An attempt of a University of Warwick History and Politics graduate to find worthwhile employment in a difficult job market.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Jobtained. Mission Accomplished. That's all folks!

Well I really didn't expect to be writing my last post today.

So the assessment day went rather well. Again it was a bit different to my previous experiences but this time in a very good way!

The interview and discussion about my prepared work I thought went perfectly. I didn't panic under the pressure of the questions like I have done before and didn't waffle or bodge any answers. My work seemed to impress and the conversation flowed well between myself and the interviewers.

Following that I had a communications test, group exercise and test on different scenarios that could happen in the role. I didn't really struggle except from a few of the questions in the final test but overall I was pleased with my day and was exceptionally thankful to the people conducting the interviews and assessments for being so hospitable and generous.

What I particularly enjoyed and found useful was a chat with a few of the recent grads on the scheme over lunch which was very informal and honest. This really helped me feel at ease and see that this role would be something that I would find interesting.

When the day was over I went into the city to meet my friend Jason from university and a couple of hours later I was thrilled to receive a call in which they offered me a place! I was delighted and shocked: particularly as I was under the impression that I would be told next week! My job hunt was over!

So this, I'm afraid, is the end of Get Jon A Job!

I have really enjoyed writing this blog and will miss putting my thoughts and opinions into words. Luckily for you, you fantastic reader, this is not the end of my blogging days! I also write for a political themed blog called The Political Animal. So if you don't mind me being a bit politically minded and intellectual at times and are wondering what to do with the void that not reading this blog will leave, there's your answer. Also, it's not just me writing that blog, there are a number of authors mainly from my old school.

Before I go, I would also like to thank and wish the best of luck to a few people and organisations.

First off, I know that I'm not the only one looking for work out there. During my time writing the blog and updating the twitter account I came across two people who are also struggling.
One, Lucy in Falmouth who is looking for work in the sector of film and production - keep it going and I'm sure you'll find something amazingly cool very soon! Her blog is here.
Two, Rachael in Liverpool. An MA student who is looking for work in politics which I personally know from experience is hard. Your further studies and political contacts will no doubt find you something fantastic too! Her blog is here.

I would also like to give a mention to Karen, whose Singchester blog is one of the best ones I have come across and was very kind in her words about my ideas. Thank you again!

Other people who have tweeted about me are: @michaeljdsmith and @charlie_elise. Thank you both!

All of those people above are worth following on Twitter here:

Next, I would like to thank the wonderful staff at Jobsite (@jobsiteuk) and Milkround (@milkroundonline) who tweeted about my blog posts and saw my page viewings soar as a consequence. Without your help and encouragement then I wouldn't have thought this was worth it and I am so thankful for such simple yet effective help. Please do keep up this brilliant work and help as many people like me in the future! You are a credit to your industry and were genuinely helping a graduate find work opportunities and it made me respect you so much more than your competitors, so a massive thank you.

I would also like to say a quick thanks to people who worked at organisations or groups that I tweeted and replied, "follow friday"d or just tweeted about my blog - whether it was a job I applied for or discussion I was involved in. Not only did that make me smile and help promote my campaign, it made the effort feel worth it even if I was unsuccessful in the roles and I got a job outside of Twitter and the blog.
So thank you to: @stdunstansnews @WarwicKnowledge @BraveNewTalent @colalife @ShakespeareBT @uclanfeatures and @NMMGreenwich.

Finally, a thank you to my friends and family who have helped and encouraged me throughout writing this blog. You all know who you are but thank you so much for your help and support. It meant the world to me.
Those who really helped are: @ml_sheppard @wopunga @sabottle and @charlie109.

What I would say to anyone who has read this who is in the same boat and is hesitant about starting a similar campaign, is DEFINITELY DO IT! This could be the future of job hunting and to be a pioneer and inspire others would only inflate my ego to incalculable levels. In all seriousness though, this was a real joy to do and I almost wish it wouldn't end... except that there is a pay check awaiting me in the path I have now got myself on.

Right, well I think that really is everything. Except the last thing to mention is that you can still follow me on Twitter, my personal account is @jon244. Trust me to make the most irrelevant blog post the longest one. I humbly apologise.

Over and out,


"We must be the change we want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, 5 September 2011

Fearing assessment centres

Tomorrow I have an assessment day for a graduate scheme. My track record so far is not fantastic, but also not disastrous.

This will be my fourth assessment day, and have had some similar experiences yet each time they have had their unique moments.

What I liked about the email that I received before the assessment day was that there was preliminary work linked to the work itself. I think this is a brilliant idea as it makes the job application more important to me and gets me into the role more, and it allows the company to see my own work in action.

While seeing my teamwork skills by putting me and strangers in a fictional desert where we have to prioritise items may be empirically useful, but a scenario such as that is actually unrealistic and not truthful in real life.

I'm still expecting the useless time-wasting scenarios, however the prepared work and discussion about that I hope will be a prominent part of the decision process and allow me to shine properly.

I'll be updating about how it goes maybe tomorrow, but maybe the day after - it will be a long day!


Friday, 2 September 2011

Breaking into Westminster.

After studying and working in politics briefly, I am keen to find meaningful employment in this sector - whether it is within or outside the doors of Westminster.

Despite politicians having a bad press right now universally, I believe that everyone who aspires to become an MP does so with good and honest intentions. I feel that I could enter that world but would get frustrated with the system, that nothing could be truly changed on my own.

Instead, I would enjoy working on behalf of politicians, government departments, think tanks or lobbying organisations.

What I love about politics is the ability to make changes happen and make other people's lives better. Having that kind of power is intriguing and I would love to be part of a decision process of some kind.

Working for an organisation that lobbies the government possibly would be the most rewarding role. Particularly for a charity or not-for-profit organisation that really makes a difference to the people or things they focus on. In a role which was about policy decisions for such organisations or campaigning and coordinating is something which I have skills in and am naturally competent in.

I have applied for such roles before and got an interview for a three month internship for a leading charity. While this was one of my earlier interviews and I made some errors on the day, I have learnt from these mistakes and am still keen to carry out such roles.

Having worked in Westminster under my new MP last summer, I got a taste of life as a parliamentary assistant. I spent time in the offices at Portcullis House as well as following my MP on constituency days as well as sitting in on the surgery. I was trusted with important casework and assisted the other staff in administration, organisation and preparation for a number of things including questions to the House, meeting a local organisation and implementing an entirely new filing system.

I feel I got a vast amount of experience from spending time in Westminster, and have applied for similar permanent roles. The difficulty is that I got a response from one such position saying that they had 150 people apply for the one assistant role - so I stood no chance!

Breaking into Westminster (metaphorically) seems harder than breaking up with Tom on Myspace.

In other news: I'm currently doing some part time work to tide me over at my first job, I have had another meeting with the council's archive today about the Historypin project, something that will take a while it seems, and have an assessment centre on Tuesday for a graduate scheme in marketing strategy which is in Oxford (a role you may have read me talking about the application process before, well this should be my first and only trip to Oxford unless I get the job - fingers crossed!)

At least things are moving, of course I'll keep you readers updated with any further progress on anything!

Typed with kindness and gratitude,


Twitter: @getjonajob

"Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have." Sir Winston Churchill

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Finding doors into the media world.

I don't remember a time when I wasn't fascinated by the media. When I was little, I could recite pretty much every advert on TV and have always been interested in acting.

Looking into getting jobs in the world of the media, while it is an expanding Market in many ways with social media and new marketing methods being deployed - it remains hard. Particularly for someone like me who has that interest and passion but has only got an A in AS Level Media Studies.

So here's my plea to any media employers who might be reading this....

I have so much enthusiasm for working in the media, what drives me most in this area is the constant change and innovation we see there. The Internet, being possibly the biggest advancement in communication technology ever, is changing how businesses operate and target their customers. The markets are slowly all becoming universal and open to all and the media marketing strategies need adapting to accomodate this change.

Working with these new media techniques is something that brings me great joy. I have become competent at Adobe Photoshop since before my studies in Media at school and have taught myself a lot of detailed techniques since. I set up a flash mob society at the University of Warwick and used Facebook and YouTube to organise events - have a look here.

Finally, if this blog and the Twitter account that you may or may not have been directed to it from wasn't enough to show I have a good working knowledge of it's uses and heaps of initiative and innovative drive behind me then I don't know how else to show you!

I'm very much motivated by new ideas and different ways of doing things, shown particularly by the flash mob society. I am pursuing a new business idea that requires a large and complex website to be set up along with an app alongside it. I'm not afraid of looking at these new ideas and seeing where they lead.

I have come close to securing impressive positions at graduate level, including being within the final 112 applicants of 4000 who submitted for the BBC Production Trainee Scheme. I really believe that I would do a fantastic job in a similar position due to my ideas-driven persona and would also be interested in positions around marketing using my knowledge of social media.

... So, there you have it. I have applied for media jobs recently as well as campaigning jobs for charities, so we will see how this kind of application goes. I really am not limiting myself to one kind of job and I will next be writing about why I apply for jobs in politics, my third passion.

Stay lucky,


Twitter: @getjonajob

"Don't hate the media, become the media." Jello Biafra (someone I don't usually associate myself I must add...)

Friday, 26 August 2011

Why I want a career in History.

What I'm most fascinated by history is the sheer scale of how much there is still to learn. Now, I don't mean going further and further back in time, which can be exceptionally interesting, but there are so many hidden and forgotten pasts which are just as intriguing and enthralling as those already in the collective knowledge of historians.

Everyone has a history. Everyone has a story to tell. It's those stories that get forgotten if they are only recorded in the individual libraries that are people's memories. Those stories which are worth telling (often again and again) and the ones that have lessons or meaning are so important to hear and learn about if the human race is to progress. History is an anthropological study of the past and is fundamentally about human behaviour. There's a lot of value and worth in people and far too many are forgotten.

What I would love to do with my life is preserve at least a small fraction of other people's history for future generations to learn from. That's what I loved so much about Historypin: it was creating a digital history of the world and anyone can contribute their own stories and memories to it.

I have written before about my plans to set up a community project centred around history, using Historypin as a platform and building on it. Well it seems like I wasn't the only one with that idea...

Looking through one of my favourite job sites today I found a role which is to create a history of a place using various methods over two years. As nothing concrete has been established here in Kent yet, I applied (with a large degree of enthusiasm) and will see what happens. Not sure if they will take the gamble with someone with non real experience in that sort of thing, but then I acknowledged that in my application and hopefully my passion will show through! I would definitely love the job and give it all I can!

Why there is such a negativity about the arts and heritage in the jobs market right now I don't know. At university it seemed that the only jobs in the world were Business, Economics, Marketing, Engineering, Law and IT. Those students must be laughing all the way to their cubicles in Canary Wharf. Sorry, that's just not for me.

I really want to make a difference to real people and real history. Not pushing intangible money around a spreadsheet working in an artificial world.

As the American writer Denis Waitley put it: "Chase your passion, not your pension."

Have a great weekend everyone!


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

All work (finding) and no (more) play .... Makes Jon a glad boy.

Well I'm sure you - all of my avid and wholehearted supporters and readers - have gone out of your minds as I haven't updated for nearly a fortnight!

To put your minds to rest and feed the irreplaceable hole that has left you feeling like you have no purpose anymore... no wait, that's just me. Anyway, I have been away on a family holiday which was very enjoyable despite it simultaneously being in the most dreadful location ever - that which has no wifi!

Plus, I am still without permanent employment, so no change really! However just because I have been away doesn't mean things haven't been changing... Here's an update of my situation:

GOOD NEWS! Well, relatively. The graduate scheme in Oxford that I applied for (that wanted me to travel there for one hour to do tests before maybe going up again for an assessment centre) have seen sense and sent me online tests to do instead! Hurrah! No waste of money is needed and I will sit down today or tomorrow to give them my best shot.

BAD NEWS! (I imagined saying these in the voices of the KFC advert voice-over guy.) I had a couple of rejections from political jobs I applied for a few weeks back. One of them had 150 applicants!

INDIFFERENT NEWS! I signed up for a few mystery shopping agencies a few weeks ago, as that sounded like a good job to do as I have time on my hands. I got a few updates but nothing in my area so didn't really pursue it, but then out of the blue I got a phone call from one of the agencies who wanted me to conduct a visit on Monday, which I did and thoroughly enjoyed. Hopefully my work was good enough for them and I get more opportunities. I had to act as someone else, which took me back to my drama days as a teenager!

I'll be getting back into the swing of job hunting in the next few days and I'll let all you wonderful people know what happens with them. The holiday was great but I'm equally as happy to be back and channeling my energy into this campaign.

Not a day went by where I wasn't wishing to update this! I missed writing down my thoughts and what I have been up to. I expect no sympathy, all I ask is your forgiveness and I promise that I will never leave you again... Except maybe if this works and I get a job or I'm still going at 85 and my fingers have become numb with the typing.

In the meantime, thanks again to everyone who has helped me so far. A big thank you goes out to Milkround and Jobsite who have tweeted and retweeted about me, many thanks you guys - my appreciation is unending!

Anyway, excuse me - I have a job to find.


Twitter: @getjonajob

On a side note, I'm going to give blood next week. If you're healthy and not utterly petrified of needles, definitely do it. It makes you feel fantastic, you save lives and you get a free cup of tea and a biscuit at the end. What's not to love?!

Do something amazing. Give blood.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Do companies that hire graduates from "any discipline" walk the walk?

I must have spoken to hundreds of recruiters at careers fairs and read multiple graduate scheme adverts which state that they would employ a graduate from "any discipline".

The lure of the financial organisations, marketing companies and sales roles and the big OTE bonuses is often hard to resist when you are a younger and more naive History and Politics undergraduate. I remember applying for an internship for the summer after first year with one of the 'Big 4' financial services corporations, being hooked by the "any discipline" line. I got the phone interview but by that stage it became apparent that I really didn't know enough about the industry and therefore wasn't invited to the assessment centre.

As it turns out, I believe I dodged a bullet there. Since then I have heard of the horrific working hours of such roles and I know now that such intensity is not for me.

To me it seems that business is getting bigger and bigger nowadays but only within itself. What I mean is the endless consultants, training, development agencies, management layers and support workers are just out there to justify their existence. Hardly anyone in the UK seems to make or do anything anymore! It's all corporate strategy, financial planning or sales research. I just want to be out there, making a real difference and making people's lives better.

Oh no! I'm starting to sound like a young politician, or a communist. Let me backtrack a little.

I'm an ideas man. I am motivated by innovative methods, new concepts and interesting thoughts. I couldn't think of anything worse to do than Actuary or Tax Advice... No offense to those who do or want to do such things! While I am also quite good with numbers (with an A in A-Level Maths), working all day with risk, spreadsheets or corporate snobs just isn't for me.

However, the roles of marketing and media are areas that I do have more interest in. Earlier this year I reached an assessment centre for a graduate position with a large company looking at marketing strategy on behalf of other corporations with a view to brand development. I was interested in this role and despite not getting further than the assessment centre, my feedback stated that I did well but made a couple of small errors.

Having performed well, the other (secret) reason I didn't get the job was that the other people at the assessment centre were mainly business and marketing students or graduates. Did I really stand much of chance? Not unless they all got out of bed the wrong way and insulted the interviewers - which it appears didn't happen that time.

So here's my message to employers: if you are hiring for an graduate accountant engineer sales advisor assistant trainee executive or whatever ridiculous titles the are nowadays and want someone who knows quite a bit about that sort of thing, then target specifically the accounting & finance, business management, and economics graduates and leave us arty farty students with our aspirations alone. Let's face it, why would you hire a historian? Even if I could do the role competently - you have no interest in the 17th century. Save us the disappointment of being one of the people who applied with the faint hope of you sticking to your word, only to be left out.

My conclusion: in job descriptions "any discipline" means "any related discipline". Fact.

I realise that this has become a slight rant, so I would like to end on a positive note. That's to thank all of you sending in your support and helping me in any way you can on Twitter. It really is giving me a lot of encouragement and I appreciate it immensely, so thanks - you're all brilliant people! Good luck to all those who have got in contact in the same boat too!


Twitter: @getjonajob

"Corporations cannot commit treason, or be outlawed or excommunicated, for they have no souls." Sir Edward Coke