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.

Starting a new business with NO money

You read the title right!

Yes, starting a business with no money…

It may seem impossible, like most of us believe. But starting a business with literally no money is possible.

If you still think it’s not possible, I will prove you wrong.

I have a plan which requires a computer and an internet connection only!

Follow these simple strategies to get started:

Step #1. Make use of your Skill & internet

As you’re looking forward to starting a business, I know you’ve got some good skills. Like you can do some tweaks in Photoshop and remove pimples from your face?

Make use of the internet, create a profile on freelancing sites, and start selling that skill.

Why am I asking you to make money first?

I want to start a business with no money, man!

Cool down, I am asking you to save a few bucks before.

Step #2. Be Creative, find an idea that requires no investment

I know you’re creative but can you find an idea that requires no investment?

No worries, I’ll help you out. Two types of businesses are common; product-based and services based. You’ve to choose the later one as product creation takes time and requires money.

Service-based companies require no formal investment.

Here’s how to offer your services free:

  • Focus on one SKILL:

What kind of services you can offer?

You mean you, and other like-minded people in your company. Narrow your skillset and write down exactly what you can offer.

  • Brand Yourself on Social Media:

You’re lucky as you’ve got free pages for your business through social media. Make your existence on most of the social media platforms. Use third-party services like freelancing sites to sell your services. Promote your business in relevant groups and online communities.

I know you’re good at marketing. As you’ve marketed your services effectively, I am sure you have succeeded in fetching your first customer. Be customer-oriented and offer him the best you can!

Here’s a tip from Google’s co-founder, Larry Page:

“Always deliver more than expected!”

  • Keep up the Marketing Process:

As you’ve fetched your first customer through proper marketing, you can fetch more. Keep up the marketing process.

Step #3. Earned some bucks? Build Your own thing!

Yay, you’re at the third step now!

As you’ve earned some money (I know you worked hard), spend it on making your own thing. Till now, you’ve used third-party services to promote your services. Now, you have to get your own platform, your own business site. Spend a little money for domain & hostings, install WordPress (as it is easy) and design your website with drag and drop plugins like Elementor. No need to hire developers, this will cost you a lot of money!

Step #4. Your Business is officially Online? – Scale it up!

So, you started a journey with no money in the pocket. You invited your friends to work with you for free. You sold your services on third-party platforms. Later after saving a few bucks, your own business site went LIVE.

Congrats on the achievement!

Now is the time to scale it up. By scaling, I mean to learn more relevant skills together with your team and start offering them to grow faster!

But please don’t stop, your business is in the maturity process…

Don’t stop learning, don’t stop marketing. You’ll have enough clients to pay your bills and the bank balance you dreamt off one day!

FINAL THOUGHT

Above was the same procedure with which I started a graphic designing business online and its blooming right now. Well, that was a pure online business but in the end, you always wanted to start a business with no money and you did it!

Making Changes to Freelancing Routine

I have been into freelancing for quite a long time, and now I am experienced enough to share some freelancing tips.

Yeah, I have got some tips for you; tips about making changes to the freelancing routine.

First things first, why is it necessary?

Simple, you get more time to enjoy when you make a freelance work routine and follow it.

You get enough time to hang out with your friends and participate in parties.

If you’re a full-time freelancer and follow a no-routine principle for your projects, you’re on the risk to lose most of the colours of your life.

Losing colours mean losing your social activities.

Without a routine, you’ll end up with tight deadlines, and you won’t even find time for yourself!

So whenever you do it, do it with a routine.

So, here are some tips to become a bad freelancer who manages his time effectively:

Tip #1. Do the Smartwork

We hear motivational speakers sharing the power of smart work as it is the only way to accomplish more in less. It’s about making subtle decisions and sticking to it. Those decisions can be habits like stopping only when you’re done.

Doing smart work makes you stand out from other freelancers. Smart work requires less effort, so you do more, and when you do more, you grow quicker!

So, the first thing is about doing smart work. Learning new techniques to get your work done effectively is essential for it!

Tip #2. Have a Holiday

I know you wake up, have breakfast and coffee, and find yourself on the desk with pyjamas.

That’s great but other than most of the freelancers do, like they work the whole week. No holidays, no time to relax.

No holiday in freelancing means you’re doing the hard work.

And I guess we are looking for smart work, right?

So, get a holiday fixed and relax that day.

Researches have proved that breaks are essential as they boost productivity and work quality spontaneously.

Tip #3. Fix your working Hours

As you’ve finalized your holiday, it’s time to finalize your working hours.

Here’s the thing, no need to stick to 9-5 or any traditional routine to work.

It is the beauty of freelancing, man!

Fix any flexible hours for you to work.

But here’s the thing; please stick to it!

Tip #3. Stop watching Netflix

No, I am not asking you to quit watching your favourite TV series altogether.

What I am asking you is, don’t dare to open Netflix in your power hours.

On your workspace, you’ve to complete your work milestones first and then you may watch Netflix.

Tip #4. Stop using Social Media

It is the second time I am asking you to stop using something.

First Netflix and now, social media…

How can I avoid these, these are important for me, I get bored!

Okay, I am not asking you to avoid these altogether.

I just want to avoid these when you’re on your working desk. If you keep social media, Netflix and other distractions together, you’ll end up with tight deadlines.

A STORY FROM MY BAD FREELANCING CAREER

There was a time when I had no idea about setting priorities and delivering projects on time. I used to work all day watching movies, checking Facebook newsfeed, and spending a few hours for the actual work.

This habit made me lose my clients as I was unable to deliver on time. I was distracted when I was doing the actual work.

And when I prioritized my working time, everything changed.

What I did, I followed “work first, and then enjoy” principle which eventually helped me become a BETTER freelancer. The one who worked for just a few hours to meet the deadlines!

How I did that? Go back and reread those four tips.

Happy Freelancing! :))

How to Avoid Freelancing For Free?

Step #1. Keep a Written Record

I have been through those times when my hard work was not measured by money. I was doing work for free. Those times included free and paid internships. One thing is common in both internships, you work but no money. In free internships, you don’t get paid at all while in paid, you get paid very little that are enough for transport charges only.

To avoid working for free in such cases, I tried to keep a written record for what I did.

As I was about to complete my internship duration, I presented the record to my manager.

And guess what?

I received a paycheck that was 3x more than the stipend.

Step #2. Get a percentage fixed to be paid in advance

The start of my freelancing, I always thought about getting paid in advance. But most of the clients don’t go with payments unless they get their projects completed. As you complete the project, the clients take days or even weeks to process the massive transaction.

To avoid this, ask for a fixed percentage (from 25% to 50%) of the actual cost in advance. In this way, the client has to pay a portion of the cost later which can be covered easily.

Step #3. Divide the Project into Milestones

The above strategy doesn’t work for the clients that don’t pay in advance at all. To make them pay, there’s a divide and rule principle.

What to divide?

Divide the project!

Divide the project into milestones. A great freelancing platform, Upwork makes use of this principle.

While you divide the project into milestones, set prices for each.

As soon as you proceed with the first milestone, get your pay-out and then proceed to the next milestone.

This principle worked perfectly for me, try it once!

ANOTHER SIDE OF THE STORY

Everybody wants to get paid according to the competitive market rates but nobody talks about the quality of services. To make sure you earn what your seniors are earning, you have to match the quality of the work they provide. To improve quality, keep learning and stay focused. You don’t deserve anything good if you stop learning.

To get what competitive market is paying, you need to make yourself stand out. This could be done only through consistent learning and continuous practice.

Learning is just the beginning while implementation is the real game.

Gary Vaynerchuk calls it, “PRACTICALITY”.

Practicality is the art of bringing your ideas into reality. Just like you’re working on dreams, work on what you learned about your skills.

Remember, if you learn and don’t bring practicality in, your knowledge will rust out. You’ll always stay where you started, no growth.

Some top freelancers use the term “GROWTH”, too. Growth, on the other hand, is a perfect combo of continuous learning and implementation.

I am sure you got my point, right?

Still confused?

Comments section is there, let’s talk!

So, you hate your job? Leave!

Is that tiring? Is it not that interesting? Or whatever else the problem is, here’s some sound advice:

Just Leave!

However! Stop for a moment, before you decide; make yourself think. Don’t decide too quickly, let’s with some analysis.

You hear philosophies like “your decisions make up the most of your life”. These philosophies are accurately up to the mark. I believe decision making is a skill that everybody should learn. The art of making decisions helps you navigate throughout your life. We have both; success and failure stories. The difference in these stories is only based on decisions. The success story consists of well-analysed decisions while failure consists of some nonsense decisions.

About you, you’re just making a career change. That career change can’t decide your whole journey but it has some impact at the same time:

Career change and getting the job you deserve

Career change is not a bad idea if:

  • Your job is not teaching something new: The job that makes you stick to what you’re capable of is often destructive. So, if the job is not teaching anything new, make a change.
  • Your job is not according to your skills: I know you’ve acquired an updated skillset with your job inflow. If the new skill set is not being utilized in the current job, changing career is preferable.
  • Your job is making you lazy: Some jobs offer perks, and incentives spontaneously to bribe you. This makes you lazy and you don’t see any self-growth, time for a change!
  • You’re not grooming: If the job doesn’t make you a better person on a consistent approach, changing career is a mindful decision.

And instead of all these approaches, if you just want to try your luck anywhere else; stop for a moment!

I mean, you’ve got bills to pay, or you may have some debts to return. Stop for a while and play a safer side, first:

1. Have got any passive income source?

Have you got any income source(s) other than your current job?

If yes, you’re great.

If no, you’ve got to develop.

What skills you’ve got?

Offer them online at freelancing platforms, sell it!

Get some permanent clients that choose you every time for their projects.

Passive income is not limited to freelancing only. It can be from that portion/room you’re renting out at Airbnb, too.

Whatever skill you’ve got; you should quit your job only when there’s another income stream. Who’s gonna pay the bills for the time when you’re walking around as a gentleman for interviews?

2. Be Proactive

Not everybody has passive income streams; so in the last month of your current job, search for the jobs that you’re interested in. In this way, you can have brighter chances of getting the job you dream as soon as you sign the resignation letter.

This approach is called ‘proactiveness’, getting ready for what has to come.

And if you’re frustrated about the job…

I know how it feels when you’ve gone in a wrong career. You end up with frustration and think about making a change in the early days. We all go through these situations as you’re going through.

Career change is not a bad idea and I have shared some legit approaches about when to switch and how to switch.

I am sure you’ll make a career change and land on the job you deserve. As soon as you get the job you dream, you’ll remember my take on it.

Why?

Because I have experienced making a career change for years and I know both sides of the story. I hope my thoughts helped you somewhat.

Anyways, I wish you the best for the career change. Cheers!

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!