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Please could you help? A bit sad and desperate.

(108 Posts)
WellAlwaysHaveParis Thu 18-Jan-18 12:54:04

I've posted about my situation before, but am getting a bit desperate now. Please could I ask for your help? I've tried to be really honest. Please could you be kind and objective? I really don't want to get flamed blush

My situation:
I graduated with a French and Spanish degree from a very academic university in 2015. I speak fluent French and advanced Spanish.

At university, I did several placements with national newspapers and magazines, and held several editorship positions for student newspapers, as I wanted to get into journalism. However, entry-level journalism roles have extremely low salaries, especially in London, where many are based. At university, I had planned to do a journalism master's qualification after graduating, but they're so so expensive and don't guarantee a job at the end unfortunately, so I decided against it. I do hospital radio volunteering on the weekends though, as it seems like a good way of perhaps going into media-based roles.

Since graduating, I've been trying to find a full-time job and haven't found anything. While I was looking for a full-time role, straight after uni, I worked as a self-employed private tutor and freelance copywriter in my hometown and lived at home.

In summer 2016, I moved to London to do teacher training, which I resigned from in winter 2016 due to health reasons.

To try and give myself relevant and important skills, I've started training as a Citizens Advice adviser in London in autumn last year. It's been so so useful in so many ways, and I'm so glad I've started doing it. It is voluntary though, which means it's unpaid, and ideally I need to look for paid work.

I'm also doing tuition through a couple of agencies alongside the Citizens Advice volunteering. Although the tuition is well-paid per hour, it's ad-hoc and not very regular (it stops during the school holidays etc.)

I have an assessment coming up for a Civil Service job next week, but it's for one post and I'm sure lots of people are going for it.

The problem:
I've been looking for jobs and haven't had any luck with finding a full-time job.

Everything that I'm looking at seems extremely competitive and there doesn't seem to be a clear, straightforward path to these jobs, if that makes sense.

I've had quite a few interviews over the last few months, but they haven't come to anything.

I've tried looking for jobs through: recruitment agencies (Reed, Tate, VMA Group, Love Success), job websites (W4MP Jobs, Guardian Jobs) and companies' own website.

I think I must be doing something wrong. Any ideas and guidance on how I can get a full-time job please?

I'm 26, and getting on a bit, with elderly parents, so getting quite worried.

The industries that I'm interested in are:
- Communications, PR and marketing
- Politics
- Journalism
- Government and Civil Service
- Charity sector (Communications, PR, marketing and policy roles).

Thanks so much flowers

MissionItsPossible Thu 18-Jan-18 12:59:26

You're not doing anything wrong, it is just a tough job market at the moment. I think you'll need to be a bit flexible when it comes to the types of jobs you want. I don't think anyone, without nepotism coming into play, can just walk into a journalism job without doing loads and loads of voluntary work. Keep at it and good luck.

jerrysbellyhangslikejelly Thu 18-Jan-18 13:01:14

Internship or graduate programme?

Or if you're dead set on going straight into a paid role I think you should take any kind of paid, full time employment that you can, supermarket etc and keep applying for the jobs you want. You'll have an income at least and it's easier to get a job when you have a job.

PompholyxOfUnknownOrigin Thu 18-Jan-18 13:03:09

If you’re getting interviews but not getting a job it sounds as if your interview technique could be improved. Consultants can help you with that - at a price - but there’s also good advice available online and in books.
Or would your old university’s career advice service be able to help?

FrancisCrawford Thu 18-Jan-18 13:04:36

Do you have experience/qualifications in comunications, marketing, PR, policy etc?

If not, then you might find other applicants do, which might explain why you aren’t getting anywhere with the roles you are applying for

Do you have any admin experience?

neighneigh Thu 18-Jan-18 13:05:03

Have you considered joining a temping agency and doing some short term work? You need to be flexible but I joined Prospectus (15 years ago mind!) and they were great. I did loads of random things and within a year they said here's a one year contract doing public affairs. Temping is a great way to get you in front of employers. The one year job led to a full time role, more pr experience, into an agency and the rest is history. Good luck!

MrsHathaway Thu 18-Jan-18 13:06:10

Go to a decent temp agency and take anything reasonable. A six-week cover that you do brilliantly in might turn into a permanent role that turns into a sidestep that turns into promotion that turns into your dream career.

Meanwhile you're earning and showing that you're reliable and flexible.

Paddington68 Thu 18-Jan-18 13:07:22

The country is desperately short of teachers. Have you thought about going back to that? Primary possibly if you were doing secondary before.

Bluelady Thu 18-Jan-18 13:07:28

I really feel for you, it's tough out there. My advice (30 years in public sector comms) would be to apply for every junior comms role you can find, once you have some experience you'll fly. If you dm me I'll be happy to help in any way I can with ongoing advice/mentoring.

TheHeartOfTeFiti Thu 18-Jan-18 13:07:33

My friends husband covers Scottish news fir a French paper. Would that be an option. He covers mainly football so it’s regular but they must have other people

MarmaladeAtkinsX Thu 18-Jan-18 13:08:42

As PP said, it’s a tough market out there and you’ll be up against people with qualifications in those subjects and work experience.

Sign up with some agencies, dont discount interim roles - they’re better paid and you can quickly get experience in different industries.

The positions you are interested in involve a lot of writing - build a portfolio - examples of news stories, press releases etc, if you contribute to websites make sure you include anything that gets published.

Also, work out why you want to work in those areas - what will you bring to the role and what will you get out of them?

JassyRadlett Thu 18-Jan-18 13:12:00

The civil service does a communications fast stream now as well as the general one, which may interest you?

peachgreen Thu 18-Jan-18 13:12:10

You've had tons of good advice on previous threads and honestly, I'm not sure you'll get anything different on here. You just have to apply for everything. I got into marketing through working in an admin role that involved some events work - it eventually led to a marketing secondment and a decade on I'm a Comms Manager. I think you're being a bit optimistic about being able to get into those specific fields immediately as they're very competitive. Don't be picky about what you apply for, either industry or role - go for anything that looks vaguely interesting and get some experience under your belt, then make your move into your chosen field.

AriadneThread Thu 18-Jan-18 13:12:56

Sounds like you're doing well. Uni careers service should ju5 about still be able to help if you graduated in 2015.

Also read How to Get a Job You'll Love by John Lees to focus your search.

And interview practice with a friend. John Lees is good on interviews

JassyRadlett Thu 18-Jan-18 13:13:20

And yes, temping. Most of my best and favourite employees came to us as temps to start with.

Bluelady Thu 18-Jan-18 13:13:43

Also social media can be incredibly helpful. Are you on LinkedIn proactively marketing yourself as available? Can you write a blog and tweet links to it? Check out people in comms roles on Twitter and follow them. Ask them for advice.

befbiund Thu 18-Jan-18 13:15:55

I'm not in journalism, but I think you need to think laterally and look at the way the market is going. Do you have a blog? What is your social media presence like? My friend is now quite high profile writing for the guardian mainly. He's about 10 years older than you but started off on the local rag as an unpaid intern. His girlfriend had to support him financially. At about your age (but with experience) he moved to London. His social media presence is phenomenal though.

One of the dads at school is a sports writer (national broadsheet). His passion comes through because he is writing about something he loves so he is successful. I suspect his wife has been supporting him for years whilst he waited for his break though.

I get you need a job but you come across as willing to take any work going in a variety of areas. I'm not sure that's the best way to land a top job.

Bellamuerte Thu 18-Jan-18 13:23:27

It's a very tough job market in recent years. I know numerous people with postgraduate degrees who are working in supermarkets etc, and have seen loads of stories in the news about highly qualified people who've committed suicide because they can't get a decent job. It may simply be the case that you have to take whatever job you can get.

Also employers don't necessarily choose the best qualified candidate - they pick the person they fancy working with as a colleague. If you're very academic and not outgoing or popular, it can be difficult to get a job even with amazing qualifications.

Take whatever job you can get. Continue to do things on the side to keep your hand in with your chosen field, e.g. blogging if you want to be a journalist. And ask for honest feedback after interviews, on personality and self-presentation as well as qualifications.

Flowerpot1234 Thu 18-Jan-18 13:24:25

1. What's the feedback from the companies with whom you have interviewed?
2. What do you say on your cover letters?
3. Communications, PR and marketing - what have you done in these areas? Why should they hire you?
4. Politics - ditto.
5. Journalism - ditto. What have you written? Who have you sent it to?
6. Government and Civil Service - ditto.
7. Charity sector (Communications, PR, marketing and policy roles) - ditto.

It's less a question of what you are doing wrong, and more a question of what you are not doing good enough. ie. good enough to get the roles you are applying for and beat the competition.

When I was a graduate, I applied for roles against 5000 others. Always makes me chuckle when grads nowadays talk about a competitive job market when they're just up against a fraction of that.

MojoMoon Thu 18-Jan-18 13:27:35

Lots of people start doing admin temp and the organisation likes them and keeps them. Lots of entry level jobs third sector or PR are essentially admin while you learn more so having actual admin experience will help.

Upload your CV to monster and indeed and for employers to find? Make sure you use good key words as they will search for those.

Give up on journalism unless you want to do specialist industry journalism (note, I was a journalist, it is v hard to get into mainstream press and to be honest, you sound emotionally way delicate to cope. It can be brutal. Can be same working for an MP - have also done that).

Don't be picky. My first job post academic uni was sorting post and filtering emails for a political Comms form.

I got my job with a politician based on my admin experience gained working part time in an estate agents office. Admin is admin, it just felt cooler doing it Westminster and I then learnt a lot).

This may be harsh but you sound a bit "woe is me" which isn't going to be an attractive look for an employer. There are jobs in London for good candidates. My current firm pays 30k for new grads and we struggle to get enough good applicants who can pass the pretty basic maths exam, a logic test and not be weird in an interview. But unlike the press, high profile charities and Westminster, we aren't that sexy a sounding place to work. So widen your horizons, find work and then look at moving after a year to something in an area you feel passionate about.

WellAlwaysHaveParis Thu 18-Jan-18 13:28:59

To PP who have asked about a blog, I write about a blog about French language and culture.

Thanks so much for all of your advice so far. It's really helpful. I'll reply with a longer post later on today smile

WellAlwaysHaveParis Thu 18-Jan-18 13:29:11

*write a blog, even.

Inthedeepdarkwinter Thu 18-Jan-18 13:30:07

My friends in journalism are struggling a lot, and most of their work is writing web stuff. It's a super-tough market with not very many people paid to do 'proper' (investigative) journalism, but much more blog/web content- plus these online bidding sites (I don't know the names of them) allow writing to be priced very cheap- but you might build up a portfolio that way if you are not put off.

I agree comms/marketing needs a) experience b) possibly qualifications- have you thought about doing a Masters or have you used your funding with teacher training. If you hate teaching, don't do it, it's hard enough if you love it, but as a 'not quite right' job it has to be a form of torture.

strawberrypenguin Thu 18-Jan-18 13:31:06

Honestly - I would say lower you expectations a bit and take shop work etc to get some actual work experience. It also seems to be easier to get a job if you have a job.

Seasonseatings Thu 18-Jan-18 13:32:24

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