life after a masters; what’s next?

2020, career, student

Hello!

Just short of a year ago I started my masters in digital media production at Oxford Brookes University and in normal circumstances I’d be days away from handing in my dissertation, but with the pandemic my deadline has been pushed back by six weeks so I now have until the end of October to finish my dissertation and find a job.

And it’s mildly terrifying.

Last time I finished a degree I spent a year being rejected from probably over a hundred jobs and that had a massive impact on my already low self esteem, so subconsciously I think I’m really nervous about that. But I can’t just not think about what happens after my masters because I have lots of work left to do (like a lot of work left to do…) – although it doesn’t feel like it now, life will go on after October 29th and if I don’t think about it till then, it’s just going to make things more difficult.

What I need to happen is to jump straight into a full time job – although many of my peers from my undergraduate degree found companies they loved and still work with straight away, I’m not expecting that. I just need to get my foot on the lowest rung of the ladder and start climbing, however many steps it takes to get there (wherever ‘there’ is).

But with being so unsuccessful two years ago, I just don’t know how I’m going to get a job when I don’t feel like I’m good enough. After so much rejection, I feel like I just don’t know how to get a job, even though I’ve actually worked two retail jobs since then so I’m not totally unemployable.

It all feels so far away but too close simultaneously – I see so many people I know whether they be media graduates I studied with, people I went to school with or random people I follow online working their asses off to get what they want to achieve and I feel like I have the drive and the motivation but I don’t feel like I’m skilled enough. Every job spec I look at feels so overwhelming and unachievable and I’m not good enough at it.

But actually? I’ve done my fair share of working my ass off. I’ve got a Post-Graduate Certificate and I’m so close to finishing my masters at the most unorganised, least supportive uni I’ve ever heard of,  I live in a house with the love of my life, we’re saving for a wedding and a house deposit, I’ve got the best support network of friends I could ever dream of having and I have a whole future ahead of me.

Do I know where I want it to go? Absolutely not – there are lots of areas that interest me and I think I’d be happy in any of them. Is there a whole multitude of jobs and industries that I still don’t know about to explore? Absolutely – having grown up at an incredibly academic middle class grammar school, there wasn’t much outside of doctor, teacher, engineer, lawyer – very obvious jobs that you can find in a kids book. Multimedia journalist was beyond their repertoire. TV camera operator? Nope, they’d probably class it as ‘low skill’. Even photography was wiped from the A Level options when I was in sixth form because it wasn’t academic enough.

I am creative – I love words and telling stories. I love data – comparing analytics, noticing trends, making spreadsheets, graphs and lists. I love coloured pens and post it notes! I love answering emails and organising calendars. I love working with creative people that can bounce ideas around and come up with something incredible as a team. I love the idea of sitting in an open, comfy, modern office space and taking myself off occasionally, finding a Spotify playlist and listening to piano instrumentals while my fingers type faster than I can think.

I have good, employable skills. I just need to get out the mindset that someone needs to ‘give me a chance’, because there is something out there for me and I will earn it; I am not a risk.

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

there IS more to life than job hunting, I promise | diary 5

2019, career

Hello!

My favourite kinds of blog posts to write are long, rambly chatty ones – the kind of thing that I would say to a friend over a coffee when I’ve gone off on one a little bit and then reaching a nice, conclusive positive note at the end.

And these last fews week have been very heavy in job applications, thinking about my career and actually working to make progress on it so I thought I’d do a little update both to document my own progress (that’s the ‘diary’ aspect of this post!) BUT ALSO I’ve been applying for career related jobs for over a year now and to be honest? It’s soul destroying – I reckon I’ve applied for over a hundred jobs at this point and getting rejection email after rejection email makes you start to think not only that you might not ever get a job, but that you don’t deserve one. HOWEVER I want to remind anyone who might be feeling like this (or is feeling nervous approaching their final university years!) that there is a positive ending and progress will happen.

Everyone’s on their own journey!

So I did a pretty detailed explanation of my last year of job hunting in my latest graduate life update but I’d say I took a pretty significant break from applying for jobs between November and January and when I came back to it in February? I felt so much better.

I had a more solid idea of what I really want, I had time to reevaluate and feel passionate about jobs again rather than just throwing my CV at any vaguely relevant job and consequently my applications have been more genuine and I’ve started to see results. Most of that is down to applying for significantly less jobs but spending much more time on them – working on a cover letter that was genuine, relevant and emphasised the most useful experience on my CV.

For example, I recently applied for a New Journalism Traineeship with ITV and I really made the most of the ‘save draft’ feature in their application process. I wrote down the questions and spend the best part of two weeks working intermittently on the questions, really paying attention to how their shows are produced and doing what I could do maximise my chances. By the time I submitted the application (admittedly, on deadline day) I was so proud of it and I was in a position where I felt like I had genuinely done my best and the rest was out of my hands.

As well as ITV, I’ve found a number of jobs recently that I got really properly excited about and that’s really what I needed – I was so much more personally ready to apply for those jobs.

What really helped was a call from my university’s career office – I’m not sure what prompted the call but the first action point from it all was to rejig my CV. He went through and gave me lots of detailed feedback which I then went through and implemented whilst also redesigning my CV. It didn’t need a new design but I thought if I was going to have to change so much of it I may as well enjoy the design element too!

And, I mean, look how cute it is!

obviously some bits I’ve had to make sure are obscured, I don’t have lines and a giant mouse pointer on my CV 😂

I spent a solid few weeks working on this between work and working on my own projects (i.e. blogging, youtube, volunteering) but I’m genuinely so pleased with the final product.

And all of the waiting, the time reevaluating and the hard work is beginning to pay off – yesterday I had a really positive job interview (I should hear back today…!), got a rejection email from the ITV application and then got an exciting email about a BBC Journalism Traineeship development which I will work on later this week! So yesterday was a very full day for job related news and it was the most positive job related day I’ve had in a very long day!

Even if it ends up that I don’t get any of the jobs, it’s all been such amazing experience and I feel so much better about it all now. I know that I do deserve a job and I’m more than capable of doing a job in the field I want to work in.

So here it is – I spent so long being so unsuccessful and it really did start to have a negative effect on me but I stepped back, took some time to do some research and figure out what I want, pave out a few options for myself and I’m just now starting to see the next stage of my journey in the distance. It’s looking good lads.

If you’re feeling lost of hopeless, I thoroughly recommend taking some time for yourself and reflecting because it might just reignite your passion. Everything will work out with hard work and perseverance.

“Everything will be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” (John Lennon)

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram