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The Unemployed Graduate

Guest blog by Alice Bailey (BTEG volunteer)

After graduating from university in July I, like many other graduates, believed finding a job in my desired field would not be too problematic. I had obtained a respectable degree level and my work experience has been varied and vast, so I assumed finding my ‘dream’ job would not be too challenging. I had read some articles and overheard discussions on the news about youth unemployment and the rising graduate unemployment but I hadn’t paid much attention to it.

After applying for numerous job positions and receiving little feedback, I then began to realise the overwhelming problem of unemployment for graduates.

The number of unemployed graduates is not too surprising when you look at the figures. It is estimated that employers receive at least 85 applications for every graduate vacancy and in some cases over 200 graduates are chasing each opening (The Association of Graduate Recruiters, 2013). But why does the number of unemployed graduates keep on increasing?

Every year universities across England and Wales offer new degree subjects such as Airline Management and Culinary Arts. Previously people would learn the skills through apprenticeships or by working their way up the job ladder. However, as new degree subjects are being offered, more young people are attending university to study rather than working as an apprentice.

In December 2013 George Osborne announced that universities would be free to expand on their student intake with no cap on admissions. This year 30,000 more places were made available and in July 412,170 students had had their place at university confirmed, a rise of 3% compared to the figures in 2013 (The Guardian, 2014). However, the growing number of students graduating from university every year does not mean extra graduate jobs are being offered. After graduating many young people find themselves in menial jobs and one in twelve is still without work six months after graduating (The Telegraph, 2012).

The graduate job market is not going to dramatically change overnight so how can I and other graduates improve our chances of securing a job:

  • Seek help when writing your CV and personal statement. After graduating I soon realised that I did not know how to write an excellent CV or personal statement. Employers receive hundreds of job applications; make sure yours stands out. Remember to always check your spelling and grammar before sending off a job application. Nothing is worse than applying for a job and then realising you made a simple spelling error. Learn Direct and the National Careers Service offer helpful information on how to write your CV and personal statement.
  • Always network. You never know who you might meet, whether it’s on the tube or at an event. I attended a women’s brunch morning which discussed the topic of work life balance. I met a woman who was a trustee for a children’s charity and she offered me some great advice and information to help my job search.
  • Any work experience or volunteering you can undertake in your chosen field can be really valuable for your job application. Even having a job that is not partially skilled is respected by employers because it can show responsibility. Even though I work full-time, I still take part in a number of volunteering roles as this adds experience to my CV and I can concentrate on something I enjoy doing in a sector I wish to work in.

The important thing to remember is to not give up on your job search. It may take a little or a lot longer than you hoped but it will pay off.

photo credit: GeoBlogs via photopin cc

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