Hunting for Jobs (a wily and elusive prey)


When I graduated from uni this summer I felt I was pretty well prepared. I’d studied a subject I was intensely passionate about, came out with a really good degree and had completed two work placements during the summer of my final year. However I wasn’t ready for the sheer volume of graduates who were in effect my competition. I only realised how tough things were going to get when I took part in the D&AD New Blood exhibition, an event probably familiar to anyone involved with graphic design in the UK. There were literally tens of thousands of students, from colleges up and down the country and abroad, and coming from a college with a total student body of around 1000, it scared me. Pretty much terrified me. I left feeling very depressed indeed about my future job prospects.

And from talking to my friends and to people I’ve met since graduating, this is definitely not a phenomenon exclusive to the design industry, it is a common across every walk of life. Students are leaving university with three years of ‘education’ that has left them without any clue as to how the real world operates.

Is this a bad thing? After three years of dossing and drinking isn’t it about time that graduates wake up and smell the carbon polluted real world? Well from the graduates/my own point of view, yes, it’s a bad thing. It’s left them/me feeling that we’ve somehow missed something from our university experience. They/me are wondering how it can be that they seem to be less qualified for a job now that they have a degree. The problem is explained by a simple Catch 22 situation; employers will always favour those candidates with professional experience and the graduate is unable to get this vital experience, because the employer will always favour those with experience etc. etc.

My point? Well partly I’m just grumbling. To be fair we were warned, memorably by one visiting lecturer who told us we should have started looking for jobs, “a month ago”, and this in February of our final year! With hindsight I probably would have made more of an effort to make myself employable once I graduated. Of course in my complacency I honestly believed in some wierd Utopian dream where I would move to a spacious London flat, find a well paid job working for a shiny, ethical graphic design agency and hang out with cool, but unpretentious arty types. So far, getting on for three months since graduation, I have achieved not one of those aims.


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