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    This might turn into a ramble, if it does I'm sorry in advance but I'm at the end of my tether right now because a year after graduating I still can't find a proper job. I live at home and right now can't even contribute any rent, having lost all my work over summer.

    I have GCSEs and A-levels at A and A*, a languages degree (2.1), and other experience such as:

    - A year abroad working in a school as part of my degree
    - A 9 month leadership programme
    - Running my own campaign / project
    - Volunteering at uni
    - A graduate award (given for extra-curricular activities)
    - 2 part time jobs at uni (note taking and bar work, zero hours)
    - Other bits and pieces like writing a report for Unite the union
    - About to start a part-time Masters
    - All voluntary, unpaid, or zero hour / temp contracts

    As I'm about to start an MA and I've just registered, I can't sign on to get unemployment benefits so I currently have about £9 total to my name and no way of knowing when I'll get any more money.

    I rarely get invited to interviews and when I do I've obviously never been offered the job. I've carried on being a note taker on a zero hour contract for the past year. What I really want is to work in either the public or charity sector

    I don't want to sound like a whinging person who thinks they are entitled to a good job but as you can see above I have worked so hard, mostly for free, to develop skills and gain experience. I really don't know what else I can do. There's only so long I can keep on doing work for free!

    What I really want to know is - looking at this list, what is missing? What can I do to improve my chances? Is there a course or qualification I could really do with?

    Any help or advice would be amazing. Also if anyone is in a similar situation it would be great to chat just for mutual support.

    TLDR: I can't find a job what do I do
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    When you are applying, are you making it obvious that you are going on to do a part-time masters?

    Have you had anyone look over your CV or an application form?


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    You just have to get some honest advice.
    Somewhere alomng the line:

    1. Your job search isnt good enough. Wrong areas, wrong jobs, wrong criteria.
    2. Your applications arent good enough- poor researchm poor letters or forms.
    3. Your interew skills arent good enough.- you need to maimise your conversion chances.
    4. You are not trying hard enough.
    5. You have been unlucky.

    You cna always improve on 1-4.

    You need a plan that considers all the above and to strat targeting what skills you have and what you wish to do.
    You should probably be doing some job just to get by or vol work, so when interviewed or applying you can be shown to be doing something

    Other than all the above, then you just need to persevere and keep creating opportunities plus being ready for when they arise.

    Just make the most of it. It might feel rubbish, but you havent lost a limb and dont have a terminal illness, so you just have to deal with it.
    Its a bit more restrictive now as you have decided to go back to education. So does it boil down to you needing a temp job for 2-3 months?

    Hang in there.
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    The public sector is elitist and has very few openings. You need to apply for jobs in every industry in which you are qualified to work (yes, this includes those admin and retail jobs that you think you are too good for).

    Plus, your "experience list" is probably a little under-par. No involvement in societies? Weren't a student rep? No summer internships? No awards for academic achievement? A significant proportion of candidates have all of this.

    What uni did you do your undergrad at and where are you doing your Masters?

    You need to ensure that you are always in a position where you are undertaking work, whether this be paid or unpaid, so that there are no gaps in your CV. I say you get yourself down to a charity shop immediately, rather than moaning on the internet. Chop chop.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    When you are applying, are you making it obvious that you are going on to do a part-time masters?

    Have you had anyone look over your CV or an application form?


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    Yeah, I put the Masters on my CV and I explain when talking about why I'm applying for the role that I will be doing a part-time MA. I also only apply for jobs which are 20-35 hours per week rather than full time - particularly those with flexible hours. I've had people look over my CV and they've all said it's great. I occasionally have people proof read my application forms but not always. I do too many to get each one proof read! But I should probably do that more. To be honest my success rate at interviews is what worries me the most and you can't really get someone to proof read an interview :/ maybe just more practice and perseverance is what's needed.

    However, in the interviews where I've had feedback they've said that I essentially 'passed' the interview but it went to someone 'more suited to the role' or 'with more experience'. So I don't really know how to read that in terms of my own improvement?


    (Original post by 999tigger)
    You just have to get some honest advice.
    Somewhere alomng the line:

    1. Your job search isnt good enough. Wrong areas, wrong jobs, wrong criteria.
    2. Your applications arent good enough- poor researchm poor letters or forms.
    3. Your interew skills arent good enough.- you need to maimise your conversion chances.
    4. You are not trying hard enough.
    5. You have been unlucky.

    You cna always improve on 1-4.

    You need a plan that considers all the above and to strat targeting what skills you have and what you wish to do.
    You should probably be doing some job just to get by or vol work, so when interviewed or applying you can be shown to be doing something

    Other than all the above, then you just need to persevere and keep creating opportunities plus being ready for when they arise.

    Just make the most of it. It might feel rubbish, but you havent lost a limb and dont have a terminal illness, so you just have to deal with it.
    Its a bit more restrictive now as you have decided to go back to education. So does it boil down to you needing a temp job for 2-3 months?

    Hang in there.
    Thanks I think I am basically doing all of the above. I'm never doing nothing! I could probably research roles more - the more desperate I become the more I take a scatter gun approach. Next time I find a role I like I think I will really take a very long time over it. But yeah - remembering I still have my health and I'm not about to die helps!!

    I am looking for a permanent role with almost full time hours. My MA is part time and will be about 4 hours of contact time a week - I will need to factor in some study time too. I'm looking for roles with anything from 20 - 35 hours a week. I've spoken to a lot of people who have done 37 hours but I don't think I could manage that. But anyway - I'm applying for roles with the appropriate amount of hours...
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    (Original post by stevey396)
    The public sector is elitist and has very few openings. You need to apply for jobs in every industry in which you are qualified to work (yes, this includes those admin and retail jobs that you think you are too good for).

    Plus, your "experience list" is probably a little under-par. No involvement in societies? Weren't a student rep? No summer internships? No awards for academic achievement? A significant proportion of candidates have all of this.

    What uni did you do your undergrad at and where are you doing your Masters?

    You need to ensure that you are always in a position where you are undertaking work, whether this be paid or unpaid, so that there are no gaps in your CV. I say you get yourself down to a charity shop immediately, rather than moaning on the internet. Chop chop.
    Hmm. The public sector is very hard. I've tried to apply for a lot of retail jobs but I actually quite often get the feedback that they don't want graduates. The retail interviews I've had have often had questions like why do you want this role if you are a graduate. I think they often wonder if you're going to stick around. I could leave it off my CV but then I'd have to explain what I did for those 4 years.

    Admin jobs, that is the main thing I am applying for right now - that and Support Worker roles.

    As for my experience list there are gaps - I was part of my department society but there is nothing interesting regarding that which I can talk about. The best 'society' experience I have was volunteering - that was done through uni. I wish I had won an academic award but there were only about 3 to get in the whole department and I wasn't quite good enough. Like I said, I do have the graduate award so I was given something from uni other than just the degree.

    My unis are Sheffield and Birmingham, so not the best but not rubbish ones either.

    Also regarding CV gaps I don't have any - I'm constantly busy at the moment running my project in Birmingham. I don't get paid but it's free as we were awarded funding. I'm also technically employed but it is a zero hour contract and they don't have hours for me. It at least means there aren't gaps when you read my CV though.

    I know this is a slightly defensive reply and I totally agree with you that there are more things I could have to talk about which other graduates do have - but I hope you can see that I'm not just someone who went through school college and uni thinking that was all I needed and that there was a job waiting for me at the end - I've got involved in lots of other things so that's why it is so frustrating.

    As others have said, it's probably a case of me needing to find the 'right' role - broaden my search a little and hope for some luck, also to improve on my applications and how well I do in interviews
    • Very Important Poster
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    Its a balance between quantity and quality. You cna do all of the above better then just be patient and it will break for you.

    Are you looking on specialist charity sites or publications?
    Are you doing vol work in the sector?

    I would hide your MA for now and focus on the job as it limits severely what you cna apply for.
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    (Original post by 999tigger)
    Its a balance between quantity and quality. You cna do all of the above better then just be patient and it will break for you.

    Are you looking on specialist charity sites or publications?
    Are you doing vol work in the sector?

    I would hide your MA for now and focus on the job as it limits severely what you cna apply for.
    I'm using wmjobs, civil service website, Birmingham City Council website, charity-jobs... those are my main ones!! I also occasionally search directly on employers' websites like if I think of charities I am particularly interested in. Do you know of any others?

    I am also applying for voluntary roles, but I'm still spending my time on my social project which is totally voluntary although obviously not for a known registered charity. We do collaborate with well-known projects in Birmingham though. So I am spending my time doing useful things.

    I have been a bit torn over whether to state that I'm doing an MA. I'm only applying for 20 hour to 35 hour roles, not full time ones. So I would have thought the employer might assume you have other things going on too. But perhaps I should leave it out anyway in case they think I'm not committed to the role?
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    I've had 8 months paid work in the two years since graduating. :bricks:
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    (Original post by abc:))

    Admin jobs, that is the main thing I am applying for right now - that and Support Worker roles.
    For admin jobs, have you registered with agencies? Thats how I got my first office role.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    I've had 8 months paid work in the two years since graduating. :bricks:
    I feel your pain. What kind of degree did you do? And what kind of work are you looking for?

    (Original post by Boreism)
    For admin jobs, have you registered with agencies? Thats how I got my first office role.
    I am registered with some yes but I under use them. Which agency did you get your office role through, would you recommend them?
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    (Original post by abc:))
    I am registered with some yes but I under use them. Which agency did you get your office role through, would you recommend them?
    I used Brook Street but the Walsall branch as thats my local one. They're really good and once you've been in your temp job for 3 months providing you're still there, your wage will increase. My first assignment (temp job) with them was initially for 8.00 ph and increased to 9.50 ph and the second (and the last) was 9.00 ph but then increased to 11.00 ph.

    Also your contract could be extended if the employer thinks you've worked hard enough to last longer - thats what happened to me. I strongly advise you to make use of agencies. Obviously not all agencies are good, but it will give you a good first step.
    Temp work was definitely worth it for me as it helped me find a permanent position elsewhere last year (I'm still in that job as of today).

    I don't live far from Birmingham, but want to advise you to be aware that most Office Administration jobs require previous experience that can range from 2 years at a minimum.

    I was very lucky as I didn't have any previous office experience since graduation but if Brook Street hadn't emailed me about temp work they had available I would have had a lot of trouble finding a permanent job!
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    Apply for jobs in retail ...
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    (Original post by fefssdf)
    Apply for jobs in retail ...
    If you read in one of OP's posts you wouldn't be giving this useless answer.
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    (Original post by Boreism)
    I used Brook Street but the Walsall branch as thats my local one. They're really good and once you've been in your temp job for 3 months providing you're still there, your wage will increase. My first assignment (temp job) with them was initially for 8.00 ph and increased to 9.50 ph and the second (and the last) was 9.00 ph but then increased to 11.00 ph.

    Also your contract could be extended if the employer thinks you've worked hard enough to last longer - thats what happened to me. I strongly advise you to make use of agencies. Obviously not all agencies are good, but it will give you a good first step.
    Temp work was definitely worth it for me as it helped me find a permanent position elsewhere last year (I'm still in that job as of today).

    I don't live far from Birmingham, but want to advise you to be aware that most Office Administration jobs require previous experience that can range from 2 years at a minimum.

    I was very lucky as I didn't have any previous office experience since graduation but if Brook Street hadn't emailed me about temp work they had available I would have had a lot of trouble finding a permanent job!
    Amazing, not tried them but just emailed about an audio-typist job. Thanks!
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    what did you study mate and from where? have you thought about applying further out and moving out? I know it's probably not the best in terms of finances but the experience will do you well.
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    I've worked for local authorities and charities.

    Who you know is the most important thing. THE MOST IMPORTANT. I'd get some networking done. Attend events, get in touch with people, go to conferences, local meetings, etc, etc. It's all about breaking into the circle. It's surprising how important and how far you can get by knowing the right people, especially in the public and charity sector. You stand much more of a chance if you know people, especially service managers, local councillors, area support workers, etc. Also don't underestimate how far knowing and having a relationship with Parish Councillors can get you.

    Yeah there's Linkedin, but what gets you further is just getting out there. A hell of a lot of people in the public and charity sector don't use Linkedin.

    Community Galas are a goldmine too. Go to these, network and have fun also. Don't dress too formal.


    Beware of job agencies by the way. It's like the Wild West out there

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    (Original post by fefssdf)
    Apply for jobs in retail ...
    Yeah like I said before these are ones I've had repeated failures in, because of my degree. They always ask why I am applying if I am a graduate and seem to think I won't stick around. I could leave my degree off my application but I wouldn't be able to fill the whole of those 4 years as I was only working for some of it and my voluntary work was completely within university.
    I had an interview at Boots which I know went really well and received really good feedback at the end - he said I had done perfectly. He had, however, asked me about my degree and queried why I want to do retail. He'd addressed the fact that a lot of graduates don't stick around. I then was notified that the job went to someone 'more suited to the role'.

    So yeah - a lot of people assume that graduates avoid those jobs because they think they are 'too good for them' or whatever but in reality I have decided to focus on other applications because of the 0% success rate I have had at retail jobs. The same goes for catering and hospitality jobs - coffee shops etc. Same problem.

    (Original post by Bill_Gates)
    what did you study mate and from where? have you thought about applying further out and moving out? I know it's probably not the best in terms of finances but the experience will do you well.
    Spanish and Portuguese at Sheffield. I want to move out literally ASAP. I'll be studying at Bham uni part time soon so all the jobs I'm looking for are in the Midlands, can't really go further afield. But yeah as soon as I can move out I will. Thing is at the moment I have £9 to my name, not exaggerating so yeah it's not an option.
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    (Original post by abc:))
    Yeah like I said before these are ones I've had repeated failures in, because of my degree. They always ask why I am applying if I am a graduate and seem to think I won't stick around. I could leave my degree off my application but I wouldn't be able to fill the whole of those 4 years as I was only working for some of it and my voluntary work was completely within university.
    I had an interview at Boots which I know went really well and received really good feedback at the end - he said I had done perfectly. He had, however, asked me about my degree and queried why I want to do retail. He'd addressed the fact that a lot of graduates don't stick around. I then was notified that the job went to someone 'more suited to the role'.

    So yeah - a lot of people assume that graduates avoid those jobs because they think they are 'too good for them' or whatever but in reality I have decided to focus on other applications because of the 0% success rate I have had at retail jobs. The same goes for catering and hospitality jobs - coffee shops etc. Same problem.



    Spanish and Portuguese at Sheffield. I want to move out literally ASAP. I'll be studying at Bham uni part time soon so all the jobs I'm looking for are in the Midlands, can't really go further afield. But yeah as soon as I can move out I will. Thing is at the moment I have £9 to my name, not exaggerating so yeah it's not an option.
    If you're a graduate then how about considering tutorting ? You could do alevel language tuition for example ? The pay is good !
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    (Original post by abc:))
    I had an interview at Boots which I know went really well and received really good feedback at the end - he said I had done perfectly. He had, however, asked me about my degree and queried why I want to do retail. He'd addressed the fact that a lot of graduates don't stick around. I then was notified that the job went to someone 'more suited to the role'.

    So yeah - a lot of people assume that graduates avoid those jobs because they think they are 'too good for them' or whatever but in reality I have decided to focus on other applications because of the 0% success rate I have had at retail jobs. The same goes for catering and hospitality jobs - coffee shops etc. Same problem.
    Yeah, i never had much success with the retail industry either. Retail managers fear hiring young people with degrees and postgrad qualifications because they know that for a lot of young grads these jobs are simply short term and that there's a lot of networking / job searching happening behind the scenes. Plus in my experience a lot of managers fear some grad coming in telling them how to manage and what they're doing wrong. They can sniff that we want to be somewhere else. It sucks i know.

    More suited to the role usually means someone with less education. A lot of people i know working in retail usually have at most a college / Sixth form level education.

    You could try bar / nightclub work if you're outgoing enough?


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