The job market is a vast and scary place. We all know we’re going to have to fight to carve a niche in our industry, and it’s even scarier for fresh graduates, whose dreams of swanning into a high paying job have been destroyed and who now have to fight for work against people with NO degree but real life experience.
In this vacuum of scared and frightened talent a few gems emerge- bright sparks who manage to stand out from their fellow job hunters by dint of their intelligence, focus and dedication. When these bright sparks emerge they are feted by the media, envied by their peers and rise meteorically to great jobs in their industry. Great for them- seriously, kudos for their effort- but it does leave everyone else feeling rather deflated and envious. If you’re a perpetual B/C student you’re used to being overlooked for those who can debate as well as they can eat and produce the type of clever analytic essays that have teachers wooing them; but it was nice to think that when you entered the job market these glaring discrepancies would be ironed out. Sure, there are always leaders and followers, bosses and grunts, but ideally you’d have a lot of people who were a team and that would generally be good enough.
The rise of the super hungry job seeker has left a lot of people scared and uncomfortable- even those who are actually in position of a full time job. Younger people will take less money, work later nights, and often lack the extra pressure of family commitments /mortgage payments etc that those older might have, (Yes, this is a generalisation, but that’s the point of this piece).
I came across Celine is looking for a fashion job recently, an online CV/portfolio of Celine, a young French girl looking for a job. She created a slick online website with a magazine feel that lists her qualifications, her goals, and displays some very pretty photos of her. It also links to a personal blog where she writes about style. My first thought was ‘Wow’- it’s clever, well executed and looks very slick. My second thought was ‘Oh’- and that was slightly less exciting. She’s remarkably pretty, she’s very talented and she’s very young- combined with a huge ambition- makes hers somehow seem like a threat. Not a threat to me directly- her goals are different from mine- but an acknowledgement of the general threat of young hungry people and how they are making me feel inadequate. Why didn’t I do a website like that? One of the main reasons would be that others existed, and you often fall into the trap of thinking that a website like this has a onetime lifespan- good for a novelty and then becomes old hat. What we forget is that not everyone has seen all the CV websites and that there’s always space for something new and fresh.
I was recently giving a lecture on how to get into journalism at the London College of Fashion, and when I asked the question, ‘Who here has a blog?’, most of the room raised their hands. Ten years ago this would of been highly unique, but advancements in tech and younger people’s greater drive has meant that most media savvy students will be putting themselves ‘out there’ in some form on the internet.
There have recently been spates of intelligent video resumes, of which some of the creators have had multiple job offers. How much effort did it take them to make these? A small amount of money, some time and a huge amount of self belief and self worth. It paid off for these individuals- they’ve been noted and judged by the world and have come back with gold stars on their report cards.
Graeme Anthony Public Relations CV
Perhaps the real story here is to do with their self worth and self confidence- as this might be the area that I’m most uncomfortable with. Having always been a fairly awkward when young, my confidence has grown with life experience and work successes- and seeing these in your face online resumes from people fresh out of university makes me wonder how they have managed to be so self assured so young- and if by doing so they have already ‘beaten’ me.
The lesson to learn here is that it’s OK to be impressed with young people producing high quality online content and aggressively targeting their industries, but it’s important to realize that they do this because of the struggle, not in spite of it. I may think Celine’s ‘find me a fashion job’ online resume is very impressive, but her last post suggests she is still job hunting, so rather than fear her, I should attempt to nurture and help her and other graduates, as this is how we will recruit the strongest brightest talent into our industries. Let’s move away from this high school mentality where we are scared of the popular kids and be adult about things- in the job market, you’re judged on your worth not your handbag so let’s just cut everyone some slack- including yourself.