To feel like I'm failing before I've even begun?(12 Posts)
I graduated last year from an excellent university and am currently trying to get my career started. I've known for a while what I want to do (I don't really want to name the career as it's quite specific). I've done work experience in that area and taken (and passed) my first professional exam. I'm currently studying for two more. I have had to do these completely on my own as I can't afford a Master's. Yet I'm still struggling to get my first job and April is my fourth month of looking.
I've had four final round interviews without success. I was told after two of them that I'm overqualified. This career has some admin elements and employers worry that I'll be bored. This is immensely frustrating as I have chosen this career with my eyes open and know that it is right for me. I am often asked at interview why I didn't go to law school - but the answer is that I never wanted to! I have one more opportunity in the pipeline but nothing after that. The industry is completely wrapped up by recruiters. Excellent though they are, it does mean I'm heavily reliant on them for job openings.
I have many things to be thankful for, not least a lucrative and enjoyable part-time job that pays the bills. Having had four final-round interviews I sense it may only be a matter of time until I get an offer - but to be honest, I'm starting to panic. I want this career and am worrying terribly that I just won't get a start in it. Many of my friends are now newly qualified doctors and lawyers and I can't help compare myself unfavourably to them. I feel like I've made a right mess of getting myself started.
I don't really know why I posted this but I just wanted a rant and maybe some support. It's 5am and I feel utterly depressed.
I didn't want to read & run but I don't have any advice. I think you're probably right - if you've got to final round interviews, it may well just be a matter of time. I'm a bit surprised that you get that far & then they say you are over qualified.
I applied for (& got) 3 jobs that I was over-qualified for but I made a point of explaining that although I knew on paper I was over-qualified, that I wanted to learn different skills & that the job was what I needed & wanted to do now... it fit in with my life & I had the skills & experience to do the job well.
Well done on getting so far. I know it's frustrating but you'll get there. Good luck.
Change your recruiting agency and go for a more specialist one. Although it is going to be the chicken-egg syndrome. You wont get the job you want without experience, and that experience is difficult to come by.
Sometime you have to compromise your ideals and work somewhere else to get to where you want to be.
I don't think anyone can afford to be choosy in this economic climate, you take whats out there.
With regard to your MA, everyone I know with an MA did it via OU whilst at work, no one read for it then got a job, they pair were done in conjunction. Frequently they were paid for by the employer.
Sounds tough but presumably you knew it was going to be tough before you started such as it is within a specialised niche.
You said you'd done some experience? Call them, remind them you're looking, ask them if they have any openings or whether they've heard rumblings from competitors. You need to remind them to think of you- give them a little nudge. the world is conquered through personal connections - not anonymous application forms.
Finally, google a website called "ask a manager" Alison somebody - she's absolutely awesome and I'd study her interview techniques well, although she does repeat "sometimes you are great there was just someone better on the day". Maybe even drop her a line.
Try not to compare yourself - easier said than done I know - but they might be looking at you and thinking "lucky cow, the minute I graduated I had to climb on the wheel".
Is it law that you are trying to get into?
Could you do some related voluntary work to show your commitment, perhaps on the admin side to prove to employers that you can do it, are not bored by it, positively relish it?
It isn't just you. My DS is in the same position. Too many people are chasing each job - most graduate jobs have over 100 applicants. Those that have gone to law school will have the same problem. DS has had interviews that go well but they have gone to someone with experience.
It is the economic climate at the moment- DS's most promising interview was a great disappointment - it went so well and then they contacted him to say that they had decided not to take anyone else on at the moment.
Good luck- keep pressing in. I agree it is hard- it gives me sleepless nights.
Thanks so much for the replies; I'm feeling much better today. Some fantastic ideas on here. It's not law I'm trying to get into but something with a fair bit of law in it - hence the law school questions. The professional exams I'm doing are usually paid for by employers but I've done them on my own to get on and hopefully show my commitment. The idea of voluntary work alongside my part time job is a great one; I'm going to look into perhaps doing some admin for a charity. I'm going to keep trying and keep my fingers crossed for something soon! Thanks everyone.
P.S. One more thought - DolomitesDonkey - I hadn't seen it that way. It's refreshing. Some of my friends began work the week after graduation (!) and have found it tough. I bet they do envy my time out, which I really needed after 4 hard years at uni. Also, I totally agree about the current job market. For every one of my friends who has succeeded in getting a law training contract, it seems like there are three more who haven't managed it and have given up after all that studying and extra debt.
If you're getting through to interviews, maybe you're coming across as too good for the job? Are you making a point of saying things like "well I've done the degree but I'm well that I'll need a few years on the job before I can properly call myself x"?
It's a tough market out there, which can mean people won't want to recruit people they can see as competitors.
It's a bit of a myth that having a degree means you will get a job in your chosen field. This wasn't true when I graduated 13 years ago in the middle of a boom, and it's certainly not true now. If you have found something that you know you really want to do then you've already got a lot going for you, and although 4 months seems like a long time now, once you get a foot on the ladder you'll realise that you've learnt a lot of resilience in this time and you'll soon progress at a reassuring rate.
I always found it quite difficult to get jobs (would always get interviews) until one day I was recruiting for another role in my organisation and the scales lifted. I had been too focussed in interviews on what the job would do for me, not how I was going to help the employer. Now I always practice all the questions in advance and imagine what I would want to hear if I was interviewing someone. From that day onwards, I have got every single job I have ever applied for.
Is there a more experienced friend or family member who could give you some interview practice? Or could you ask one of your contacts from volunteering if they could let you sit in on a recruitment process? This may not be an issue for you at all but thought I'd mention it!
Also, one more piece of advice - stop comparing yourself to friends with a different career path. Their lives will look rosy for ages, then yours will, then vice versa. You were equals at university but your opportunities, incomes and lifestyles are going to be different now.
When I graduated from my first degree it took me 10 months to get a job related to my subject and I wasn't the last in my class by a long way. That was in 2000 so it might be something that just happens after uni.
The post university slump is really hard but if you use your time well it can really enhance your future career. Never again in your life are you going to have the opportunity to hop about so many different jobs and volunteer posts or to speak to so many different firms in your field. In my case I didn't really like the field I'd gone into but the experience I gained during that time was really helpful when I went into nursing.
Good luck, keep plugging away and something will turn up
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