Dealing with Life as a Graduate

The end of Summer means only one thing, the start of school/university again. Yet this year, for the first time in 18 years I will not be going ‘back’ anywhere. Life has truly begun. I’ve graduated and no longer have the security and stability that full time education provides. How scary.

So far, this blog has captured my move to London, how I’m finding hunting for a job, dealing with rejection and just generally getting out and about exploring the city. It is such an exciting time in my life. I’m planning to move in with my boyfriend and cannot wait to find the perfect job for me! But damn, graduate life is not easy.

I recently went along to the first Gals Who Graduate event hosted by Bronte King. After leaving university, she realised that so many girls were struggling and not quite knowing what to do. Whether that’s how to cope moving back in with their parents after the freedom of University, dealing with that overdraft that is supposed to be decreasing yet seems to be impossible to defeat, or the difficulties in finding a job in the competitive graduate market. So she decided to set up the Gals Who Graduate platform for girls to come together, share advice and discuss their problems. The first event was held at Kalifornia Kitchen on Percy Street (the food was INCREDIBLE!) and there was the best atmosphere of support and solidarity amongst all the girls that were there.

Very quickly I learned that I was not alone. Everyone was somewhat struggling to deal with the highs and lows of graduate life. There is so much pressure to know what you are doing as soon as you leave University, to get a job and not move back to the family home. To show on Instagram that you are living the high life, free from education and your parents. However in reality it’s a lot more lonely than that. Constant job applications leave you dealing with a lot of rejection, quite often moving to a new city where you know very few people and struggling to find financial balance after the drain of student life.

Ultimately, there is no correct path. I met girls who had moved country to find their dream job, girls who had moved back in with their parents but were loving their new job, girls who were still looking for a job, girls living with their boyfriends, friends, strangers, girls who had absolutely no idea what they were doing and just came to meet new people. It was so refreshing. I had met nobody there before, but it didn’t matter. There was a strong sense of community and I left truly feeling that I had a great support group of other girls who would be there if I had a question, even if they were just online!

So if you’ve just graduated, a massive congratulations! University was hard, but I think life as a graduate might be slightly harder. Most importantly though, you’re not alone! Reach out to your friends, chat to the other graduates you meet in your office, try and put yourself out there to meet new people, because chances are, they are feeling as nervous and overwhelmed as you!

Gals who graduate logo, Bronte King

How Blogging Can Help Your Career

If you’re reading this post then there’s a high chance you’re already a blogger yourself or a regular reader of blogs. Blogging is a great creative and therapeutic outlet and the benefits of blogging are numerous; it’s cathartic, a space for creativity and has also introduced me to so many wonderful people.

Whilst blogging is still just my hobby, it has had a profound impact on my experiences of looking for a job. Despite my 2.1 degree from the 2nd best university in the UK (we are clearly very proud of this) and the numerous sporting and academic activities listed on my CV, it is actually the small paragraph at the bottom of the second page that catches the eye of most interviewers. “Tell us a bit about your blog, what made you get in to blogging?” Having a blog and regularly blogging speaks volumes to recruiters and interviewers as it displays so many skills and attributes, so if it’s not already on your CV, here’s why it should be!

Creativity

Whilst I’ve already acknowledged that blogging is a creative outlet for me, it can also act as a portfolio of work that you can show to interviewers to display your creative skills. Not only does it demonstrate your writing skills, there are also the photographs, post, site layouts and so many more facets that show your creative skillset to potential employers. This is particularly important for any job where creativity is an essential part of the job description. I’ve been looking at jobs in marketing and many of them list strong writing capabilities as a key attribute, what better than a digital collection of passionate writing to illustrate your skills?

Attention to Detail

Re-reading and editing posts is probably my least favourite part of the blogging process, however it is incredibly important to me that the quality of writing and content on my site is of the highest possible degree. Producing grammatically correct and accurate content illustrates to employers that you have an eye for detail and are able to produce quality pieces to a high standard.

Organisation

The vast amount of time it takes to have a blog stands as testament to your organisational and planning skills. Most bloggers don’t simply pick up their laptop when they have a few minutes, bash out a post and that’s them done. Blogging requires a great deal of time, forcing you to plan ahead and manage your time wisely. It demonstrates an organisational ability which almost all job descriptions I have ever read have listed as a key requirement.

Initiative

As well as demonstrating creativity, starting a blog requires initiative, a further attribute that is often discussed during interviews. Having the confidence to put yourself online and the drive to continue to post regularly, shows employers that you have the initiative and determination to start with a concept and follow it through.

Social Media Management

With an increasing number of jobs and industries turning towards digital channels to promote their products, social media is playing an ever growing role in business and marketing. Since we are now in 2019, it’s safe to say that almost everyone will have either a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest account, or all of the above! However it is the extra skills that you develop as a blogger that set you against other candidates. Scheduling platforms such as buffer and Hootsuite, co-ordinating a promotion plan and forward planning layouts are all tools used by most bloggers to increase their reach and reader base.

Collaboration

Most industries will require you to work with either clients or other businesses to achieve objectives, requiring strong lines of communication and often working to a brief. If you have been lucky enough to work with brands as part of your blog, then this is something you should definitely be mentioning in interviews. Whilst you may have worked with a make-up or fashion brand that has no relation to the job you are applying for, the skills you have gained from the experience are extremely attractive to employers and will impressive any interviewer.

Have you ever been asked about your blog in an interview? Please share in the comments if you have any other skills you’ve gained from blogging that would be beneficial in a job hunt! There is also the pinnable graphic at the bottom of the post if you want to save it for later and look back when you’re writing job applications or preparing for an interview!

How blogging can help your career, pinnable graphic.

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