The Job Seeking Struggles I Experienced After Finishing University

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Angelica Blick

After I graduated last year I felt more than ready to finally find a full-time job and start my career. I could see myself working in some big corporate company with lots of career progression opportunities, fun colleagues and hopefully some business trips here and there.

But the reality could not have been further from the truth. Although I did a very fun internship where I learned a lot, finding a job in my field just didn’t seem to happen. I gave myself a deadline to find a job in London and if I really couldn’t find one, I was planning on moving back to the Netherlands, although I really didn’t want to.

When I finally found a job, it was not in my field and minimum wage, but I wanted to stay in London and this job still could pay my rent. I worked there for 2 months and then found another job in social media for a big Dutch company. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t what I wanted, but again it was a job, the colleagues were fun and I learned a lot.

Now, I finally have a job I love, in a fun company and of course, Career Girl Daily. A year ago everything career-wise seemed a bit hopeless, but if I look back and see how far I have come, I can’t help but to be a little proud of myself.

With my extra curricula, the experience of studying in different countries, a bachelor’s degree and a master’s I was sure I was the solution that every company I applied for needed. I learned the hard way that almost everyone has extra curricula, has been studying abroad, often has more experience than I do and no company is really waiting for an arrogant graduate. The competition is though, everyone is working hard and there is always someone more experienced than you. I had to drop my attitude and get my feet back on the ground in order to be realistic and step up my game.

Next to my arrogance, I was also really insecure at the same time. I gave myself a deadline that I needed to find a job before December, I was almost running out of savings and didn’t want my parents to have to 100% support me financially. All of a sudden I wasn’t sure if I ever was going to get a job I really wanted. I had to get off my pink cloud, be realistic and step up my game. Choosing to find my niche (applying for Dutch jobs in London) and networking, really helped me out a lot. It seemed a lot easier with less competition to find a relevant job in that field. Finding your niche and speciality can be very important when you try to find a nice job in your field.

One thing I learned is that there are always people with more experience than you. It felt like, in my field, it didn’t really matter what studies you did or how good your grades were, if someone never went to university but did loads of relevant internships they were more likely to get hired. I realized that starting at the ‘bottom’ to gain a little experience and build it up from there was probably the best route to take.

And then there is being over-qualified. I had 2 interviews at companies where I really wanted to work where I got the question ‘Why do you want this job, you seem over-qualified and probably will be bored at this job’. I always tried to convince them that this was the job I wanted in the company I wanted, but, unfortunately, did not get either of them. For most people being over-qualified and at the same time having too little experience seems to be the biggest problem after university. My advice would be, take any job you are able to take, you never know who you’ll meet there or what the possibilities within this company are. Building up your network and staying busy is probably the most important thing in this period in order to avoid CV gaps and become passive. It might be hard if you are in this situation right now, but it will get better and believe me, a year from now you will look back and be very proud of yourself and how far you have come.

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5 Comments
  1. Love this post! I graduated from university two months ago and haven’t found a job yet. Some days it’s hard not to get disheartened, and I have certainly re-evaluated my job search goals a couple times, so this post was just what I needed at the moment! Thanks for writing it :) xx

  2. This post resonates with me in so many ways. I graduated from Central St. Martin’s with a degree in graphic design and illustration major just as the economy took a turn for the worse and recession hit, hard. Worst timing ever, and also with qualifications not especially practical. At first I enjoyed a short bit of good luck with finding freelance design work, but eventually the path became clear – ENTREPRENEURSHIP. If the job you want doesn’t exist, or you can’t get the job you want – create that job. I wish someone had told me from the get go that the only real way to be successful in an over-saturated job market was to find a problem that hasn’t yet had a solution, and BE that solution.

    5 years on, and I’m enjoying being a lifestyle blogger and vintage boutique owner – I even find the time for freelance illustration, and all three jobs keep me very comfortable indeed! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

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