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Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I graduated in 2007 with a French and History degree from the University of Manchester.

The year after I graduated I was successful in getting a lot of interviews for good jobs - I mainly applied for public sector jobs and had interviews between about 15 k and 20k. They all said no and said about the experience factor. Between September 07 and May 08 I had 30 odd interviews, but at the same time did voluntary work for MIND which I enjoyed doing. I feel I gained in more ways than one as It helped me get interviews, made friends, did courses.

Then in June 08 I just took a job working for the local church which I did for 3 months and then I worked in France doing the Leonardo da Vinci programme for 3 months between Sept and December 08.

I'm now back and searching and doing voluntary work for MIND again.

I'm just looking for some thoughts on a few things.

In many ways I'm pleased with the way things have gone since university, but mostly from a personal point of view. I've enjoyed the voluntary work and gained a lot from it. I had psychosis at university due to bullying as a teenager. I was ill twice at university and my personal tutor said many would not have finished university. I can see things very differently now as I've realised some people were just idiots, but I couldn't see this as a teenager.

Since university I've been living at home with the exception of France, but I've enjoyed the voluntary work at MIND and it's helped me get interviews and I've made friends there and done courses and I feel it's done me no harm. I also had a good experience in France.

I'm not sure how to feel. I feel I did well getting a lot of interviews for good jobs, but it was all frustrating at the time, but at the same time I've been thinking it's maybe been more important to be a MIND and have the experience of working in France which was a life-enhancing experience.

I feel I've gained a lot in many respects since university, but i've really not had much money - I accumulated a lot of interviews last year, but maybe it was partly interview technique/experience.

I suppose my thoughts have been that money isn't everything as I've had my health and gained a lot through experiences I may not have had if i'd been in a job which would have given me money, but it wouldn't necessarily make me happy.

At present i'm not sure what's for the best.

With it being the credit crunch I think any job is probably good experience, so I could work in a shop or something like that and I think employers would understand. I find the whole process of trying to get a job really frustrating though !!

I really loved the experience of working abroad recently. Do people think now is the time to try and do something abroad again if possible ? I love travel, but I think you have to work at the same time to make this possible. TEFL would be a good option for this. At present i'd quite like a temp job and then after 6 months to go abroad and have some experiences there. Working in France again would be great as I speak the language.

In general is it best to just keep my options open ?

I have different ideas about jobs I could do eg public sector, something with research, maybe a more caring profession. I think people quite often change jobs, so maybe I could start something and then change if I didn't like it.

Just wondering what people think ?

I feel I have gained since university, but now I want something that gives me money and i'd like to do something abroad again if possible.

Not sure what's the best thing to do right now due to the economic situation. Do you think foreign work experience will help in the long-run ?

Thanks for any thoughts and advice you can provide.


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think now is a better time than normal to try to do new and different things, basically because it's difficult to make any serious career progression at the minute you may as well just do something you enjoy. I read somewhere about a lot of people who have found themselves redundant are seeing the economic situation to do something different, whereas normally they would try to look for another job to hop straight into - because there aren't any jobs at the minute people are going back to university to study a second degree or travelling abroad or doing all sorts like that.

    I think it's kind of inspiring that people can turn a bad situation into just a different kind of opportunity. A friend of mine has decided that because of the circumstances, he's going to do a PhD next year and become a doctor lol (of electronic engineering I think).

    In the long run we are moving towards a more global multicultural society, and I think the people who have travelled, who understand different cultures and languages, are going to be leagues ahead of everyone else.

    Finally, I agree with your point about money being secondary to quality of life / enjoyment in job - but I still want the highest paid job I can get lol :p I think I'm just driven by greed...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for the reply.

    At the moment do you think it is best to just try and get any job due to the situation.

    I could then maybe try and get abroad if I got a bit of money together.

    Not sure what the best thing to do is.
  • Emma_REmma_R Deactivated Posts: 50 Boards Initiate
    Hi there,
    Welcome to the site.org.

    The economic situation at the moment means loads of people are struggling to find work. In fact, this is probably the toughest time to graduate ever, so you need to think quite carefully (as you obviously are doing) about your strategy dealing with this. And, it goes without saying, don?t beat yourself up if you?re not recruited ? the job market is flat at the moment and there?s more competition than ever.

    It sounds like you've been doing some great stuff since leaving uni. Volunteering, especially for an organisation which places emphasis on volunteer development as Mind does, looks great on your CV. You also clearly have several strings to your bow, including speaking French, you haven't wasted time since you graduated and this will be obvious to would-be employers looking at your CV.

    However, you've also identified that jobs are important, and not just for the money. As you?ve noticed, experience is key if you?re planning any kind of career. In terms of getting your foot on the employment ladder, it's much easier to get a job from a job (if that makes sense). This is because employers want to know you have basic skills such as (and I know this sounds daft!) being able to answer the telephone properly, being able to work basic IT programmes, being able to fit in with a team of people. They want to know you're 'employment-friendly'.
    While going overseas and volunteering are both fantastic options which you seem to have explored and used well, making sure you get experience in the workplace is also extremely important. Even if the job sucks, the basic skills are invaluable, so long as you're careful you don't get stuck in a rut.

    It seems like you're a bit confused about what you want to do, work-wise, which is entirely normal but employers can spot a mile off if a candidate is just applying for the sake of a getting any job (rather than being enthusiastic and motivated by the work). It might be worth having a look at www.prospects.ac.uk or www.icould.org.uk to get an idea of some career paths. From your volunteering, it looks like maybe you've an interest in working for a charity or in the public sector, (making the world a better place basically!) so it?s worth investigating what?s out there, try charityjobs.co.uk or the Guardian on a Wednesday for this kind of work.

    You're right, of course, that you can always change jobs if you don't like what you've chosen, especially if you're aware of the other options.

    Hope that helps!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks. That's a great reply, very helpful. I've actually got a job In France now working for the University of Bordeaux. It's an internship like I did last year ie Leonardo da Vinci.

    I've started looking round for jobs as I figure if I could stay in France or stay abroad somewhere in any capacity that would be really good as the economic situation isn't going to improve overnight.

    The internship lasts until the end of May and then after that I am free. I was thinking some kind of seasonal work would be good eg in a hotel or picking fruit, but will just see whatever comes up really.

    Does anyone have any thoughts ?
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