Things to Expect When Applying for Jobs

By Issy Goode - 20:52

I've not even been a graduate for a year yet but I certainly have noticed some of the cons that come out of getting a degree. I was more than ready to finish university when I did, and whilst I'd probably give it a go given the chance to go back, I don't think I'd enjoy it as much the second time round. Whilst I like my life as a graduate now, there's a few little things I thought I'd warn you soon-to-be graduates about - nothing too bad guys, just a heads up of some things to expect when it comes to searching and applying for jobs!
Expect to lower your standards
I think after you stroll up that runway (okay it's just a walkway in a chapel or something) with your cape and sassy graduate hat, it's hard not to walk away and feel like you're an employable individual. You've got a degree, you've got three years of hard work, you've gained valuable skills like being organised and how to polish off a pint in less than 30 seconds, but yet, many of us are still not seen as the hugely successful adults we might hope. People with 2:1 degrees are everywhere these days and a degree doesn't always matter to some employers. I think many of us start looking from the top, with jobs that offer high salaries but ones that we also know we may not quite be qualified for in terms of work experience. I've found that lowering your standards and expectations simply to gain a bit of experience is sometimes an essential move to make. Now, by no means should you stop applying for those higher aspirations, but I think applying for a variety of jobs in the field you're searching in helps you to get a better understanding of what level and salary you're looking at. 

Expect other people in your field to be less 'educationally' qualified than you
It's not going to be the same for everyone as degrees are essential to some jobs, like Pharmacists and Psychologists etc, but not every job does require a degree. In my role for example, I work with two people who also have degrees, and are four years older than me, but I also work with another chap who is 25 too, however, he was kicked out of college and doesn't have an A level to his name. Now, I'm not being remotely judgemental to the people who don't have the educational qualifications, I'm actually asking myself 'Why did I do that degree?'. When you're surrounded by people with varying experience and qualifications who are doing exactly the same job as you, it's hard not to question your reasons for doing a degree in the first place, especially if you're not sure what it is you want to do with your life. Although, I think if you have the drive and motivation you'll see that having a degree still works in your favour in some cases.

Expect to be told you're 'overqualified' 
Like, no, no I'm not. I think in some ways this is an employer saying 'you lack experience in the field but congrats on your degree'. Experience does seem pretty essential in this day and age and I really don't know what people do if they've not had a job prior to or during university. Competency interviews that a lot of employers use are based on previous experiences within work and life, but there's only so many you can think of as examples if you've not had a job. I don't think being overqualified should be a reason to reject someone for a job, there's a lot that goes into getting a degree that I believe helps to build on those other skills, and if we can get through a degree haven't we proved that we can adapt to different environments and work to a standard not previously expected of us?

Also expect to be told you lack experience
As I said above, experience appears to be a pretty essential thing in the working world, thanks for the heads up adults. And it's not just any old willy-nilly experience, they want job specific experience that some graduates aren't likely to have - employers obviously want to know that the person they're hiring will take to the job quickly and be reliable from the outset. The problem is, there's surely only so much experience you can get whilst trying to get a degree? 

I wouldn't let the lack of experience get to you though. Maybe you'll have to go into a role that takes the inexperienced on, but there, that's your experience. It's easy to gather it, even in short courses or short-term jobs - whatever you've got to do to get to where you want to be. 

Expect job rejections
So we aren't as fussy about job rejections at university as we might be when we graduate. The rejections that concern us more at university are things like someone rejecting to give you a kiss or someone rejecting to buy you a pint - such is student life. But in the adult world, it can be rejections galore, especially if you haven't quite thought about lowering your expectations within the job search. 

If you want some advice on staying positive whilst on the job hunt, click here

Expect to need patience and persistence 
If you want something in life, it's not just going to come to you. Persistence is key in everything and whilst all these 'warnings', I suppose you could call them, seem so negative, the reality is, life isn't always peachy. At the same time, patience is also key. Whilst it can be tempting to sometimes throw it all in, the right thing will come along and you'll just need to go out and grab it. People who work at it will get there eventually, for some it takes longer, for others it works out in a flash. Honestly, the key is to not let the rejections, the comments that you're not experienced enough or those that tell you you're too qualified to get you down. It's tough, of course, but believe in yourself and most importantly, take away some knowledge from each rejection or acceptance. 

And finally, expect to learn from each experience
If someone rejected your application, can you understand why? What does your CV lack that would have perhaps helped you convince them you were the right person? Feedback is few and far between these days so don't go wracking your brain too hard for the reasons why if they aren't obvious. Get help if you need it, have someone proofread your CV and maybe get one of those real adults to have a nose over it. 

I don't believe you can keep posting the same CV into the pockets of similar employers and expect to see a positive result. People don't like simple CV hand outs in most cases, they want proof that you've seen their job advert and that you really are the person they need for this role.

So moral of the story, it's likely that you'll need to, at some point, learn from each experience - because how else do we grow?

Best of luck to those graduates still looking for work and all you third years whose deadlines are fast approaching. I'll plan my next post to be a little more on the positive side but I hope you all took something from this!

Hopefully the thing that you took from this wasn't further reassurance that your decision to never grow up was a good idea. 

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  1. Wow, this is very depressing. I totally understand and I'm on the same boat with you. And the companies blame US? I'm calling the companies/corporations to be narcissists (it says so in a list of things what a narcissist does). Narcissist like them pathologically lie, blame others, live in a grandiose life. I'm not believing every single manager for they are those things. THEY are the ones that's making us miserable. So I hope they all go to hell. Not only THAT, if I ever knew who they were, they would be set to my "do not hire list for the company ever".

    1. Aha I feel like I probably shouldn't have shared this now, I've really brought everyone's mood down! Thanks for having a read though :) I think we always end up having a hard attitude to the big companies/corps but I like to stay positive (despite what this post may seem) and keep my fingers crossed that there's some good ones out that! Not sure if that positivity or naivety but we'll see ha!

  2. I had so much trouble trying to get the work I wanted that I took a step back and I've ended up taking a completely different path now, the employment market is pretty hard to navigate at times,
    Loved this post it will be a lifesaver to many!

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

    1. I think many of us do unfortunately but hopefully gaining experience in other areas may eventually lead us to where we want to go! Thanks so much!

  3. Such a great post again Is! I'm lucky enough to have a degree which pretty much led to a job landing at my feet in the UK but when we moved I had to accept a job that I was WAY over qualified for, it was such a learning curve but everything worked out in the end :) You've got to just keep persevering and working hard and it'll all pay off sooner or later!

    Hannah xo

    we are dannah | australian lifestyle blog

    1. Aw thanks so much Hannah! Yeah see I wish I had gone into a degree that leads you directly to a job but unfortunately I just wasn't into anything that applied to that situation. Well Australia is still an adventure and with the new job now hopefully everything will be amazing for you! Exactly, good advice :)

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  4. Absolutely love this post. I'm currently a junior in high school, so this process is going to apply to me soon enough. Definitely going to have to learn how to be patient. That's something I struggle with. Thanks for sharing, Issy! I'm so happy I discovered your blog! X

    1. Thanks so much Guilianna! Awh good luck with everything, I hope it all goes well :) My pleasure, I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it x

  5. This is so relevant to me right now, thank you!!

    Hannie Arden from

  6. Glad you shared this - it's always nice to know there are others in the same boat! I'll be graduating this year and hopefully finding a job for a year before doing a Masters. God i hope I find one...

    Amber Love Blog

    1. Thanks Amber, yeah it's not been easy! It didn't take me long to get a job after graduating but it isn't anything I really want to keep doing.

      Good luck with it!


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