Job Hunting Blues

Today when I woke up I went through my usual routine. Check Facebook, check Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo, check Twitter and check LinkedIn. A tiny part of me is now wishing I hadn’t checked LinkedIn. I went into one of the groups I subscribe to and found an individual in my field talking about how difficult it has been to find work in London. I felt bad for the guy and could relate. I’ve had a rough time finding permanent employment myself. I am extremely smart, hardworking and talented, but my resume seems to lack those years of experience everyone wants. I’ve gone to interviews and made it to final two and been told my interviewers were so impressed by my attitude, my energy and my ideas (which they planned on using), but that the other candidate had X more years of experience, so they hired them.

So I went into the discussion to maybe offer some support and understanding to the man struggling to find a communications job here in London. I entered the discussion and found people offering suggestions of positions to apply to, all of which he gratefully accepted or replied that he’d already applied to the position. One of those position was a position I applied to the other night and immediately tweeted “Just applied to a job that I really really want. Fingers tightly crossed on this one #fingerscrossed #jobs”

After reading the conversation on LinkedIn and creeping his profile I feel a bit deflated. This job is one that I’ve basically been applying to since I graduated. It’s the perfect job for me. It’s the right environment, with the right kind of people, doing the work I know and love. I am now painfully aware that I am once again up against at least one person with vastly more experience than me, as he graduated university before I even finish elementary school. I wish him the best and hope he finds something soon, as I know how hard it is and he is clearly more than qualified for a good position in the field.

Maybe this time for me it won’t matter that I don’t have the ‘years experience’, maybe someone will see something in my resume and be so impressed by my interview that they can’t help but hire me over the person with X years more experience. I know I deserve the opportunity, I know I am good at what I do. What I lack in experience I make up for in drive and ability to learn. I didn’t graduate at the top class for no reason, I work hard and learn fast.

I guess though if this job opportunity doesn’t pan out, there are still the other applications I sent out to positions that I thought sounded interesting.  Hopefully one of the cool job opportunities I have found will pan out, though I fear there are over qualified individuals lurking there too.

But I will remain positive! I am a great catch!

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For anyone interested in my background:

I graduated from Brock University in 2006 with an Honours Bachelor of Art in Popular Culture. I then graduated from Fanshawe College in 2008 with a post-graduate certificate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations (CC&PR). I graduated from that program at the top of my class earning the London Life Student Award of Excellence, awarded annually at the IABC Virtuoso Awards to the student with the top GPA in the Fanshawe CC&PR program.

Examples of projects I’ve worked on:

  • Middlesex … We’re On the Way Tourism Guide 2010 (writer)
  • Me Inc. A Young Entrepreneurs Magazine (primary writer)
  • Middlesex Tourism Online Events Guide 2010
  • Middlesex Tourism Symposium 2010
  • London Chamber of Commerce Bell Comedy Auction 2008 ( Laff Your Assets Off)
  • Brock Blood Donor Campaign – with Canadian Blood Services (primary organizer)
  • Brock Residence Food and Clothing Drive (primary organizer)

I have also created numerous marketing materials for various businesses and organizations and run social media training for two not-for profits.

You can view my LinkedIn profile by visiting http://ca.linkedin.com/in/sarahcarruthers

Here we go …

So I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a while, but I’ve felt like I’ve been missing that one thing that you need to start a blog, something to say. I’ve decided to take the plunge though and just do it, maybe something will come to me. So here we go …

I’m a 25 (almost 26) year old university and college graduate. I received my Honours Bachelor of Arts in Popular Culture from Brock University in 2006 and in 2008 I received my post-graduate certificate in Corporate Communications & Public Relations from Fanshawe College. I’ve always had an insatiable appetite for learning, so the academic world was a pretty seamless fit for me. The transition from the academic world to the professional world though hasn’t been the smoothest.

After graduating at the top of my class I thought that finding a job would be relatively easy. Of course it would be a lot of work, job hunting always is, but I was confident that I had the skills that a lot of companies would be looking for. I was so sure of myself and my abilities; I was young, creative, energetic and highly determined. What I didn’t foresee was graduating during an economic crisis and finding myself up against people with 5 to 10 years of experience. I’ve applied to many jobs, and gone to many interviews, and even made it to final two in a lot of interviews, but actually landing a job has proven to be a challenge. I’ve gotten numerous calls from interviewers saying how impressed they were by me and my ideas, how they loved my energy and personality, but how they’d gone with another candidate because they had more years of experience.

“Experience” has been my primary hurdle. It’s been a bit of a catch-22: To get a job I need to have experience, to have experience, I need to get a job. Someone somewhere needs to take a chance so I can get one or both of these things.

Job hunting has been frustrating to say the least. I’ve had a number of people tell me that my problem is my location. I keep getting told that I need to pack it up and move to Toronto, that I’m not going to find anything by staying here in London. That sentiment frustrates me. London is a fairly large, established city, I should be able to find a job here and work in the city that I’ve grown up in. Is it really inevitable that I’m going to have to move to Toronto? For a long time I was completely against the idea. I am not a big city girl, Toronto is overwhelming to me. The longer though that I sit unemployed and unhappy with my current situation, the more I consider the option of packing up, leaving London and heading to Toronto. So much for retaining this graduate!

So I’ve started to look at jobs and PR firms in Toronto, still hesitant about relocating to a very large and unfamiliar city. I’m not sure though how to approach job hunting in a city that is 2.5 hours away. Applying to jobs in London is easy, I can usually find a car to borrow for a couple of hours to get to an interview and I can navigate my way through the city. Toronto though is a different story. Public Transit confuses me, I haven’t driven in the city enough to be comfortable in the traffic and I have no clue where anything is in Toronto. I may have to call up my old roommate and see if she minds having a guest for a week while I go pimp myself out in Toronto trying to find a job in my field.

People asking me what kind of job I want and I’m never sure how to answer that question. I want a job that lets me do some of everything. I don’t want to be bored and I don’t want to hate my job. I want a job that lets me continue to learn and grow. For example I’d love to learn more about web design and graphic design. I have some skills and I can more than get by I would like to think, but I am nowhere near where I’d like to be or where professional designers are.

Back to the question, what kind of job do I want? I thought I wanted a communication job in a non-communication company, and I kind of still like that idea, but I’m warming up more and more to the idea of working in a firm. I look at other people working in firms and at the firms themselves and I find the work and companies interesting, so maybe it is an option.

What am I looking for in a job though?

  • I want to work with social media – it inspires and interests me.
  • I would like to keep designing and improving my design skills.
  • I wouldn’t mind some event planning either. I’ve worked on three now and have really enjoyed it.
  • I want something that challenges me to be creative and innovative; something that challenges me to keep learning and growing.

Mostly I want a job that I love, that keeps me wanting to wake up each morning and go to work. I want to be having fun and working hard.

I know that I will find a job like this at some point, I just hope it is soon because I hate being unemployed, but probably not as much as I hate job hunting. Graduating from college, or even university, I did not expect to be almost 26 and still trying to get my career off the ground. I know though that it will happen. I am smart, hard-working and talented, and  any company would be lucky to have me, I just have to find the right opportunity and someone has to take a chance.