Looking for work – how selective can you afford to be?

Here’s a dilemma for you

  • Unemployment rates are high, some students fear they might not get a job when they graduate.
  • Yet employers tell us they can’t find graduates to fill the jobs.
  • Students and new graduates tell us they aren’t interested in the jobs available.
  • Yet some graduates are content to stay on in casual jobs in bars and fast foot outlets, rather than finding graduate level roles.

Here at Careers Service we hear from students every day that “there are no jobs” and yet we have employers desperate to find students and graduates to apply for vacancies.

We have seen that some vacancies get few hits on our database, and some get few applicants.

Whats going on?

  • Some students are just not ready to think about employment after their final year: High flyers survey tells us that nationally –   13% have no plans after graduation,  12% plan to go travelling or take a gap year, 8% intend to volunteer or get work experience.
  • Are we blinded by high profile companies and won’t look at other organisations no matter what the job is?
  • Are smaller or less high profile companies just not very good at making their opportunities sound interesting?
  • Are some locations not appealing enough?
  • Are the salaries not high enough?
  • Some students tell us they are put off by the time it takes to make an application.
  • Is it low priority to think about careers and graduate jobs if you could continue in your student casual job after you graduate?

If you can’t get your ideal job are you going to give up or look at other options?

The simple facts are:

  • A job is not for life! If you don’t like it or find a better one you can leave.
  • Taking a job in a smaller company may give you more responsibility earlier – a great start to your career.
  • It’s easier to get a job when you are in a job. You are gaining skills and experience and therefore look attractive to other employers.
  • All jobs can’t be exciting all the time. Everyone has things they would prefer not to have to do in a job, be realistic about what jobs really involve.
  • Taking a gap year can be useful, but if you don’t plan ahead it can easily turn into 2 years off with no income.
  • Jobseekers allowance isn’t much, your friends will be out at work so it can get pretty dull especially if you end up having to move home.
  • Casual jobs like bar and fast food jobs are fine to earn money, but if there is no hope of progression and you are still doing it 2 years after graduation it’s not ideal.  Aim to be looking for roles that will give you more experience and skills while you earn money to pay the bills – you could consider a graduate internship.

You can’t afford not to be looking for work.

You only have so much time, so which jobs SHOULD you apply for and which ones should you ignore?

Apply for:

  • Jobs you have the relevant skills and experience for.
  • Jobs you have some of the relevant skills and experience for. Don’t be put off by a long list of requirements you may still be better than other applicants.
  • Jobs where you may not know much about the company but the role sounds interesting. You can easily research the company to find out more.
  • Jobs in places you may not have heard of.  It may not be as far away as you think – research bus and train fares. You don’t necessarily have to live there, if you can commute less than an hour each way you are doing well!
  • Jobs that are less than the average salary.  The average graduate salary is due to hit £26K this year but that takes into account big city firms, most starting salaries will be well below this. 
  • Jobs that are low paid but give you great experience to progress your career – e.g. admin work or teaching assistants.
  • Think strategically – if the location or some element of the job is a little offputting to you, others will probably feel the same. Low application numbers = more chance of success for you!

 Ignore:

  •  Jobs you can’t be bothered to properly research.
  • Jobs you would turn down if you got an interview or an offer.

If you are simply not interested you are wasting your time and the recruiter’s.

There are simply thousands of immediate start jobs available right now, but you need to have a positive attitude and be prepared to put in the time to make a good application.  Employers would rather be short staffed than take on  staff with bad attitudes. So what are you waiting for? Get applying…

 

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One Response to Looking for work – how selective can you afford to be?

  1. Holly (Careers Service) says:

    Reblogged this on Manchester Graduate Careers and commented:
    Some spot-on advice from Sarah on the undergraduate blog!

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