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Graduates - post here if your work and jobs so far are not as you expected or hoped

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    I graduated with a science degree from an ex poly so expected to be against the odds for jobs. Within 6 months or so I had more interviews and opportunities than my friends with 2:1's from arguably better universities and in reasonable fields. One of them had a Masters.

    Currently in an 18k a year job doing analysis for a company. It's quite good pay given that it's a zero stress job however it's bad pay overall as you can progress much higher in science (for permanent staff doing the same thing, they get 27k).

    In university you learn about a lot of amazing things such as recent innovations, technology and techniques which are incredibly interesting and the thought that you'll be qualified to at least talk about these things gets you through. The reality is that getting somewhere requires a hard start and it's when you have a pretty **** job that you know when to try for a good one. If you get a great job from the offset then good for you. More often than not you'll have to do some gash graduate jobs to get experience and then lead on from there.

    Your CV will get you noticed, your personality will land you an interview and being persistant gets you a job. Classification, where you went and what you did helps but it's not as essential as you might think (unless you're in some sort of horrendously elitist field such as law, investment banking, being some politician etc.). Don't settle for something you don't want to do, keep looking, keep asking, keep applying. It's soul destroying after the millionth application but when you get a reply, it's cream in your pants territory.

    As what I'm doing isn't what I can see myself doing for another couple of months, let alone years, I'm going back to University to do a Masters. Got offered a place from a 'proper' university and it opens up a lot more doors.
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    (Original post by M1011)
    My point is there are jobs to be had, if you want them go and get them. Work hard, do some extra curricular's, get some experience and prepare very well for interviews. That's how people land graduate jobs in my experience.

    My issue is with people who seem generally shocked that they don't have a job simply because they have a degree. A degree isn't an automatic job, nor should it be. Now if someone does all of the above and still doesn't get a job, well then fair enough they can complain, but I doubt that applies to the majority on this thread.

    Another thing, you point out that there are more graduates then graduate positions. Well positions aren't given out at random, so make sure you're a better then average graduate and you shouldn't have a problem finding a half decent job. If you're a below average graduate and can't find a job, well whose fault is that?

    Now if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to my little love in
    I'm well aware of the process of graduate applications, interviews, assessment centres etc and how to prepare for them thanks.

    The title of this thread clearly states graduates that are working but in a job that isn't what they hoped. So again you are proving your ignorance by agreeing first off that the majority of people are lazy in this thread and then by talking about graduates that don't have jobs (there's other threads for grads unfortunate enough to be in that position).

    My point is that we all know that their are jobs to be had, but when for example there are 14,000 graduates applying for companies offering 320 jobs (Jaguar Landrover) then to take your stance is just retarded.

    Get back to your love in, you're clearly too self-absorbed to understand the situation.

    Toodles x
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    Sigh, we're not going to agree on this are we? OK time for a break down quote response!

    (Original post by original_username)
    I'm well aware of the process of graduate applications, interviews, assessment centres etc and how to prepare for them thanks.
    Excellent news, I'm very happy for you.

    (Original post by original_username)
    The title of this thread clearly states graduates that are working but in a job that isn't what they hoped. So again you are proving your ignorance by agreeing first off that the majority of people are lazy in this thread and then by talking about graduates that don't have jobs (there's other threads for grads unfortunate enough to be in that position).
    Sigh, the old OP defence. Well first off, the OP specifically mentioned it took 3 years for him to find a job and the job he describes having doesn't sound like a graduate position to me (although I'm not sure of that, just my impression from what the OP says).

    This then lead to comments from people about being unable to find a graduate job and others being disheartened about going to uni due to the difficulties being mentioned on this thread regarding finding a graduate job. Hence my post about there being positions available, etcetera. It was hardly an unprecedented leap was it? Yes my comment doesn't follow on directly from the first post, it follows on from the 7 pages before it.

    (Original post by original_username)
    My point is that we all know that their are jobs to be had, but when for example there are 14,000 graduates applying for companies offering 320 jobs (Jaguar Landrover) then to take your stance is just retarded.
    My stance is that people need to stop feeling entitled to positions simply because they have a degree and recognise that a lot more needs to go in to getting on to a good graduate scheme. That is how you get in to a position which won't be disappointing, no?

    Incidentally, I applied to Jaguar Landrover as it happens and I got offered a place. I turned it down for what I considered to be a better position, but nevertheless it seems that I'm not so ignorant of the competition out there doesn't it? Furthermore the scheme I've gone for is even more competitive then the JLR one. This isn't showing off (you brought it up ), I'm just stating the facts so that perhaps you change your opinion on my 'ignorance'.

    (Original post by original_username)
    Get back to your love in, you're clearly too self-absorbed to understand the situation.

    Toodles x
    I'm not self absorbed at all thanks. A few months ago I was searching for graduate positions just like everyone else. The point is some people seem genuinely unaware of why they are struggling to get good positions (despite their degrees), and others are being put off from even going to get a degree by the lack of optimism shown on this thread. Therefore I see no reason to not point out my experiences, which are all based on first hand experiences and observations, not 'ignorance'.


    *Note to the OP* - I'm not having a go at you here in any way, you're post simply stated your experience which is fine by me. My response is to the general view coming out of the thread.
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    (Original post by M1011)
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    Can't be bothered replying to all of that sorry dude. Which isn't good for my "we aren't lazy" argument. We just aren't going to come close to agreeing so pointless anyway!

    I don't think its so much a sense of entitlement. Its expectation which isn't managed well throughout our education system not just with University students. Then even if the standard of Grads was amazing companies wouldn't be creating more jobs than they are currently.

    Not sure about Deloitte being more competitive, they offer over 1000 grad jobs across all of their service lines, relatively the competition per place is quite similar. And the deloitte application process is one of the easiest from my experience, they've even got rid of the telephone interview from when I applied last June. Hardest part is the Presentation in the partner interview which I completely ballsed up I find an Assessment centre scenario a lot more challenging. You don't have to worry about that any more though.

    Also I think you made the right decision in opting for Deloitte over JLR, whatever the service line.
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    (Original post by original_username)
    Can't be bothered replying to all of that sorry dude. Which isn't good for my "we aren't lazy" argument. We just aren't going to come close to agreeing so pointless anyway!

    I don't think its so much a sense of entitlement. Its expectation which isn't managed well throughout our education system not just with University students. Then even if the standard of Grads was amazing companies wouldn't be creating more jobs than they are currently.

    Not sure about Deloitte being more competitive, they offer over 1000 grad jobs across all of their service lines, relatively the competition per place is quite similar. And the deloitte application process is one of the easiest from my experience, they've even got rid of the telephone interview from when I applied last June. Hardest part is the Presentation in the partner interview which I completely ballsed up I find an Assessment centre scenario a lot more challenging. You don't have to worry about that any more though.

    Also I think you made the right decision in opting for Deloitte over JLR, whatever the service line.
    Fair enough, I agree to disagree

    I guess per place it might be pretty similar, but personally I felt the competition was at a higher level. That said, it could just be that the others in my JLR assessment centre weren't great, who knows. I know what you mean though about assessment centres, they can be quite draining which you avoid at Deloitte given it's split in to three (e-tray, manager interview, partner interview), but nothing in any of my applications was as pressured as that partner interview. The likes of JLR and IBM were both pleasant chats in comparison! Although granted, that depends on who you get I guess.

    Worst part of JLR for me (not sure if you did similar, might differ across different business areas) was the role play pretending to set sales targets with a dealer principle. I just wanted to burst out laughing the whole time, such an odd situation! But hey, live and learn
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    (Original post by M1011)
    Fair enough, I agree to disagree

    I guess per place it might be pretty similar, but personally I felt the competition was at a higher level. That said, it could just be that the others in my JLR assessment centre weren't great, who knows. I know what you mean though about assessment centres, they can be quite draining which you avoid at Deloitte given it's split in to three (e-tray, manager interview, partner interview), but nothing in any of my applications was as pressured as that partner interview. The likes of JLR and IBM were both pleasant chats in comparison! Although granted, that depends on who you get I guess.

    Worst part of JLR for me (not sure if you did similar, might differ across different business areas) was the role play pretending to set sales targets with a dealer principle. I just wanted to burst out laughing the whole time, such an odd situation! But hey, live and learn
    The role play for me was changing a production plan and the budget for it after unforeseen problems like a supplier firm going bump so it was more realistic. Had to get the manager to agree in principle to your chopping and changing. Pretty hard.

    You're right, the partner interview is like nothing I've experienced at any other AC. What presentation did you have to give? Only problem with Deloittes process for me is that it is so subjective, It's one persons opinion essentially although they are grading you to criteria like any other process. When I applied the manager interview was before the e-tray too which was a bit daft on their part I thought.
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    (Original post by M1011)
    Sigh, the old OP defence. Well first off, the OP specifically mentioned it took 3 years for him to find a job and the job he describes having doesn't sound like a graduate position to me (although I'm not sure of that, just my impression from what the OP says).
    Yea it sought someone with GCSE's, I think.

    This then lead to comments from people about being unable to find a graduate job and others being disheartened about going to uni due to the difficulties being mentioned on this thread regarding finding a graduate job. Hence my post about there being positions available, etcetera. It was hardly an unprecedented leap was it? Yes my comment doesn't follow on directly from the first post, it follows on from the 7 pages before it.



    My stance is that people need to stop feeling entitled to positions simply because they have a degree and recognise that a lot more needs to go in to getting on to a good graduate scheme. That is how you get in to a position which won't be disappointing, no?

    I'm not self absorbed at all thanks. A few months ago I was searching for graduate positions just like everyone else. The point is some people seem genuinely unaware of why they are struggling to get good positions (despite their degrees), and others are being put off from even going to get a degree by the lack of optimism shown on this thread. Therefore I see no reason to not point out my experiences, which are all based on first hand experiences and observations, not 'ignorance'.


    *Note to the OP* - I'm not having a go at you here in any way, you're post simply stated your experience which is fine by me. My response is to the general view coming out of the thread.
    I think most people, or everyone, here knows very well why they may not have a job - perhaps they're basically doing everything right but just haven't got lucky yet or applied for enough jobs for one to catch. Or perhaps, like me, they're basically unemployable and have no relevant skills or experience. I know that, and I'm not surprised that I'm at a low level in work. My degree is broadly useless, I got no industry experience, I have no other tempting skills like languages or programming, and also I'm a pretty weird person who doesn't know how to make people warm to him (no good for interviews).

    BUT, I only realised all that fairly recently, because all through school we were fed ideas about how ****ing awesome we were and how going to uni is totally badass and we'll walk into 30k jobs as soon as we graduate. Whether the teachers honestly believed it or not, it was bull****, and quite damaging bull****. I did what I was led to believe was necessary and that was not nearly enough. Other people noticed what to do, though, so good on them. My mind was elsewhere, never really focussed on a career.

    Plus I'm basically lazy. I have not applied to "many" jobs because all those that I thought I had a chance at were **** (they are). I probably got interviews for about 20-30% of applications I sent, which isn't bad. I also have some strong philosophical/moral objections to many jobs and that meant I didn't go out very aggressively to seek work.

    Anyway basically your view of the graduate+job situation is fairly accurate but I think you're fighting an imaginary enemy here, we all seem to agree.
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    (Original post by original_username)
    The role play for me was changing a production plan and the budget for it after unforeseen problems like a supplier firm going bump so it was more realistic. Had to get the manager to agree in principle to your chopping and changing. Pretty hard.

    You're right, the partner interview is like nothing I've experienced at any other AC. What presentation did you have to give? Only problem with Deloittes process for me is that it is so subjective, It's one persons opinion essentially although they are grading you to criteria like any other process. When I applied the manager interview was before the e-tray too which was a bit daft on their part I thought.
    Your role play sounds more interesting then mine was

    Yea that is strange, surprised they use to do it that way. Apparently they use to do it so that you sat the e-tray and the partner interview in the same day (fast track), so often partners ended up wasting their time on people who didn't pass the tests. Think that's probably why the changed it now. Yea I know what you mean, the interviews seem to vary a lot as well. Some partners are really focused on questioning the presentation, others on questioning the industry and others are mainly competency based (from reading wiki job), so does seem a little bit luck of the draw as to who you get. My partner hardly questioned my presentation at all, seemed to be more interested in commercial awareness and pressurising me over every major decision I've made. My presentation was on how the industry would have to adapt going forward to tackle changes in Industry, wasn't to bad IMO after a bit of research.

    Out of interest, did you join JLR or go elsewhere in the end?
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    Fair points. I guess everyone get's a different experience (different schools, careers centres, universities etc). Perhaps I'm taking some of the things I was told for granted, like the importance of industry experience (I picked my University based on this).

    (Original post by NB_ide)
    Or perhaps, like me, they're basically unemployable and have no relevant skills or experience. I know that, and I'm not surprised that I'm at a low level in work. My degree is broadly useless, I got no industry experience, I have no other tempting skills like languages or programming, and also I'm a pretty weird person who doesn't know how to make people warm to him (no good for interviews).
    A bit of confidence might take you a long way. Generally speaking many large companies just require a 2.1, the subject isn't that important in many cases (certainly my degree has nothing to do with the job I'm taking). You technically do now have experience through the job you've been doing, and programming / languages are pretty role specific. The only thing you say here that is a concern is the difficulty warming to people in interview. Perhaps if you can work on that then you'd have a bit more luck securing a place where you'd like to work. Guess what I'm saying is keep at it, you're a better candidate now then you were when you first graduated thanks to that experience, so perhaps things will look up soon!
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    (Original post by M1011)
    Fair points. I guess everyone get's a different experience (different schools, careers centres, universities etc). Perhaps I'm taking some of the things I was told for granted, like the importance of industry experience (I picked my University based on this).



    A bit of confidence might take you a long way. Generally speaking many large companies just require a 2.1, the subject isn't that important in many cases (certainly my degree has nothing to do with the job I'm taking). You technically do now have experience through the job you've been doing, and programming / languages are pretty role specific. The only thing you say here that is a concern is the difficulty warming to people in interview. Perhaps if you can work on that then you'd have a bit more luck securing a place where you'd like to work. Guess what I'm saying is keep at it, you're a better candidate now then you were when you first graduated thanks to that experience, so perhaps things will look up soon!
    Yes, in my current job I actually do **** all and am drifting ever further from my university level of knowledge... BUT no prospective employer knows that. Well, they do. But it's not too bad. The last interview panel saw right through me, lol.
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    (Original post by original_username)
    You're right, the partner interview is like nothing I've experienced at any other AC.
    My partner interview (separate from the AC) wasn't much more than 20 minutes and we talked about Rugby and the economy.

    I've had more difficult baths.
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    (Original post by Regent)
    My partner interview (separate from the AC) wasn't much more than 20 minutes and we talked about Rugby and the economy.

    I've had more difficult baths.
    What! No fair! Swap partners next time

    (That sounds a bit wrong, but you know what I mean!)
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    (Original post by wanderlust.xx)
    I've seen you around here quite a bit over the past year and a half or so, and now that I'm about to graduate the prospect of finding a job is ever increasingly apparent.

    You seem like a really bright, talented and interesting person to talk to, and it seems to come as no surprise that you managed to make it into an actuarial firm, to be honest. It feels like you're the total polar opposite of what I am!

    I guess I don't know why I decided to quote you. I guess in three weeks time, once my exams are over, I'm going to have to look into a career and actuarial work looks more and more appealing. I hated statistics at A level but having done it at uni and seen some of the stochastic processes, it looks a little more interesting and a little easier than it used to.

    I guess it'd be nice to walk into a graduate job with a first and a few extra curriculars, but I'm sure that's not how it works.
    I think very, very few people just "walk into" a graduate job. It's tough! I certainly didn't find it easy. I am extremely flattered by what you said ( ), but it sounds like you're quite harsh on yourself. And you probably overestimate others by the sounds of things! A first and extra-currics is an excellent starting point, even though it is obviously not a golden ticket. I think learning how to sell yourself/your experiences on forms and in person is key. I still remember a uni interview where the interviewer said, "I see you've reached a high standard on the piano," and for some reason I denied it and totally played it down! I later learnt quite a lot from a uni friend of mine who was great at making himself sound awesome, and also from being involved in student politics/making campaign speeches as part of that.

    Try not to do yourself down. If you're on track for a first then you're obviously very smart! You just need to focus on what your positive qualities are and how you can present them on a form. The reason employers like good grades and extra-currics is because they are evidence of certain qualities - if you can persuade them you've got the qualities by the way you present yourself, that's half the battle - the other half is being really well-researched and showing you have genuine enthusiasm for the job.

    And if it takes you a few years to really pin down something you enjoy (I was applying to things for two years before I got my job), that's not the end of the world; might feel pretty crappy at the time, but in the end, a career is a long thing - fifty years for our generation by the sounds of things! - and a few years to get into something you like isn't so terrible.

    EDIT: Maybe you should look into actuarial work. If you go to the profession website (actuaries.org.uk), in the Students section there are some example exam papers. I am taking three exams this session and only one of them is particularly related to A level stats - then one is finance and financial reporting, so it's way wordier, and the other is financial maths, which I really enjoy.
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    I think a big issue is the sense of entitlement some students have. They get a good degree from a top uni and think that is enough to get them a foot-in. It is a dangerous path to follow and will most likely lead to unemployment/underemployment.
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    (Original post by ForKicks)
    I think a big issue is the sense of entitlement some students have. They get a good degree from a top uni and think that is enough to get them a foot-in. It is a dangerous path to follow and will most likely lead to unemployment/underemployment.
    And when they can't get a job they say something along the lines of 'it's because of the recession I can't get a job' instead of seeing the real reason.
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    (Original post by ForKicks)
    I think a big issue is the sense of entitlement some students have. They get a good degree from a top uni and think that is enough to get them a foot-in. It is a dangerous path to follow and will most likely lead to unemployment/underemployment.
    So very true! a 2:1 from sheffield or leeds personally is not much different than a 2:1 from coventry...
    It's what has caused so many grads to have really poor jobs, when they actually need to get off facebook and go and get some experience
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    (Original post by lcsurfer)
    So very true! a 2:1 from sheffield or leeds personally is not much different than a 2:1 from coventry...
    It's what has caused so many grads to have really poor jobs, when they actually need to get off facebook and go and get some experience
    That is why ex-poly's have always made the most of experience and sandwich degrees, they understand the gap that needs filling. This has been going on since poly's existed and are surprisingly efficient.

    N.B. I am from a 'traditional' uni so not bias in favour of ex-poly's.
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    (Original post by Jelkin)
    I think very, very few people just "walk into" a graduate job. It's tough! I certainly didn't find it easy. I am extremely flattered by what you said ( ), but it sounds like you're quite harsh on yourself. And you probably overestimate others by the sounds of things! A first and extra-currics is an excellent starting point, even though it is obviously not a golden ticket. I think learning how to sell yourself/your experiences on forms and in person is key. I still remember a uni interview where the interviewer said, "I see you've reached a high standard on the piano," and for some reason I denied it and totally played it down! I later learnt quite a lot from a uni friend of mine who was great at making himself sound awesome, and also from being involved in student politics/making campaign speeches as part of that.

    Try not to do yourself down. If you're on track for a first then you're obviously very smart! You just need to focus on what your positive qualities are and how you can present them on a form. The reason employers like good grades and extra-currics is because they are evidence of certain qualities - if you can persuade them you've got the qualities by the way you present yourself, that's half the battle - the other half is being really well-researched and showing you have genuine enthusiasm for the job.

    And if it takes you a few years to really pin down something you enjoy (I was applying to things for two years before I got my job), that's not the end of the world; might feel pretty crappy at the time, but in the end, a career is a long thing - fifty years for our generation by the sounds of things! - and a few years to get into something you like isn't so terrible.

    EDIT: Maybe you should look into actuarial work. If you go to the profession website (actuaries.org.uk), in the Students section there are some example exam papers. I am taking three exams this session and only one of them is particularly related to A level stats - then one is finance and financial reporting, so it's way wordier, and the other is financial maths, which I really enjoy.
    Thanks for the great post. I've been told I do put/ play myself down a lot because I have this mentality where if I've seen someone else do something great, I wonder 'why can't I do that too?'. I think its certainly an area I can improve on.

    I did start looking at some actuarial exams and a lot of the stuff in CT exams is stuff I've already dabbed into, although the actuarial stuff seems more number crunchy rather than theory which is a change. Or at least CT1 definitely is! I just looked over the syllabi (is that really the plural?) and I noticed a lot of overlap between ct3, ct4, ct8 and my degree.

    Obviously the hardest part is balancing work with study. How do companies normally help with that? Revision classes and tutors? And would I need to sit any SA/ST exams or are they purely optional? Not looking forward to 26 exams...!
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    (Original post by wanderlust.xx)
    Thanks for the great post. I've been told I do put/ play myself down a lot because I have this mentality where if I've seen someone else do something great, I wonder 'why can't I do that too?'. I think its certainly an area I can improve on.

    I did start looking at some actuarial exams and a lot of the stuff in CT exams is stuff I've already dabbed into, although the actuarial stuff seems more number crunchy rather than theory which is a change. Or at least CT1 definitely is! I just looked over the syllabi (is that really the plural?) and I noticed a lot of overlap between ct3, ct4, ct8 and my degree.

    Obviously the hardest part is balancing work with study. How do companies normally help with that? Revision classes and tutors? And would I need to sit any SA/ST exams or are they purely optional? Not looking forward to 26 exams...!
    Syllabi definitely the plural, even if my spellcheck disagrees:p:

    All the CTs, CAs, 2 of the STs, 1 SA to qualify. Most places let you have some time off for study, and pay for study material and stuff. Easiest to check with particular employers though. Or looking at the website(google 'The Actuarial Profession') might have some more info I think.
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    Although there are a lot of negatives in this thread, I think there is some valuable information we can learn from it. What I have learned from this is that not only is University a time for study and getting your degree among other things...it is also the time to seek out experience in relevant fields and try to make contacts. If you can get a decent degree with relevant experience and contacts, then you should have a better chance at employment compared to just getting the degree.

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