Dear Diary… Getting Back Up Again

Ahh rejection. What a glorious feeling.

If you’ve been following my blog or have read any of my recent posts then you’ll know that I’ve been in London recently for two interviews for what was essentially a dream job. It involved blogging, events, digital marketing and communications and I really thought my interviews had gone well.

In fact, they did go well! I came second, losing out to a candidate that had three years of experience in those fields. As a graduate there is potentially nothing more soul destroying than losing to someone with experience. I understand experience gives the company that sense of reassurance but when you’re on the other side of a rejection simply due to your age it can be pretty crushing. I have never let a lack of experience daunt me, because let’s face it. 90% of people probably had no idea what they were doing when they first start a job, no matter how much previous experience they have had. Every job will require slightly different skills, use different platforms and have a totally different working environment. So even 50 years of experience wouldn’t necessarily prepare you for that first day.

Now I don’t want to come across as bitter, because I am most definitely not! It’s still a dream company to work for and I’m going to keep pursuing jobs with them, so take this more as a lamentation for how frustrating it can be as a graduate fighting for that first big break. If you read my post on hunting for a job in London you’ll know just how overwhelming it can be, with so many opportunities simultaneously feeling like nothing being available.

However, in this moment of defeat (albeit a small moment of defeat) I am more determined than ever to grab a break and get the London city life I’ve been dreaming of. Whilst it throws our plans of moving into a flat into complete disarray, I guess I will just be even more prepared when the time does come. As a true millennial, I live my life by a great series of inspirational quotes.

What’s for you won’t come past you.

If it’s meant to be, it will be.

As one door closes another one opens.

So here I am checking in, down but definitely not out! I guess if it was easy there would be no sense of achievement and that is my whole motivation for moving to London in the first place.

Barbican conservatory

New Girl at Camden Market

Camden Market in London, looking across the canal

When I was trying to think of what to do with my friend from uni who was down visiting, my mind initially jumped to where we were going to eat in London. Obviously…

I had been to Camden market before a few years ago and remembered it having an amazing mix of street food and various stalls, so after looking it up online and finding out that they had a stall selling yorkshire pudding burritos (yorkshire puds are in my top ever foods) I thought it would be the perfect place to have a wander.

After taking the Northern line out to Camden town station, we walked through the crowds to Camden lock and crossed the bridge into the street food market. It was absolutely jammed with people and stalls and there really was something for everyone. If you want a full list of what’s available you can find one on the Camden Market website!

Other side fried buffalo chicken strips from Camden Market

Whilst there really was so much to choose from, there was never any doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be getting a yorkshire pudding burrito after I’d basically dreamt about it the night before. I went for chicken and it came stuffed with chicken, roast potatoes, spinach, stuffing and honey mustard sauce and it was absolutely divine. You can see the look of love in my eyes. However, it’s definitely not one to eat standing up and it dropped out everywhere and made such a mess, so maybe try and secure a table before you try one!

Ed went for the other side fried buffalo chicken strips that came topped with parmesan. Whilst the parmesan and buffalo was a new combination for me, Ed absolutely loved it and said it satisfied the buffalo sauce cravings he’s been suffering from since our trip to the US.

However there is so much more to the market than just the food stalls, as the stables market also has an incredible array of vintage shops, decor, jewellery, art and more! There are so many beautiful stalls but our favourite was To Home From London! They had a great selection of cute cartoon-esque art and homeware and we both loved the prints of London landmarks and are seriously considering getting some pieces for our new flat (when we get it…) I love the idea of putting little bits of London into the flat to really make it feel like our city pad!

The entrance to Camden market, wearing new look floral playsuit
Playsuit – New Look

Camden Market Top 5 Tips

  • Don’t go on a Sunday! I had read that Sunday was the best day to go to Camden as it was the day that was the busiest and therefore had the best atmosphere but as we were there at lunchtime it really was just too busy. There was barely even any room to stand to eat never mind space to sit down! Whilst the concept of street food is obviously to be able to eat on the go in the streets it was just that little bit too busy and bustling so I would say Sundays are to be avoided. We were there from around 12 till 3 and it didn’t show any signs of quietening down.
  • Bring hand wipes!! Most stalls offer napkins but if you’re eating after exploring the market stalls or planning on having one of those dreamy yorkshire burritos, I’d definitely recommend bringing some form of hand sanitiser or hand wipes!
  • Check out whats on offer before you commit! If you walk in across the bridge over the canal, you may think that the first section is all there is, but the food market extends so much further than that! Walking around before you decide what you want is a must as there is simply so much choice.
  • There are more tables further in to the market, so if there isn’t one available right beside the canal then if you cross into the second section of the market then you will find more. We didn’t realise this initially and probably could have saved ourselves a lot of mess and standing if we had walked a little more.
  • Finally, wear comfy clothes! Bit of an obvious one perhaps, but the ground is not suited to heels or wedges of any kind and trainers are essential. I’d also encourage food baby friendly outfits as you are guaranteed to find something tasty!

Have you ever been to Camden Market? What was your favourite stall/dish? Let me know in the comments because there’s no doubt I’ll be going back!

Exploring Camden Market in London; pinnable graphic

How to Prepare for an Interview

If you read my post on job hunting in London, you’ll know that interviews aren’t actually something that bother me all that much. This might change as I inevitably become jaded by the constantly spinning wheel of London life, being let down and taken advantage of – or so I’m told! But for now, I’m seeing interviews as a positive thing, a chance to find out more about the company and show them why I’m the right person for the job. Or, a chance for me to find out I’m not the right person for the job and they aren’t the company for me.

One of the major reasons I am able not to feel daunted by big interviews is the preparation I put in beforehand. This might be as simple as reading the company’s website the day before if you are applying for a weekend or after-school job. However as I’m competing in the graduate market since I’ve recently graduated from University most positions I am applying for are hotly contested and I need to put in the preparation to show why I deserve the opportunity.

Research is key!

Before you go in to an interview, I want to know what to expect to give myself the best possible chance. There are a few key points and ways you can research the company in order to arm yourself with all the information you need

  • Google them: potentially exceptionally obvious, but I mean really googling them. Google map the office so you know exactly how to get there, what you’ve got around you and use street view so you can see the exterior of the office so you’re not walking up and down on interview day. Click on the news tab to see when they’ve been mentioned in recent stories and if there’s any breaking news you can bring up during the interview to show that you’re active and enthusiastic about the brand.
  • Know their competitors and what makes them unique: if you’re applying for a marketing job, know who the other main marketing company’s are and why the company you are applying for is different. Brands work tirelessly to promote their USP so by mentioning it and illustrating you understand it they will appreciate your efforts.
  • Check their social media: company’s will often retweet or share information they want to promote and social media is a great way to see what the brand is saying directly from the source. I also think social media is a great way to check out the office culture, see if they include photos or videos of social activities or charity events they participate in.
  • Try and find a recent case study or project and make yourself aware of how the brand created it and what they achieved. They might ask you for examples of their work that you enjoyed or what attracted you to them in the first place and being able to discuss their own work with them shows you are interested in the industry as a whole.

Show your skills

One thing I did recently for a job interview which I think really helped was to print out the job spec and go through each individual pointer and write down how I could display that. For example, the job I applied for included working on events so I wrote beside it a list of events that I had helped organise and what I achieved with each one. This way you know you are going in armed with the right skillset and it can really help affirm that the job is for you.

One question I have always been asked, no matter whether it’s a graduate job in London, a Summer internship or working in my local newsagents, is “Why you?” What can you bring to the job and company. Whether that’s endless enthusiasm, specific knowledge of the subject, contacts in the industry or whatever. Everyone has something unique to offer, so make sure you know what you’re bringing to the table before you go in.

Know Yourself

With that being said, it’s also important to know where your weaknesses lie. Very few jobs are completely independent with no sense of teamwork, so weaknesses aren’t something to be ashamed of. They also are not trying to trick you by asking you this question, they simply want to know what areas you’ll want to lean more heavily on your teammates. However I was always told to pick a weakness that could be turned into a strength. For example, I am so not a morning person. It takes me a good hour or two after getting into work to produce my best, but this means I work exceptionally well in the afternoon and can be even more productive. I’m also super enthusiastic and chatty, and whilst this means I can sometimes get carried away, it also means I’m confident enough to speak to people and put myself out there and have the energy to see a project through. Basically, there’s no such thing as a weakness.

Do you have any other tips? Leave them in the comments so we can all learn from each other and don’t forget there’s a pinnable image at the bottom of the post so you can save it for later!

My tips on how to prepare for an interview, pinnable graphic