A Question On Interim Jobs – No sex please, We’re British!!!
I was recently sent an email from a B.A.International Business 1st Class Honours graduate of Middlesex University London. A full six months after graduating, he was still trying to navigate the job-hunting process and with little success.
To some extent, the University had given him some leads to potential jobs through their International network of campuses in Dubai, Malta and Mauritius, but after numerous applications, and almost zero responses, he was getting desperate. The same was true for the numerous online job boards he visited, applying to one job after another only to face silence, or if he was lucky, the standard
I want to thank you for your application to the position of __________ with [Company Name]. I have reviewed your application but for now feel that your credentials are not the best match for our current open position.
Your application will be placed on file for 90 days. If you would like to apply for another open position within the company, please feel free to do so at any time.
Thank you for considering us, and please accept my best wishes for your future.
Needless to say, London is a mightily expensive city to live in and having moved out of his parents modest suburban semi-detached, he desperately needed money to pay for basics. Now, anyone that knows London would also know that many small businesses, like café’s, grocery stores, newsagents et cetera often post job vacancies in the shop front window, and he was asking me whether or not to take up one such job to tie him over until he finally is able to secure a job in international business development, which is really what he wanted to do.
Jokingly, he mentioned that his failure to get any attention from the number of International companies he had applied to might have something to do with having graduated from a University with “sex” in the name! - No, he was not now fully versed in the finer techniques of intimacy, but this little joke does somewhat highlight the challenges faced by graduates of lesser known universities in securing a job relevant to their educational background. In this case, it is not that Middlesex University is a university of bad reputation and ranking, and it is certainly not that case that certain graduates from Middlesex may be less intelligent that graduates from top ranked, and much better known Cambridge University. The simple truth is that people in the position of hiring can probably name no more than 100 universities off the top of their head, and are likely to take notice of students from familiar universities when viewing applications side by side.
So now this young chap was faced with the decision on whether of not to take a job at a local supermarket fronting shelves whilst continuing his job search.
Work Hours and Energy - By all means take an interim job if it is not too taxing, and by this I mean that you need to still have energy left at the end of your shift to hit the Internet and continue your search for that dream job. Many of us early on in our careers have worked that “interim” job that completely drains you of energy and will, so that by the time you get home, you just want to vegetate and fall asleep in front of the TV. Make sure your shift is not too long and the workload not too strenuous.
Getting trapped - Do not take your eye off the ball! This is an interim job to tie you over. It may pay the bills, and you might even enjoy it, but the truth is, the longer you are at it, the more likely this “irrelevant” experience will dilute the resume you put forward to future potential employers.
To include or not? - You are applying for that dream white-collar job. Should you include your work experience at that bar or grocery store in your resume? The whole point of the resume is to get your foot in the door. I would advise to omit your interim job experience if it has no relevance to the job you are applying for. Yes, this may leave a large gap in your resume, but the truth is that hiring managers do not have time to read and analyse every application, and rarely spend more than a minute glancing over a resume, picking out the key words. They are unlikely to notice gaps unless they are blatantly obvious or extremely long. Omission may be considered deceptive, but all you want is to be granted that interview, and you will have every opportunity to fill in the gaps during the interview.
Notice periods and days off - You need to ensure that you are available! It is unlikely that your interim employer demands a long notice period, but make sure you ask what the notice period is before you take the job. Make sure it is no longer than 3 months as your dream company may not be willing to wait that long. And make sure that you have some days off so you can schedule an interview if you get that call.
Be open - Take the interim job, but be open with your temporary new employers that you are actually looking for a career in whatever industry and that you intend to keep looking. For them, finding a replacement is relatively easy and they will think no less of you for wanting to advance your career.
Don’t give up – Set aside minimum one hour a day to continue your job search. Register with an employment agency, browse and apply for jobs on job boards, send in your resume to job postings in the newspaper, apply to jobs on company career portals, and register and activate your profile on Quimojo.
Quimojo was developed as an efficient method for employers to source for graduates located in any location and educated in any discipline. In the coming years, we envision Quimojo helping students from the thousands of lesser known universities and colleges around the world. You do not need an Oxbridge or Ivy League school on your resume to get that dream job. Middlesex graduate? You will do nicely thank you! Ask Dame Helen Mirren (Middlesex University Alumni).
Dean Owen, Co-Founder, Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment
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