So, Christmas is over; you’re fat, unattractive and your face is covered in what seems to be cranberries mixed with the innards of a discount cracker. This is no way to ring in the new year. It’s time to dust yourself off, remove that ridiculous jumper and look forward to 2013 – seeing as the Mayans got it wrong it looks like we’re charging relentlessly towards it.
For the unemployed grad the beginning of a new era can be both a daunting and invigorating thing – a whole new year, unspoilt and gently gleaming, packed with both opportunity and mystery. On the other hand, it’s January – you can no longer justify playing Halo in your bad pants by shouting “BUT IT’S THE FESTIVE SEASON” out of the window. It’s time to make some job-seeking resolutions. 5 ways you can avoid the January blues – stick to them and prepare for a happy new year.
5. Go for what you actually want
Seems like an obvious one, but we’ll start you off easy seeing as you’re still wearing that jumper. A lot of freshly graduated types finish university and panic about beginning Their Path – wanting to ensure they find a place in a company and in an industry that will set them down the road to their own perfectly imagined success. Generally speaking, this leads to madness. Instead of trying to second guess your ten-years-older self and where they might want to be, figure out what it is you’re actually passionate about now – do you want experience in working in a creative team? To learn how to crack brilliant sales pitches? Do you desperately need training in some relevant programmes? Don’t worry so much about The Industry you want to get into eventually – find an opportunity that suits the skills you want to stretch, and go for it. Follow your passions now, and the right future will follow.
4. Stay interested in the world around you
A lot of employers lament the fact that though their applicants are perfectly able to talk about their own hopes and dreams as well as the goals of the company they are applying to, their knowledge of world events and hot industry topics is lacking. Savvy employers and especially entrepreneurs want people who are curious. Be insatiable in what you want to learn, what you’re interested in and the world at large, and you’ll come across as a far more well-rounded candidate than someone who has furiously Wikipedia-d the entire board of directors.
3. Stay Positive
Tricky one, this, as it comes from the farm of It’s All Very Well To Say It. After you’ve heard yet another deafening silence from yet another business you weren’t even sure if you cared about, it can be hard to see where you’re going wrong. But being proactive is half the battle – talk to family and friends about what you’re applying for, get them to give you feedback on your CV and cover letters and keep the faith that all it takes is the right fit. The other thing to remember is that Staying Positive is not the same as Doing The Same Thing Over And Over Again. If you’re not having luck after a couple of months, try changing your CV or the way in which you approach your applications. Nothing stops the onset of a rut like changing things up – don’t get trapped in a repetitive cycle of doom, and you’ll stay on top of the challenge.
2. Stay passionate
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but the reason it keeps getting bounced about is because it’s true: employers can spot generic CVs and – particularly – cover letters a mile off. As irritating, time-consuming and (occasionally) soul- defacing as it is, you have to make sure every application you send off shows some real passion. For every company you contact, figure out which objectives you share, and really emphasise them in your application. Genuine drive stands out. You want to stand out, yes?
1. Do other things
Don’t forget that an interesting CV is not built on paid work and placements alone. No matter how slim the permanent employment pickings seem, you should be trying to keep active. Get involved with the local volunteering scene, try out a few afternoons as a dog walker, set up an evening of rock and roll chess – not only will it all add to your skills generally, it will keep you buzzy, ideasy and interested in what’s going on around you. There’s nothing worse than seeing the days stretch ahead of you, blank, dark, filled with super-noodles. Get yourself a schedule – ideally one that sees you leave the house.
Though the above tips can’t guarantee you instant employment, they will certainly ensure that the job-madess is kept firmly at bay while you wait it out. Stay passionate, stay hopeful – and above all, stay busy. Happy new year to all you grads, and let the search BEGIN!
By Natasha Hodgson
Enternships Community Manager