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The biggest lessons you learn are actually after graduating.

Our Copywriter, Rhea, reflects on her journey and biggest lessons since graduating.

 

Graduating last summer and only very recently getting a job has meant I’ve been through a rollercoaster of emotions the last few months. Something I wasn’t anywhere near prepared for…

 

So, I wanted to talk about postgrad sadness and things I wish I knew as a new grad.

 

First things first: celebrate! Many of us go through life not praising ourselves for things we’ve worked really hard for, more often than not we set big accomplishments as standards rather than standalone moments of success. You’ve achieved something amazing and all the people you love are so proud of you- you should be too!

 

Graduating without a set plan of what’s to follow can be daunting. This is probably the first time in your life that you are not being dictated by education. Everyone seems to have it figured out whether they’re about to start a coveted summer internship, have a graduate placement starting in September or are setting off for an extended period of travelling. But when you’re unsure of what job you’d actually want to take or not sure what your industry has to offer in terms of a role, it’s hard to know what path to follow, or even if there is a path to follow. Often it can feel like you’re the only one stuck in this limbo… but, although it can be hard to believe, you’re not alone. Be patient with yourself and trust your journey.

 

In terms of the actual job hunting, it isn’t any easier. Applications seem to be getting longer, with tasks and even more interviews, yet the feedback seems to lessen. Rejections seem to linger, and nearly everything is automated so there’s not much opportunity to ask for reasons for the rejection. I felt overwhelmed by job hunting, and constantly writing cover letters. Now, I truly feel that every job search is specific to the individual but even more dependent on the industry you want to break into. For me personally, I was trying to get into the creative industry- a sector that is obsessed with having connections and ties, something I didn’t have. It seems that every job, even those labelled as entry or graduate, requires experience which starts a vicious cycle. In the UK, about 900,000 students complete their undergraduate degree each year, so suddenly having a degree is the norm so the competition seems fiercer than ever, but don’t panic! Keep upskilling in any way you can, applying to jobs and remember that you also have something unique to offer. Something valuable I wish someone had told me about earlier is volunteer experience.

 

Four months into my job search, I discovered a volunteer opportunity to be a contributing writer for a magazine. I applied, and the editor liked my work, so I started working for them. Not only did this give me work to add to my portfolio, but also some exposure and scenarios to speak about when I did get interviews. I also posted an article on LinkedIn, which led me to even more opportunities! Volunteer experience shows initiative and dedication, so don’t rule it out, instead seek it out.

 

As you may have already heard, LinkedIn is a great tool for job seeking. It was in my final year at university that I finally decided to join LinkedIn. I was initially really overwhelmed by the app. I didn’t understand what it was really used for and how to use it. But through friends, and actually going through the app and spending some time on it, I came to understand its importance! It is a really helpful tool for learning more about your industry, roles and obviously for finding jobs. Earlier this year, I started looking at the profiles of employees who worked at some of my favourite companies. For example, I found a senior copywriter who works at Lego, which to a Lego enthusiast like me, was incredible! I messaged him asking for tips and to gain some insight into his role and he got back to me with some great advice! I didn’t even know how creative copywriting would align with a role at Lego, but our conversation opened that door for me. Cold messaging isn’t always successful, but on some occasions, a reply is really helpful, so don’t shy away from it. LinkedIn is also great for showcasing achievements and qualifications and just updating your professional life.

 

Often when job-hunting, you’ll see friends and university coursemates getting jobs and you’ll start comparing your situation to theirs. First things first, you don’t know anything about their job search and how they’ve found the process so try and stop yourself from romanticising their situation and secondly, celebrate their wins! By comparing your journey to others, you subconsciously set up expectations and deadlines for yourself, which only takes away your patience and makes you frustrated with your situation. Remain patient, determined and positive and you’ll get there!

 

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, enjoy this time! I really struggled with being present and simply savouring the fact that I had nothing to do, I was way too immersed in getting to ‘the next stage’. Do things you wouldn’t normally do, plan day trips and lean into hobbies. Assign time to job hunting, but after those hours put your focus on other things. This is the first time in your life that you’re truly free- take it with two hands!


Email me at rheamtrrchh@gmail.com for any more tips or support! 


 


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