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Graduate Careers: What I wish I’d known before I had to start one

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English: Rosemead_Graduates.JPG

English: Rosemead_Graduates.JPG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My story is one that I imagine will be familiar to lots of other twenty-something graduates out there.

Having done well at school, with absolutely no idea what I wanted to be in life, I went to uni to study an arts subject. Three years later, armed with my 2:1 and perfect CV of good grades and extracurriculars, I have found the job search a real struggle.

When I was at school I was told that it really didn’t matter what you studied as long as you did well and came out with a decent mark at the end, because at the end of the day, university was only about “discipline” and “showing you could achieve things”.

Unfortunately for this generation, a lot has changed since that advice was given. Following the recession, fewer jobs have been available for graduates, meaning that the numbers of young people doing masters degrees has risen. This, along with the emergence of the dreaded internship, has caused the meaning of the word ‘graduate’ to change beyond all recognition. Graduates who get jobs are those with MAs or several unpaid internships under their belts, meaning that in a still tight job market, those with only a BA and a handful of extracurriculars don’t get a look in.

So what’s the solution? Well, I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you things I wish I’d realised a long time ago:

First of all, be prepared. If you know what you want to do in life, arm yourself with as many tools as possible to enable you to get there. If you want to be a journalist, build up your portfolio as much as you can and do as much work experience as possible. Doing work experience whilst studying means you won’t have to do unpaid internships after you graduate – just be sure to make contacts and keep in touch.

If you don’t know what you want to do in life, do work experience anyway. Try and work it out along the way by finding placements you like and checking off the ones you don’t. And once you’ve found the path you want, pursue it. I always thought that with academics on my side, the world would be my oyster and I’d just easily fall into something great. I now know it doesn’t work like that – you’ve got to do as much legwork to find your career as you do for your academics, because it won’t find you.

And lastly, think carefully about each decision you make. In no way do I regret doing an arts degree, but I wish I’d thought more carefully about how it would pan out afterwards and what it would actually qualify me to do. For example, if you want to be a lawyer, by all means study French, but that alone won’t get you a training contract afterwards. You can still have both, just make sure to get involved in law society and do as much legal work experience as possible to give you the edge and get your name out there.

Finding the right job is never easy, and that’s all the more true for today’s graduates. But all is not lost and you can still have the career of your dreams, just do everything you can to get yourself onto that ladder and you’ll soon be ahead of the game.

Written by getrealvideo

March 5, 2013 at 9:00 am

An Insider’s Story – Womenswear Buyer

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Part of our growing Insider Stories, where professionals share their advice and experience

English: Nordstrom Fashion show in the Irvine ...

English: Nordstrom Fashion show in the Irvine Spectrum for OC Style week Español: Desfile de Modas de Nordstrom en Irvine, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is your job?
Womenswear Buyer for a UK retailer

How did you get into it?
Following a Sociology degree BSc I used my analytical skills in the role of a stock allocator in the merchandising function.  After 6 months I applied and interviewed for the role of a BAA (Buyers Administration Assistant) and internally transferred to the buying team.

What do you enjoy about it?
I love the variety of challenges in my job; analysing sales and planning the future ranges, learning about our customers likes and dislikes, fitting garments with the technical team, sourcing fabric, working with the design team on new garment designs, colours and prints, competitive shopping. Supplier strategy; balancing supplier business and profit margin taking into consideration global economic factors, visiting factories in India, China and Europe.

What do you wish you had known before you entered your industry?
At times it is a stressful, female dominated industry!  Juggling work and home life can be tricky.

Top tips for someone wanting to start out in your sector
Nowadays a related degree is essential…retail or design.  Work experience or work placements are a great way to learn about different retailers and show proactivity.  Regardless of degree or relevant work experience you start at the bottom and work your way up!

Our contributing writers are professionals who have valuable advice to offer. We assess and approve all our contributors to ensure their content is expert and relevant.

Written by getrealvideo

February 26, 2013 at 9:01 am

Posted in Insider stories

Quote of the day

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Quote of the day – Three things you cant hide, love, poverty and a cough #getrealvideo #work

Written by getrealvideo

February 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Daily posts

Business Insights: 5 tips from Patrick

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Part of our growing Business Insights, where company owners share their advice and experience

Advice Help Support And Tips Signpost Showing Information And GuidanceFive  things I wish Id known before I started my own photography business:

  1. I would like to have known how to find and attract new customers then how to build their loyalty.
  2. I would have liked to have known about networks like BNI.
  3. I would like to have known the importance of self belief and determination in conjunction with knowledge and experience.
  4. I would like to have known more about setting the correct value for my services/products.
  5. I would have liked to known a good mentor.

Patrick Nairne, UC Images, Photographer
www.ucimages.co.uk

Written by getrealvideo

February 18, 2013 at 9:00 am

An Insider’s Story – Film and TV development executive

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Part of our growing Insider Stories, where professionals share their advice and experience

Television Studio

Television Studio (Photo credit: camerazn)

1 – What is your job?

Development Executive for a film and TV production company.

2 – How did you get into it?

I did an internship for the company I now work for 6 years ago and they gave me some freelance work for a few months. I was working in documentary and then went to work in drama for a few years – working initially as a runner, then an assistant, then a junior in development, before becoming a script editor and development executive. The company I used to work for were moving into drama and approached me about joining to head up the transition they were making from straight documentary and drama-doc into fully scripted.

3 – What do you enjoy about it?

I get to work with a lot of people I have huge respect for creatively and of late I’ve begun learning about the  legals of the business which I find fascinating.

The main pleasure is it’s varied and there’s a strong overlap with what I’m passionate about and enjoy in the rest of my life. I love storytelling and films, so I’m incredibly lucky to work in that world.

4 – What do you wish you had known before you entered your industry?

That the boring stuff is actually really valuable – running in Soho means you see the post-houses and other production bits, doing someone’s diary means you know who’s who in the industry and meet a load of other assistants that go on to have jobs in the industry etc.

There aren’t a huge number of very good people out there and that’s what everyone is after. So if you’re good, stick it out and it’ll pay off.

5 – Top tips for someone wanting to start out in your sector

Get as many internships as possible and meet as many people as possible. It’s a small industry, if you can get your face about and people like you you’ll get breaks.

Our contributing writers are professionals who have valuable advice to offer. We assess and approve all our contributors to ensure their content is expert and relevant.

Written by getrealvideo

February 15, 2013 at 9:00 am

Offered a great new job but at a lower salary. Q&A series

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I’ve been offered a great job, but the salary is lower than the one I’m currently earning. What should I do?

Member’s question, posted by ‘Stevie51’

Part of our growing Q & A series of videos.

Written by getrealvideo

February 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Posted in Daily posts

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Business Insights: 5 tips from Geoff

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Part of our growing Business Insights, where company owners share their advice and experience

 

Some of Geoff's jewellery made at Patrick Wyatt

Some of Geoff’s jewellery made at Patrick Wyatt

The following come to mind as being important lessons I have learned or am learning!

  1. People buy people
  2. Confidence comes from within and is not based entirely on knowledge.
  3. You cannot please every customer every time (though you should try).
  4. A successful trade is one where both parties come away better off and this is not always about price.
  5. Pushing one’s comfort zone is a great way to progress and also realise how far one has already come.

Geoff Murray, Patrick Wyatt Ltd, Jewellers

http://www.patrickwyatt.com

Written by getrealvideo

February 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

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