The Career Fear

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[Written By: Rachel Shnapp]

So, we did it. In a few weeks we will officially have degrees, and can plaster that first, 2:1, 2:2 onto our bright and shiny CVs that we will  (or already are) ramming down the email-shaped throat of anything, anywhere that is vaguely related to the kind of job we imagine ourselves doing. For me, it’s somewhere in the realm of film and arts, but I’ll also happily take a job in marketing/ journalism/a bar. Anything that will allow me to pay my rent, basically. And I know from talking to friends that it isn’t just me being massively melodramatic (although that has been known to happen on very, extremely rare occasions…). But everyone seems to have, what I call, The Fear.

Unless you’ve just come out with straight As in your law degree and have a year-long internship already in place, there’s a pretty big chance that you’re not feeling that confident in yourself. Even I – someone who’s been obsessed with collecting roles for my CV since my second last year of high school – feel like there is no reason I should get a job over anyone else. Why is it we all have so much doubt? Is it something to do with the Insta-issue, where we see other people our age managing to effortlessly secure their dream job as though they were catapulted to the top of the career ladder, whilst we stare up, necks craned, from the bottom rungs? Or is it that we don’t want to work to get there – we’ve heard the ‘in my day’ spiel so much that we were kind of hoping our grandparents were right and things would be easier for us? Or maybe these days there just aren’t that many jobs open to the small, fresh caterpillars that are graduates.

Truthfully, I really don’t have an answer for you guys. But what I can say is we are all in this rocky boat together, chucking our CVs out with buckets as though we’re trying desperately to stay afloat. All I can offer you are the mere crumbs of advice I have gathered from this side of the shoreline, and hopefully we will all manage to sail to the paradise island of ‘Happily Employed’ together.

  1. Network your ass off. So often it’s all about knowing that right person, who can then help you set up that critical interview. I know it sucks, but in most industries (even engineering – who knew!) getting ahead is about knowing the right person and showing off the best you that you can be.
  2. Apply for EVERYTHING. You’ll have to spend hours and hours researching the industry, the companies, the people etc. of your selected area. Don’t underestimate the power of putting in the hours, people.
  3. Don’t aim for the top. Sounds harsh, but be realistic about what type of job you’re qualified for.
  4. Don’t undervalue your skills. This directly contradicts the last point, but there’s no reason to not try for that job that requires previous experience if you feel like you have the skills they need.

And last, but for sure not least:

  1. Don’t lose hope – you will get a job. Something will come up, it always does. You can do it. And it will be at the point you think you’re entirely done, that a ding in your inbox will have good news.

P.S. do not under any circumstances forget to check your spam folder. Too many people miss out on interviews because the invites go straight to spam.


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