Have you just graduated from uni with a 2:1 and LOVE writing? We want YOU to write for our award winning publication. Send us your CV and we'll set up an interview!!
… said no job ad anywhere.
Welcome to job hunting 101: the stuff that university will categorically NEVER teach you (not only because it contravenes their 100% bullshit policy) but because we are conned into thinking that a university degree will buy you a first class ticket into an editorial role at The Guardian.
The first lesson? Your degree will not be enough. That 9k a year you just shelled out on 4 hours of contact time a week has given you a stamp which now allows you to pass go and enter the jobs market. That is all.
Second lesson – don't let anyone tell you that you are not good enough – and show them. Here, your LinkedIn profile is your secret weapon to harpoon that shiny new job-whale. So sign up, pop in your contact details and let’s get cracking.
An online portrait
It’s important to remember that you have very few key touch points in the job-hunting process which you can control. The rest is up to your interviewer, their mood, the weather, public transport… The works. So don't pass up on the opportunity to get ahead of the curve and define the context of the conversation. This is where an online profile can really help define who you are, on your own terms.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to put your name into Google and curate an online picture of yourself with self-congratulatory achievement that would make your mum squirm. I'm talking blogs, writing portfolios, YouTube channels, (heavily edited) Twitter feeds. Show the world that you have an opinion and make it an interesting one.
Having said that, don't be afraid to put not-so-great jobs on your profile – we're aiming for a minimum of 3 different jobs to kick off. The key here is not to lie, but enhance. Worked a bar job on your summer holidays? You're a Seasonal Customer Experience Coordinator. Skills include client-facing business responsibilities, advanced dispute solutions and pouring a kick ass pint. You're a writer – have some fun!
Once you've worked for more people and interned at different companies then you can cut out the lesser-sounding positions and focus on the ones that matter. Until you've taken that first step on the job ladder, no one is going to scrutinise your career progression (not too hard anyway…).
As a matter of SEO, LinkedIn will usually appear higher in search results, so it’s best for you to use this to your advantage. Use hot links within the profile options to direct interested viewers to your other relevant profiles.
Your degree 'doesn't define you'
All your information doesn't have to be on there if it looks better on a different platform – LinkedIn can be a bit ugly at times – and if you're going into a creative industry, being able to frame your experience in an online space which reflects your design interests matters a lot. Try something like Clippings.me or a free SquareSpace profile.
Remember: your degree doesn't have to define you, but what you have done outside of it will matter exponentially. Even if it’s just getting money for your 'Fuck Off Fund' or interning at a boss newspaper/publisher, you need to have done something other than attend lectures and write coursework.
Stop using your 4 contact hours as an excuse to not have a part-time job! It will save you from years of debt and perhaps get you a real deal role in the process.
A final word of ‘wisdom’: love the job you have and remember, the quicker the fail, the sooner your will succeed. No matter if it's scrubbing floors or being a fully-fledged journalist, do your job with integrity. Your boss will trust you to do a good job, you'll have more 'creative licence' to design your role and you really will get out what you put in.
And don’t be afraid to fail – always chuck yourself head first into the deep end and even if you don’t come up swimming, you’ll have learnt something along the way.
Alexandra Waring is a Strategist at the London based firm RAPP, and a former Style Editor for this web site.