An Open Letter to Employers

I think that many people assume that because I have a degree, I am a high-flying, career orientated kind of woman.

Many people also assume that because my degree is in English, that I will become a teacher.

Both of these statements are wrong. I don’t want to be a business stiff, working all hours in a job I hate. And whilst the idea of supporting education in a non-teacher role could be a possibility for me, I am definitely not becoming a fully-fledged teacher.

The truth is I don’t know what job I want to do. I have so many ideas running around in my head that I don’t know where to start. I want to be a writer, maybe start my own business in a number of different areas. I want to be a mother and a wife. I want a home.

And it is that last want that I am focused on in the here and now. I’ve got plenty of time to work on becoming a writer and an entrepreneur, but I want my own home now. I still live with my parents and wish to take that step into true independence.

But to do anything in this world, you are going to need money. It does, after all, make the world go round. I am willing to do anything I can in order to earn some money, to become financially stable enough to take out a mortgage, and afford to pay the bills. At the moment I am a cleaner at a children’s day nursery. It is a crummy job but it keeps me out of the job centre. I have been on Job Seekers Allowance before and do not like the way they treat people; like cattle; like scumbags.

The money I am earning, I am saving, but it will never be enough. So in order to earn enough, I am looking for another job. I don’t mind what kind of job it is. Just a job I can do will be great. Every job that I apply for is something I know I would be good at, but employers see my degree or lack of experience and ignore me.

You see, I am in a catch-22. Some employers see my degree and think I am over-qualified, that they’ll soon be looking for someone to replace this university educated career woman so there is no point in hiring me. It’s like they don’t want to believe that I would want such a job. Why would I apply for a job that I didn’t even want? Other employers see my lack of relevant experience for the higher end jobs and simply can’t be bothered to train someone.

I want to work! I have so many interests and loads of skills from my non-vocational degree that I really could work anywhere. Most areas require relevant qualifications, like care work, which is understandable, but I could work in pretty much any other area. I just need someone willing to give me a chance. I am eager to learn and work!

My wish to buy my own home is essentially the American Dream. And maybe if I was in America, employers would be more willing to offer me a job in order to achieve that dream. Here in the UK, I think there is too much emphasis on having the whole package of relevant qualifications AND experience; no one is willing to hire someone and train them up. Yes, we have apprenticeship schemes but people like me are not suitable for them. Sometimes I wish that I was from a different era. My dad has been telling me that when my Granddad was working, he could easily find another job if he decided that he didn’t want to do his job anymore; back then you could just go and speak to someone and they would offer you a job, or pass you onto to someone who did have a job opening.

Maybe I’m going about my own job hunt completely wrong. But there is nowhere where I can get some useful advice. Organizations like Connexions have an age range on them (which I have surpassed) and are for people who have a specific career path in mind. If you don’t have a precise career goal, than you can’t be helped. Sorry. Better luck next time. Here’s a job at Sainsbury’s.

And university wasn’t any help upon graduation. They were like, “Here’s your piece of paper that’s worth nine grand, there’s the door.” The careers service was again, for people with a specific career path. If you want to be a doctor, a vet, a teacher, than we know what you need to do.

For someone like me, who doesn’t want to be a doctor, a vet, or a teacher; someone who justs wants to earn some money, you are left to your own devices, never completely sure of your worth, never completely sure that you are the one employers are looking for. Every day, feeling like you are not really living; like your life is on hold until you are in a proper job and earning a decent wage.

I really hope that one day soon, I will be offered a job; given the chance to become a properly functioning member of society. Once I am financially secure, and egotistically secure (all these job rejections do take their toll), I know I will be truly happy and feel like my life is on track; that I will be able to have everything from life that I want for myself.

But for now I am calling upon employers to take a chance; not just on me, but on others like me as well. At one point, you were at the beginning of your working life and someone decided to take a chance on you. And now, being in a position of hiring and firing, you could make a difference to someone else’s life. Take that opportunity. In a country where the number of people choosing benefits over work is increasing, don’t snub the people who do actually want to work.

Yours sincerely,

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2 Responses to An Open Letter to Employers

  1. John says:

    The job market is not like lining up on a playground waiting for someone to pick you to be on their team. The job market is much more like a giant shoe-store where employers walk up and down the aisles looking for something to buy – because hiring someone is a BIG investment and an important long-term decision, even for an entry-level position.

    First, obviously, it has to be the right type of shoe; athletic, casual, formal (like resume and experience). Then it has to be the right size and “fit” too (like personality, and “clicking” with the organization; or at least the hiring manager). Finally, but perhaps most importantly, there has to be marketing. The shoes have to “jump out” from the shelves and attract the buyer’s attention. It is not a passive thing at all – the shoes have to “sell themselves” with style or color or advertising or promotions or some other unique feature that makes them more desirable and attention-grabbing than the thousands of others all around.

    My personal experience with job-hunting is that it is essential to look at it as actively and purposefully “marketing yourself”. You must first believe yourself that you are PERFECT for the organization and job at hand (not the other way around), and then you have to blatantly “sell” the hiring manager and convince them of that too. It is the most important sales job you will ever have, and even if you don’t like “selling stuff”, selling yourself with a resume, cover-letter and interview can be the difference between a dream-job and a dead-end. And if you don’t get it this time; meh, brush it off and believe that you’ll snag the next customer to walk down the shoe aisle. Maybe you realize all of this already, but I think that too many folks, especially when just starting out, view job-hunting as passively waiting to be “picked” and it is anything but that.

    • sophie king says:

      Thanks for the comment, some good advice there.

      I’m definitely not passively job hunting. Everyday, I am looking for vacancies, making applications, sometimes even sending speculative emails to companies I might like to work for; actively trying to find a job. Although I may be passive in the sense that once I have sent my cv or application form, I just wait to hear from them. Maybe I could do more to stand out?

      I am very aware that my self-marketing skills are not up to scratch for the very competitive job hunt. I’m trying to sell the little work experience I do have but I do sometimes feel like I am being cliché; everyone writes that they are eager to learn new skills don’t they. How to make yourself stand out is my problem. I’ve read articles online about being friendly etc in cover letters but I always end up writing the boring things that I think employers are expecting. Like I said in the post, I have gotten no real advice about the whole job hunting process, so I’m just winging it really.

      If you have any advice or ideas on how to market myself better, I would truly be grateful.

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