I was your typical graduate. Good marks, decent university and some experience in my chosen field, I thought that landing a graduate position would be a piece of cake. Imagine the shock when, after months of searching, I was still without a job.
Recent research has shown that the period after university can be a pretty tough one for young adults, especially those (like me) who have never before experienced a slack job market. Youth unemployment is now at 17.3% nationally, a fact smoothed over by the general national rate of unemployment at 5.2%.
That’s a significant proportion of our population, and a fact that needs some serious attention at a government level. But what advice can we give to recent graduates, experiencing unemployment for the first time? Here are some thoughts.
The kneejerk response is to feel that we’re not educated enough. If we just had an extra degree, perhaps finding a job wouldn’t be as difficult. I’m never going to be someone who dissuades from further education, if that’s what you want to do. But if the reason for more education is solely to improve your job prospects, consider your other options. Internships are an incredible opportunity, providing the experience employers are working for and an opportunity to start networking within your industry. The downside is, of course, that often these are unpaid.
If you can find one with some financial recompense, you’ve done very well. If not, perhaps consider investing your time (instead of investing your money in more degrees) and working part-time to cover the bills. You would be amazed at how often experience counts when it comes to looking for the perfect job. There are also ways to make your part-time job work for you- let people know what you’re working towards.
They might be connected to the field, or interested in working with you once you’re established.
Foot In The Door
Glamourous jobs are not the easiest to come by, no matter what amazing ideas we have before we hit the job market. Most people I graduated with are now working in amazing jobs, from the film industry to marketing high-end wine glasses. Some have worked in remote communities, entered the public service, or are working in disabled care.
None of them waltzed into the job straight after university. For most people, it’s still a case of starting at the bottom and working our way up. It’s worthwhile considering that, whatever the job, lots of people applied for it and a lot of people didn’t get it, so there is probably something you can learn from it.
Think Outside The Box
While we might all want to work in high rise, after graduation, the two things you want is a job with advancement opportunities and a job that will allow you to gain valuable skills. So it’s worth thinking outside of the box when it comes to your working life.
While youth unemployment is huge nationally, there a big gaps in the outback where there are great working opportunities, that are well-paid. You’ll gain working experience it might take years to accrue working in the cities, and you’ll have an amazing life experience to boot.