Coming home after more than 4 months of travelling and being back on the job hunt has been a bit of an abrupt reintroduction to reality. Let’s be honest, writing covering letters and updating CV’s is slightly less exciting than cruising over gigantic salt flats and getting high off adrenaline whilst white water rafting. I do have a temporary job in Belgium, but job hunting is my most important current occupation, so I figured I would dedicate this Sunday’s Blah to my tactics, frustrations and thoughts while chasing a job in London.
Let me start by saying that I’ve very soon found out that the competition is rather fierce. Yes it is London, and yes I’m looking for jobs in media and communication, but I didn’t expect there to be this many candidates for every entry-level job. For example I applied for two different marketing assistant jobs and the recruiters regretted to inform me that there had been 900 applicants for each job, and I hadn’t made the shortlist. So yes, I’m not the only one looking.
Last time I was looking, I applied for pretty much anything and everything, because the sooner I found a job, the sooner I’d get enough money together to go travelling. I’m taking a different approach this time, only applying for jobs I actually really want. I’ve also stepped away from the copy-paste covering letter technique and I’m trying to write new, original ones every time. You know, just to avoid the same recruiter getting the same exact letter twice, because that doesn’t really say hardworking if you ask me. To be honest, there are only so many ways to write my accomplishments in life so far down though; I can hardly start making things up (or can I? I jest, I jest).
There’s something else I’ve introduced in this job hunt and that is the spreadsheet. At least now I have an overview of which vacancies I’ve applied for and which ones I yet have to make myself look like an attractive candidate for. How’s that for well organised?
Now for the frustrations. Even though Belgium and England are only a little grey smelly sea apart from each other there seem to be quite a few cultural differences when it comes to the job market. For example, in Belgium it’s pretty standard to put a picture of yourself on your CV, not a photo of yourself with a cocktail on the beach of course, but a fairly professional headshot on there is fine, while in England it seems to be a real no-go. A few recruiters must have raised their eyebrows at my resume and assumed I was a superficial blonde before I realised my lapse and took it off.
Another little nuisance is the good old vicious circle that lack of experience is. No job because you lack experience, no experience because you can’t get a job. That is all good and well but when they tell you, you don’t have enough experience when you’ve applied for an entry-level or graduate job, that makes me wonder what vacancies you are supposed to apply for.
That being said, I can only encourage you dear recruiter, if you are out there, to take a chance on me. Abba knows you should, I know you should, and you know you should.