT call, review your CV-tactics to see where you may have gone wrong and ask recruiters to send you feedback from previous applications. Try volunteering, learning a language or have a crack at freelancing – anything to get you active. Large gaps on your CV look worse if you can’t tell a recruiter that you’ve at least tried to be productive, because ‘actively seeking employment’ isn’t a valid excuse for 18 months of doing pure nothin’.
Cure: When stalking yourself, take the time to clean up your social media footprint. Remove tags, and get your head around the latest privacy settings on Facebook. Delete the words ‘aspiring’ and ‘student’ from your LinkedIn account if you want to be taken seriously, and make sure your public content represents you as a personal brand. If you want to establish yourself as a potential expert in your field, then start tweeting like one. Follow the companies you want to work for, and engage with like-minded professionals. Twitter is also a great place to get hired via the almighty hashtag: Try #freelancerneeded and #CVtips for the search, and #graduateforhire, #freelancerforhire when promoting yourself.
Cure: Start being a career-sleuth and think outside the box – many jobs aren’t actually advertised online so start targeting ‘hidden’ companies. Subscribe to industry newsletters to find out the latest trends: who has taken on new clients, reported big profits, or has just started out? Offer your services with a tailored application, and let each company know you have been tracking their progress to earn extra brownie points.
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