Graduated and unemployed

The process of securing your first graduate role can seem like an unfair task to complete when you’ve just completed 3 years of mission impossible (congratulations BTW!). Especially when paired with a global pandemic. Oh, and a recession. All at the same damn time. However, there’s no need to panic, as there are still plenty of recruiters and employers looking for someone just like you. 

You may need to take a look at your current approach and work out how you can be more effective in your job search, and boost your chances at securing a suitable role. Let’s unpack this.

Refine your search

A common mistake job seekers make is applying to any and every role as a result of panic, rather than increasing your odds of finding a role you’d enjoy by setting aside more time to apply for roles better suited to you.

Before you can go out and rush to apply for just any job, you need to ask yourself a few questions, such as:

  • What exactly are you looking for in your future career?
  • What do you want to gain from the job you’re applying for?
  • How will this job allow you to prepare for your dream role?
  • What can you offer the employer that other applicants can’t?
  • How can you prove to the employer that you are the best person for this role?
  • Do you need to build up a bit more work experience before you can start this role?
  • Have you considered making slight changes to your search to adhere to the “new normal”/post-COVID workplace?

If you can’t answer any of the above confidently, you’ll need to sit down and re-evaluate your short term career goals to fully prepare you for your search, and allow you to refine your search to exactly where you need to be. 

Ask for feedback

If you’re getting to the interview stage, and constantly being rejected after speaking with the employers, we would highly recommend getting feedback from your recruiter. Don’t be afraid to ask about your interview performance, and how they decided on their final choice.

One of the best features of uni is the careers service. Share your search issues and interview feedback with your uni’s careers team to receive tips on how to improve. You can even ask them to do practice interviews! Don’t feel embarrassed, as you’re not the only one in your position, and they’re more than happy to help you.

The best thing about most university careers services is that most teams continue to support alumni post-graduation. They may not currently be physically available, so check your university website to see if they’re doing virtual consultations.

Build your work experience 

Aside from your degree, most jobs nowadays also require you to actively work on your skillset. You don’t have to have formal experience, as most graduate and entry level roles will teach you as you work, however employers want to know that you have the skillset required to grow as you work.

To find out which skills you’ll need for the role, have a look at the job advert and adverts for similar roles. Create a shortlist of must-have skills for the role, and beside each describe times you have demonstrated evidence of the having abilities. 

If you still need to brush up on your skills, you can gain work experience in the form of work shadowing, casual part-time work, or volunteering.

Whichever you do, keep in mind that you are creating opportunities to show off the skills that you want to develop in your career. If you want to boast about a certain skill, go out of your way to do these skills, even if they are not a part of your regular day-to-day tasks. Small things like making suggestions for improvement to processes show off your innovative and forward-thinking mindset.

Keep notes on your ideas, how you executed them and what the outcome was. This will help to develop your ability to sell yourself.

Set up email job alerts

If you haven’t done so already, register with leading job boards (or check out Frshly Squeezd every Monday) to set up email alerts for jobs that meet your criteria, read tips on applying to different types of employers and advice on applications and interviews.

Getting rejected from job applications is never easy, but it’s a regular part of working that you’ll soon get used to. Take time out to re-evaluate your goals, align yourself to them, and be kinder to yourself – you should be so proud, and you’ll eventually get your dream graduate role.

Five months in… what have you accomplished?

LOL just kidding, it doesn’t matter. I’m proud of you regardless, bro. We’ve all been busy, starting over, falling back down, getting right back up, stumbling sideways, and starting right over again. Don’t tell anyone, but I find it kinda fun. Through every L I’ve taken in the last five months, I’ve learned a vital lesson that teaches me I’ll be just fine. Being able to bounce back every single time reminds me that I’m lowkey a flipping genius.

 Failing and starting over shouldn’t be daunting; you’re only embarrassed because you’re worried about what other people will think. Take everyone else out of the picture and suddenly there’s no competition or comparison – you’re doing better than your previous self and that’s all that matters. If you pace yourself, and focus on the things you have achieved, especially those you initially had no idea how to combat, you’ll soon realise what a sick guy you are.

 So, at the beginning of the year you had all these plans, right? Some of you sent us your plans, and we discussed a plan of how you’ll get there. You’ve all since accomplished parts of those. You may not have hit every single target exactly when you were supposed to but if you’re reading this then I’m guessing that it hasn’t killed you. There are still 7 months (245 days) left of the year. Refill your juices whenever you need to. Some of you are pretty old already, but for the most part we all have a lifetime of making mistakes and messing up. So get over the fact that your family friend, that’s only two years older than you, just became a millionaire and learn how to start over now. “I didn’t do this right, but I did that and the other seamlessly, so next time I’ll…”.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take (I think I stole this from someone’s Instagram caption, but it applies so we move!)

Following Your Passion is Overrated

Most of the Frshly team are currently in fields they love, doing things they are passionate about. However, that’s not the case for all, and after the emails I received from last week’s Squeeze, I’ve quickly realised it may not be the case for a large majority of young adults.

I’ve decided that encouraging people to “follow your passion” is overrated. Firstly, it’s too much pressure. Why should you have to focus on this one thing and feel like you’re not fulfilling your purpose if you don’t. 

We’ve allowed the internet and motivational speakers (with undefined occupations) teach us that if we do what we love we’ll never work a day in our lives. I love what I do, but I’ll admit that on some days I’m just having a terrible time – I’m passionate so I take criticism to heart, overwork, and say yes to things I know I don’t have time for, just because it’ll be “fun” to work on. Work is always hard, don’t let anyone fool you.

If you are unhappy in your current role, now is the best time to think about possibly switching careers, or simply the industry you work in. You’re young, the time for making mistakes is now! You were born in the age of technology, so utilise it. The exponential growth of tech makes it possible for you to move from banking to FinTech, launch a company from your bunk bed, have one-to-one conversations with people from your dream company, become Instagram famous, and build several skillsets that can triple your salary.
 

Let’s play a game: ask yourself what you love doing. Either your mind will go blank, or you’ll have a list of very silly things. 
 

Here’s my list:

  • Wasting boys’ time; 
  • Messy nights out; 
  • Online shopping; 
  • Getting my hair done; 
  • Wasting boys’ money; 
  • Sewing (but only for myself). 
     

Not very helpful. 

Now ask yourself what your strengths are. This is when you’ll realise that you may be better suited in practical rather than analytical roles. Have a look at jobs that suit your strengths list. Outsource people in your company that can complement your weaknesses. Build on skillsets that will make you the ideal candidate. Most importantly, remind yourself that there’s no such thing as enjoying your job so much it never feels like work.

How do slide in DMs and shoot your shot

Trust me, I understand how daunting it is messaging someone you’ve never interacted with. I do it all the time anyway though, through trial and error (and a few blocks here and there), I’ve come up with the most effective way to DM a stranger (for work purposes, only. I don’t move to boys LOL).
 

Find out a bit about the person first: Have a look at their feed, if they’re on LinkedIn you can have a look at their role and think of some relevant questions you might want to ask when you eventually get well acquainted. You can have a look at their Twitter and Instagram profiles as well, which is what I do. If they’re tweeting about Cardi B or football all day long, then you shouldn’t feel too awkward as you know they speak your language. However, come correct and be formal at first. It’s not enough to know what someone’s job title is, find out about what they’ve been up to and what their current position actually entails.
 

Keep it short: By now you should know I’m a bit of a waffler. Most of my emails are no shorter than 5 paragraphs, phone calls tend to last 90 minutes, and my voice notes are notoriously long (people always listen to the whole 4 minutes so…). Don’t overwhelm them though; make your query clear, at a maximum of four or five sentences.
 

The person is most likely to be in the same city as you, so to avoid the draining back and forths, especially if emails intimidate you, perhaps ask they’d like to meet for a coffee. Offer to go within close proximity to the other person. You can offer to pay (but I never do hehe).
 

Follow up: People are busy, and sometimes emails fall between the cracks. If it’s been over a week and you still haven’t heard back, consider writing a brief follow-up email. Don’t come across stalker-isa though!
 

Don’t forget to thank the person for getting back to you, helping you with whatever your query is, and agreeing to meet with you.
 

And dress appropriately when you meet. Please. Don’t come and embarrass me.

Leave Slumflower Alone!

You must have more than 24 hours in your day if you have enough time to tick off everything on the daily to-do lists we agreed to stick to, clean your house, catch up on every Game of Thrones episode before the season starts, learn something new online AND write threads on how “Chidera Eggerue is a fake feminist because…”.

PRIORITISE. Even if you use only social media for bants, doesn’t it make sense to curate your feeds to things that inspire you, teach you, and make you laugh? If you see someone say “men commiting s*icide is not my concern”, surely you’d just block and keep it moving? If you see a girl on Instagram that makes you feel fat and ugly, broke and lonely, boring and sad, just unfollow her, sis. Then replace that follow with a meme page. Or a personal development page. Or simply get off your phone and jump on an online course (like I told you to two weeks ago ).

If you have enough time to complain about $LuMf70w3r on Twitter, indirect your opps on Snapchat, and stare at brainless babes on Instagram, then you have more than enough time to work on your upcoming exams, and personal development.

To the super busy people, that never have time for anything at all because they’re doing SO much ALL DAY: your morning and evening commute, lunch breaks, evening baths, and car journeys to Croydon, count too! No excuses.

Spend less time worrying about what people you’ve never, and hopefully will never meet, have to say online, and more time working on you.

Make sure you’re following @frshlysqueezd on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep up to date on all things Frshly Squeezd!

CRTL C + CTRL V

You don’t need to have gone to uni to understand plagiarism. 

In fact, the first time you were protective of your work was probably in Reception, when snotty nosed Kevin was looking over at your painting and trying to draw the dinosaur in the same way that you did.

Or in Year 4 maths tests, when you knew you had studied the night before and on the way in with mum, so you covered your sheet with your arms to make sure your precious times tables are shielded from your not-so-mathematically-gifted neighbours. All of a sudden, we get to an age where our creations are actually paying our bills, and the importance of protecting your work goes out the window? 

Make it make sense!

I don’t know who needs to hear this but: 

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 Build your business on your own merit. Too many businesses are getting outed for posting images on socials as if they’re their own: claiming meals that they did not make, clients that they did not have, and roles in business that they’ve never worked for/with.

Practice makes perfect and there are people putting in so much elbow grease that their elbows shine, yet people are stealing. Coming like thieves in the night to take peoples hard work from any platforms and promote them as if it were their own.

Which you will, by the way, almost every time. The world is a small place. And the internet makes it even smaller. Not only will you get found out, you will get exposed, dragged and then made into a meme.

When you weigh up the short-term gratification (likes, followers, and shares) you will see that it was not worth the long-term damage to your reputation. Yikes!

To all the hustlers, movers, shakers, creators, doers, thinkers: I urge you to go back to the child-like protectiveness of your masterpiece. 

It’s cold out here on these creative streets, make sure you’re doing whatever you can, watermark your images, document your meetings and most importantly don’t expose your early ideas to too many people without having laid the foundations for your concept first.

Having said that, it’s much easier to be plagiarised if you keep quiet about your work. Post as much as you can, show it off, let the world know your style, your flare your creative edge, without revealing your secret sauce.

Once you create that distinction, it becomes harder to authentically pass as you. 

That’s the thing about copying, you’ll always be one step behind. 

Special thanks to Francesca (Totally Frankie) for this week’s contribution to the Weekly Squeeze! 

You’ve got the skills to pay the bills

You go to uni (or don’t, that’s fine too), secure this cool job where you make real money, get promoted once or twice then realise you actually want to do something else. But how though? Isn’t it too late? Aren’t you too old to start over?

Not at all! I have friends that studied Biomed and are now Marketing gurus, studied Fitness and are currently raking Finance coins, started off in banks and now micro-manage tech startups. They realised way after completing their degrees, or working for multiple years that, actually, they’re really good at this other thing or they really love some other industry.

Funnily enough, these same friends are also good at a lot of other things too. I am so blessed to be surrounded by makeup artists, YouTubers (click here to check out some of our favourite channels), event organisers and loads of business owners!

I know you’re the busiest person on the planet, but I urge you to pick up a new hobby, or try something you’ve always admired from afar. 

Tried and you’re still crap at it? Self evaluate on the positives: “really bad, but I picked up on the basics quite quickly” (fast learner). Then move on to the next until you find something you fall in love with! You’ll gain so many transferable skills along the way. After a few weeks of Code Collabs, this Easter, you might even start using work’s WiFi to look for new roles elsewhere…

Being able to make money is already mad cool, but building the skills to create multiple streams of income will make life so much easier! 

My friends were able to change their vocation, but also learned how to use those skills to make money in new ways. Soon enough you’ll be the same, making money in your sleep and buying me cars and houses, Amen!

You’re doing amazing, sweetie

Yesterday was a very productive day for me. I replied to all of my emails, completed 3 projects, patterned the most amazing guests for Issue 002 of Frshly Squeezd (which goes live on Friday at 8pm!), started designing my personal website, cleaned the whole house, and made the world’s most elite dish: rice and stew. However, when I looked at my January to-do list at the end of the day, it felt as though I had not done anywhere near enough.
 

Sometimes I feel like such a productive and smart-working babe, whereas other times I feel like I just don’t do enough. It doesn’t help that I work for myself, because some people assume I wake up at 3pm, then sit and watch Netflix all day until I finally get an email (you know, because all freelancers get work once a month). They’re never afraid to let me know either, which used to bother me. A lot. It wasn’t until I had a horrible anxiety attack a few months ago, because of a comment a ‘friend’ made, that I realised that I really cannot come and kill myself, especially not for the opinion of someone that will ask me for £10 to get them to work the following week.

Oh, then there’s the people that brag about how “busy” they are. Being busy is not synonymous with being productive, so I don’t allow anyone that compares how “busy” they are with my schedule, make me feel less than. Remember, what others think/say about you is none of your business. Focus on what you feel is right, and ask us if you’re ever unsure!
 

I also try not to get invested in the lives of social media personalities, as I know hardly any of it is real. I don’t care to compare, or compete, with someone that flaunts fake designer items, rents out German whips, and doesn’t actually eat at the restaurants they take pictures in. If likes and followers make them happy, I’m here for it and pray they secure that influencer coin. However, it’s not me; it doesn’t have to be me. I know that I can be just as successful without doing what everyone else on the Internet is doing. My idea of a fun night out are Code Collabs workshops – who are you to judge me?!
 

If you set out a few feasible tasks for the day, week, or month, and you don’t get through every last one, you’re still doing a great job. The smallest step towards your future is still a step in the right direction. I’m proud of you, babe.

Take a day off to treat yourself. Even if it means wasting your time and money to go and watch people fight, followed by an inevitably terrible performance by Davido. Or if, like me, you have sense, get yourself a mask set (or some beard oil) from our friends at The Glow Pot whilst reading through your fave FrshlySqueezd posts. 

Don’t be a bum, but don’t burn yourself out. You’re doing amazing, sweetie.
 

Drey Mark

Hey, I’m Drey I’m a freelance stylist, business owner and I work in the fashion closet at the online fashion destination Net-a-Porter during the week

Being a freelance stylist – I started styling pretty much straight out of college, I decided not to go to university at the time as I thought a gap year was what I needed but in that gap year I discovered what I loved – fashion. 

I started assisting/interning any way and anywhere I could; 

Now magazine 

I heart studios 

Fashion week 

Assisting stylists etc 

The stylist I was assisting at the time told me to start a blog that covers fashion news, tips etc and so I did. This was around the time blackberries were losing their allure and iPhones started to become the main phone to have – and in came Instagram. 

I started posting my outfits and got great feedback. 

I began getting booked to do my own shoots, working with celebrities, editorials etc. 

I went through a period in my life where I stopped using social media I kind of became out of touch with it all and lost the passion & confidence I once had for sharing looks – if there’s one thing I want you to learn from me today it’s consistency – remain consistent in everything. Thankfully today I’ve regained the confidence to start posting on my socials and sharing my passion with people who follow me for style ideas, and I couldn’t be happier. 

My business – I started my brand Stylefixxjewellery in 2016 simply because I’m a fan of dainty jewellery and time would often get asked where my jewellery was from, a lot of it was high street jewellery and would be sold out before the person could buy it, that’s what pushed me to start my own online jewellery business. 

So far it has been amazing, SF has been seen on BBC Joolz Holland, featured in fashionbombdaily, Grazia and I’ve had the chance to collaborate with many beautiful influencers. 

L’s – Marketing by collaboration: 

Although I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with really amazing bloggers, I’ve also had my fair share of losses in which I’ve literally sent out stock to people who were unable to fulfil their end of the contract – advice I’ll give to anybody starting out and selling a product. 

  • Typically, in the beginning you may not start with 1000 units and so you want to minimise stock loss as much as you can. 

When collaborating don’t just go for bloggers with numbers, do they interact well with all their followers?

Are they influential?

  • Draft up a contract, so everybody understands what is expected. 
  • Majority of influencers/bloggers require payment so make sure you’re not wasting product and money and do your proper research on those you want to collaborate with before going forward. 

Working for a fashion brand also pushes me to keep going in the direction I am headed, it’s good to be around likeminded people who keep you motivated, I understand it is not easy at all getting a job in fashion especially being a black woman, trust me!! I know (I’ve worked at many places before this non-fashion related) but continue to be persistent especially if it’s something you know you truly want.

You can follow Drey to get style inspo on Instagram using the links below!

thestylefixx.co.uk

@dreystyles