Most graduates can identify with Luisa Downey, the Brazilian-born graduate who spent two years applying for job after job without success.
But few show the kind of entrepreneurial spirit Luisa did when she finally got desperate and started handing out her CV to commuters on the train each morning.
Luisa even resorted to wearing a sandwich board in central London to advertise her skills.
Within a week of resorting to self-advertising Luisa had received 13 emails from interested prospective employers and had several interviews in the pipeline.
Now employers are chasing her.
Same CV, same skills, same person, so what was the difference? Luisa got desperate enough to do four things that will help any graduate get a job.
1. Luisa showed she really wanted the job
Luisa got desperate and began showing that she really wanted the right job – one in advertising. She was driven by the fact that her visa was due to run out within a few months and this spurred her into taking drastic action. Recent research shows that some employers can receive up 160 job applications for every post advertised and this is certainly true for the industry Luisa wanted to go into.
2. Luisa sold the relevant skills for the job
Luisa was looking for a job in advertising and used the number one skill required to succeed in the industry: she sold her own skills. She demonstrated entrepreneurial vision, business awareness and persistence. A potential employer would easily be able to see proof of the very skills she has listed on her CV as well as the potential value these skills could bring to their own company.
3. Luisa stood out from the crowd
By getting out there and handing out her CV Luisa made herself visible. She stood out from the many thousands of other graduates looking for a similar job but who haven’t had the bottle to do something different from other people in order to get one. In a competitive graduate job market such as ours you need to stand out from the crowd. She demonstrated that she has the capability to use her initiative and to think outside the box.
4. Luisa persevered
Recent research from High Fliers shows that 36 per cent of graduates give up on trying to find a graduate level job within two years of graduating and settle for a lower skill role instead. Luisa didn’t. She demonstrated perseverance and persistence, skills that are prized among employers not just in advertising but in a whole host of roles.
In a nutshell Luisa demonstrated job-finding skills
Most graduates haven’t been taught how to find a job and so many stumble when it comes down to finding one. All of the skills mentioned above could be summed up as job finding skills for a new recruitment era – showing a knowledge of the industry, demonstrating good communication skills, showing that you are proactive, and creating a personality for yourself that will help you appear interesting in a job interview. Luisa did not rely solely on traditional ways of finding a job but got face to face with potential employers.
If you have been looking for a job for a long time Luisa’s story should give hope and encouragement as it shows that it isn’t always that you don’t have the right skills for a job. Perhaps your CV isn’t selling what you have to offer an employer effectively enough. Luisa took hers right off the page! The most important thing you can do for yourself is to demonstrate that you have the skills you are trying to convince employers about on your CV. Start doing the job you are looking for. Show proof of why an employer should choose you over someone else. Find ways to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t wait for other people. Make something happen yourself.