If you don’t have a grad job by now, you wasted your time at uni
The people who got on the grad scheme ahead of you actually deserved it
There’s a widely held belief that if you somehow manage to scrape a 2:1 in a decent enough course you’ll be able to comfortably cruise into the warm embrace of a cushy grad job purely on your academic record. Back when uni wasn’t somewhere literally everyone went, a 2:1 was a highly-prized degree, good enough for average grads from bog-standard unis to sail into the middle-of-the-payscale HR or recruitment jobs they so desperately craved.
Now though, in a world of football management courses and higher education courses located in the desolate wastelands of Bolton, you need to be doing a lot more, a lot earlier.
You may slag off the eyebrow-shaving, shotgunning hooligans on the Rugby team, but with KPMG as their sponsors every social is an opportunity for networking. When they’re fingering freshers and climbing aboard the banter bus, they’re doing it surrounded by their private school peers who’ll soon be doing the hiring and firing when you drag your sorry arse to their brushed chrome palaces begging for employment.
Extra-curricular activities are now the only way to stand out from the crowd, though if you think signing up for trampolining society in freshers counts as enough for the grad scheme big boys then you’re fooling yourself. Instead, you need to be showing up to career events for more than the free snacks. You need to engage with people, to brown-nose and suck up. You might laugh at the people who do this but looking like they give a shit is how they differentiate themselves from the rest of the 2:1-achieving masses.
If you want to get a job, you need to want it, it’s a simple as that. Don’t expect anyone to be surprised when you get nothing but rejections having spent three years going out and putting minimum effort into everything.
Yes, you’re clever but being naturally intelligent is no longer enough. Everyone who manages to survive three years in a semi-passable institution is capable of doing any of the grad jobs out there. If your whole uni career only consists of occasional games of five-a-side and 100 per cent attendance at the VK-drenched cheese-fest of your choice, don’t look surprised when P&G don’t come knocking.
The lucky few now working at FTSE 100 companies are there because they realised early enough that getting a job means sacrifice. Sacrificing the squad inter-railing trip, sacking off another night of the same bullshit club and actually taking your future remotely seriously.
It’s all well and good being a free-spirited doss monkey sitting beneath a tie-dyed canvas and slagging off The Man, but deep down, once the dodgy pills and hemp bracelets are gone, you’re going to wish you’d been arsed to make your CV look even vaguely employable.
If you’re reading this coming out of first or second year, don’t worry. There’s still time for you to redeem yourself in the eyes of those that could make your grad job ballin’ dreams a reality. But if you’ve just graduated without any work experience and a LinkedIn rammed with desperate attempts to pass off club promoting as “small business management” then I’m sorry to say you’ve almost certainly fucked it.
You may be tempted to write this article off as a patronising ramble by a politics grad from a thoroughly average Russell Group, and it almost definitely is. But at the end of the day, say what you want: I’ve got a job.