Friday, 4 September 2009

Jambothejourno seeks work: Part 5

After the blind hope that was the deluge of applications I submitted throughout August, the arrival of September has been a depressing realisation of the summer's passing. It's now three months since I finished my degree, and I'm no nearer to finding full-time work as a journalist. I've applied for around 25 jobs, had only one interview, and received only two or three rejection letters.

I'm starting to think I might be kidding myself that I'm in the right industry. Clearly, something is stopping employers from wanting to give me a job, although I'm lost as to what it could be. I have a decent amount of experience through work placements, I relished taking on projects during my degree, and I have four NCTJ industry standard qualifications, including shorthand, already under my belt, as well as my degree. However, I did hear that the Yorkshire Post job I applied for a couple of months ago had over 250 other people going for it.

As if to compound my misery, in the last fortnight or so there has been a distinct drying up of entry-level journalism posts coming up. One particular website has just five listings – with none of them paid. It's pretty grim reading.

The local press is no happier a hunting ground either. The regional daily paper didn't have a single job listing in it this morning, and the twice-weekly town paper is down to around a third of a page on jobs each issue. And almost all of those are for carers or cleaners or factory packers.

A friend of mine who had been unlucky with redundancies over the last eighteen months or so, and has been in and out of work, recommended I sign on, but with the part-time bar work I'm doing I would only be eligible for around £10 a week support, depending on my shifts. And, for some reason, applying for Jobseekers' Allowance feels like admitting that I'm incapable of getting myself a job. Which of course I am, but I don't think I'm ready to admit it by taking that step yet.

There is one job I'm applying for – at the Isle of Man newspaper group. Leaving the country might seem a bit of an extreme reaction but I loved the place when I visited on holiday as a teenager. Rather than just e-mailing my CV and a covering letter in like most other jobs, I had to fill in an application form, although this is mostly just transferring sections from my CV onto the page.

Consequently, I've spent hours and hours researching the island and the company, as well as tweaking my supporting documentation note, to see if there's anything I can tell them to make me stand out. I've wanted every job I've gone for, give or take a couple of hit-and-hope type applications, but I really, really want this one. And if nothing comes of it, I genuinely don't know what I'm going to do next. Without wanting to sound too melodramatic, it feels like this is last chance saloon territory.

This piece was written for the Guardian.

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