‘Post-Graduate Fear’: Putting yourself out there

bath camera

Don’t panic, this isn’t another lecture from your Nan about needing to get yourself a boyfriend/girlfriend. If your Nan’s most frequently asked question isn’t, “when are you going to bring someone round to visit me?” is she really your Nan? Nope, it’s worse than that. I’m talking about applying for graduate jobs and making yourself known in the ‘real world’. 

As mentioned in my previous article, I’m a journalism undergraduate who has the post-graduation fear. So here are some tips for my fellow BAMMJ’s, and other media & communication faculty students, about how you can bag yourself a graduate job.

Make contact with your favourite writers/companies!

That’s right people, sliding into the DM’s can actually work in your favour in this instance. Who’d have thought?! Aside from some companies such as the BBC and ITV, where going through the formal application process is mandatory, for most other companies, messaging your favourite writer on Instagram or Twitter and complimenting them on a recent article of their’s might just be your ticket in. (True story.) Building up a rapport with someone on the inside, could prove vital at future job interviews.

Image of Instagram DM with Cosmopolitan writer

Actually putting yourself in the running…

Look don’t lie to me. We’ve all been there. Your course mates are all getting job interviews for amazing roles and you can’t help but feel annoyed and a bit betrayed. Why are people applying for jobs so early on? We didn’t agree on this? But can you really be annoyed if you haven’t actually applied for any jobs yourself?

If you don’t put yourself in the running then you definitely don’t have a chance. So do it. Even if the job description sounds way out of reach and way beyond the realms of your qualifications, if you can show that you’re passionate about it and are willing to learn, then you have as good a chance as anyone.

W O R K   E X P E R I E N C E

This is probably the most important point in this whole article. After three years at university, I have only recently had this vital epiphany. Nine times out of ten, employers are more impressed with experience than they are a top-grade degree. If you can prove that you’ve got experience on your own accord, in the area that you’re passionate about, that often impresses an employer a lot more than a first-class degree with no experience does. Apply to everything you can and utilise the contacts you make!

Picture at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Extra-curricular activities

You’ve just finished a nine till four day, with no breaks, and the thought of cheer practice or rugby training is making you want to cry. You’re absolutely shattered and you really C B A. However, all of these hours that you invest in interests and activities outside of your degree could actually benefit you massively in a job interview. Employers don’t just look at grades, they want to see what sort of person you are and what interests you have. If you can show that you can juggle a degree, with being part of a sports club or having a part-time job, you’re demonstrating excellent time management skills and flexibility.

Picture from student shop social

Of course doing extra-curricular things that relate to your degree is beneficial too! For example, being a journalism student, I decided to join Nerve Radio and write for Nerve online/magazine (as you can see.) This allows me to talk and write about things that really interest me, that perhaps don’t fit an assignment brief.

Kerry and Claudia's Breakfast Show on Nerve Radio

Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and follow EVERYONE (even your lecturers)

I feel hypocritical even writing this…

Often when it comes to applying for graduate jobs you can just click on a button which links employers to your LinkedIn page. So if your most recent job still says ‘pot washer at a local pub’ and your last qualifications are the 9 A*-C GCSE’s you achieved, Sky might not employ you…

Make sure you keep your profile up to date with the latest work experience you’ve undertaken and post any grades or feedback that you have received from lectures or industry professionals to boost your credibility.

I know, it’s against our human nature to talk highly of ourselves, or show off our successes, that’s what our parents do. But if you don’t do it, who will?

Also, follow your lecturers! They’ve spent at least three years with you and know you better than some of your relatives do! And unless you’ve been living under a rock or have tried to get them sacked from their job, they’re probably going to give you a glowing character reference. They can also act as your little black book in terms of contact details for former graduates who are now industry professionals.

Let’s face it, in the future if you see someone from your old university, you’re going to give them a chance. It’s like helping an old friend out.

And finally… Don’t be a d***

I mean I feel like I’m stating the obvious here… Be nice to the people on your course! After all, they could be the ones interviewing you for your dream job a few years down the line. It could be the difference between being able to pay your ludicrous monthly rent for your box room in Clapham, and not.

So put yourself out there, get that experience and show off your assets wherever you can! It might not dissolve the post-graduate fear completely, but no one can say you’re not trying!