The unemployed youth of today

Just over a month ago, I wrote a blog post about the agonising process of applying for jobs. Well, I am still unemployed and what was once agonising is now depressing, de-motivating and completely soul-destroying. To date, I have applied for over 60 jobs – all jobs I am perfectly qualified for and know I would do well. The sun is out and it’s getting warmer but I am still jobless.

Last year, I saw a segment on the news about high depression rates among the unemployed. The reporter visited a young man who had been unemployed and looking for jobs for over a year. His self-confidence was shattered, he hardly left the house and after so many rejections, his motivation to apply for more jobs barely even existed. I am beginning to know exactly how he feels.

I am now receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance – an amazing, life-changing amount of £56.80* a week – but even my advisor can’t help me or tell me to do something I’m not already doing to find a job. I apply for a minimum of seven jobs a week, go to the job centre once a fortnight to sign a piece of paper, and leave feeling weary and deflated.

To make matters worse, there have been so many newspaper articles, and TV and radio programmes in the last few weeks about the difficulties faced by the ‘Unemployed Youth of Today’: about how difficult it is ‘out there in the real world’, about how there are too many people and not enough jobs, and about how, if you just stick at it and keep your head up, something will come along.

They are right, and something will come along, eventually. But as my bank balance dwindles as quickly as my self-confidence and I get closer to having to ask my parents for financial help, all I want to do is scream: “Shut up! You have no idea what it’s like!” at the newspaper/television/radio.

Not to blow my own trumpet, but, I have two degrees, I’ve been doing relevant (unpaid)** internships and work experience placements for three years. I’m bright, competent and switched-on. So why does nobody want to hire me? I recently received feedback on an application for a trainee reporter position at a local London newspaper. The editor I spoke to told me he couldn’t see any reason why I had not made the shortlist – it was simply because they’d had more than 100 applications and he’d had to narrow those down to just five people for the interview stage. Too many people, not enough jobs.

But, I am not going to let this bring me down. I am stepping up my game. I am going to seek out every freelance writing job there is and I’m going to blog more. And if the worst comes to the worst, I’ll do another round of the bars, restaurants and cafés in my area with my CV in search of anything I can do that isn’t sitting in my flat, applying for job after job.

So if you are reading this and you have any suggestions of how I can make my applications stand out or how I can make sure I am one of the five people in one hundred who are asked to interview, if you know of any freelancing work going or if you actually want to hire me, please leave a comment or send me an email.

Thanks for reading :)

* That’s a whole other discussion all-together.

** And so is that one.

Featured image courtesy of George Lane

Job hunt agony

Applying for jobs is an agonising business. I’m not just talking about rejections or the numerous applications that go completely unanswered. It’s the entire process, and the worst part is repeatedly having to evaluate yourself, your skills, your experience and your personality.

Since I started applying for jobs again, my brain has been whirring away with questions and doubts.

  • Am I looking at all the right job websites?
  • When did I last check Gorkana, or Production Base?
  • Do I only apply for the jobs I actually want or should I settle for anything I’m qualified for if it’s good money?
  • What would happen if I just called up Alan Rusbridger and pleaded with him for a job?
  • What do I actually want to do? Do I want to do print or online journalism?
  • If I want to get into broadcast journalism, how do I do that without much experience?
  • If I get my hair cut like Emily Mortimer in The Newsroom will that increase the likelihood of someone offering me a job?
  • Do any of my friends know someone that knows someone that knows someone….
  • Should I just give up and apply to be a holiday rep for the summer? (At least I’d get some sun)
  • When should I call it a night, turn off my laptop and just go to bed?
  • How desperate do I have to be to consider moving back home?

And all of this goes on in my own little bubble, as all my friends are at work, doing useful things and earning money.

I feel like I am a vulnerable caterpillar in a fragile cocoon waiting for someone to call saying: “Hello Katherine, the (extremely well paid) job (with a generous holiday allowance) is yours.”

And I will burst forth, an incredibly grateful butterfly. The sun will shine and spring will finally arrive.*

But that might just be my cabin fever talking.

Either way, I really need a job. And I need it soon.

*It is perhaps a tad big-headed to assume that the recent cold snap and my unemployment are mutually exclusive, but we’ll see.