Job Hunting: Expectations v Reality

Friday 1 August 2014

Technically I'm still a student (until November), but I might as well be a graduate now. My dissertation is all I have left work wise, and I haven't had classes/assessments since the beginning of May - I have also been a graduate before, so I know what I'm talking about when it comes to this particular subject! Finishing your degree, which has been such a huge part of your life, and starting the job hunt is not exactly the most fun you'll ever have. I've read a few brilliant ''unemployed graduate'' blogposts recently (check out the lovely Laura's posts here!) and it inspired me to write one of my own! So here, in no particular order, are six things that happen when you are a job hunting graduate, followed up with a healthy dose of motivational advice!

The Application Process

Expectation - It's another day. As you click that "refresh search button" on the various job listing sites, your brain whispers "today there will be a well paid job in my desired location, with a job description that reads like a transcript of my CV".

Reality - There is never a well paid job in your desired location with a job description that reads like a transcript of your CV. Unless you have the money to move to London, pickings are slim. The jobs listed are also exactly the same ones you trawled through yesterday.

The Follow Up Process:

Expectation - You apply for a job, and clear your schedule for the following week to free up time for your interview!

Reality - You become concerned that your inbox might not be working properly, given that you applied for several jobs over the past couple of weeks and not one of them has so much as sent you a rejection email.


Expectation - Well, at least with all this free time you can get into a good new exercise regime, try out that sport or exercise class you've always wanted, and finally start your new career with a healthier lifestyle. All that time spent hunched over a computer in the library wasn't good for your body.

Reality - The cheapest Yoga class you can find is £6 a session. You do not have a job. Yoga will have to wait.

Rediscovering old passions:

Expectation - Again, with all this free time on your hands, you'll FINALLY get around to reading all those classic works of literature that have been on your to-read list since the dawn of time. After months (possibly years) of only having time to read books for uni, this will be bliss.

Reality - You will lose several days of your life to a Netflix binge, but at least you can join in with the water-cooler chat (in that job that surely is just around the corner) now that you know what's been going on in Orange is the New Black. And The Office. And House of Cards...

Sleeping Pattern:

Expectation - You will get up bright and early and be incredibly productive, and unlike while you were working on your assessments and life felt a bit too much like Groundhog Day, each day has the potential to be new, different and exciting.

Reality - You will sleep in, having contemplated getting up when your alarm went off at 8am, but deciding that the excitement of searching through the same lists of jobs you looked through yesterday and the day before, and checking your inbox for the non-existent acknowledgement of your previous applications can probably wait a couple of hours. This then results in your entire concept of time becoming distorted and your view of what ''late at night'' actually is shifting. Your Facebook chat list at 2am is indicative of who is in a similar situation in their life.

Social Life

Expectation - Finally you will stop boring your friends with your incessant uni related chat, hooray!

Reality - You will yearn for the days when you could at least debrief with your friends about what happened in today's seminar, because some of them have actual jobs to talk about. You also suddenly find yourself with an unexpected vendetta against anyone (even your closest family and friends who you love dearly) who got a job straight out of uni and didn't have to endure this horrific limbo, because they will never understand this soul destroying process.

Obviously the above is a jokey way of dealing with it, but the fact of the matter is that job hunting really can be a soul destroying process. It's incredibly difficult not to get frustrated when you don't get as much as a "thanks for your application, but we've gone with another candidate", never mind an interview 95% of the time - it's nothing personal, it's just that when a company gets 400 applications for one position, they're unlikely to have time to respond to every last applicant. When you've worked hard to get to the point of graduating, it's easy to attempt to block out what happens afterwards - I know I did the first time around. Having been here before, I know how rubbish it is. You start to feel like you're letting yourself and people around you down, despite the fact you've just worked your ass off for your degree. You panic about when on earth you're ever going to manage to be a "proper grown up". Friends who have already moved out of home and are working full time tell you it's not always all it's cracked up to be, and while you know that is probably true, the desire to feel like you're moving forward in your life is overpowering.

The only thing you can do, as difficult as it is, is try to stay positive. Find things to do that improve your day - I'm vlogging all the time at the moment, because not only is it something I really love to do, but it makes me feel productive. Editing my videos, finding new little tricks to use with iMovie, and improving my skills with that makes me happy. So whether it's a blog, YouTube videos, or something completely unrelated, find something to keep you motivated. Also, spend time with your friends. I know I mentioned the green eyed monster that can arise when you are out and about with people who are already employed, but shutting yourself off from people won't make this process any easier! So go out and have a cheap drink and a chat with your pals - it makes the world of difference!

And finally, don't give up. Keep on applying, and something will eventually come along, as hard as that is to believe sometimes. It might take longer than you were hoping for - in fact, that's pretty much a definite - but it will. It might not be your dream job, but it's a start, and a stepping stone to something bigger and better. One day you'll look back on this horrible time and realise that in a weird way it made you stronger. It will make you really, truly appreciate it when you get a job and feel like a valued employee. Or who knows, over this time you might come up with a business idea of your own!

So chin up graduates, we're all in the same boat and while it's easy to see each other as competition, we should try to rejoice when someone actually succeeds in getting a job - it means there's hope for the rest of us yet!

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Images sourced on pinterest: one, two, three four


  1. Thank you so much - this post is just what I needed to read today!

    Hannah xx

  2. Haha this is great. I'm only looking for part time but there seems to be nothing. I have the grades to become a doctor and two years experience in a sales assistant role and still no replies! Go figure. Hope you hear back soon!
    Water Painted Dreams xo

  3. Great post! I have been applying every so often since graduation but its a bit daunting and there are so many people going for one job or even one short internship! x

    Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness x

  4. Awh thank you so much! So happy to hear I inspired you. Love this post, everything is so true! xoxo