Looking for work is a full-time job. With high youth unemployment rates in many European countries, young graduates are worried about the future. What are their chances of securing a job, let alone their dream job?
This edition of Generation Y takes a look at the long and winding road towards finding work.
In Ireland, youth unemployment has reached 30%.
Sean Gannon is Director of the Career Advisory Service at Trinity College, Dublin:
“The trick,” he says, “is first of all being very clear about what your dream job is and also what skills are associated with getting into that kind of work. I think the second thing is to examine the role of social media within the whole job search process and therefore to be alive to the possibilities that Twitter, Linkedin, etc, provide for me as part of my job search plan.”
Twenty-four year old Ronan Kelly has a masters degree in Business and Entrepreneurship. He’s applying for a range of jobs but says it can be disheartening looking for work:
“Being on the job boards all day is terribly miserable, it’s not fun and it’s tough. You have companies that don’t even tell you when you don’t get that job or for what reason,” says Ronan.
So what are employers looking for?
“When we survey employers, they don’t put a focus on training ‘per se’, what they are putting a focus on is attitude, someone who is a continuous learner, so you come into the organization, you pick up their set of competences to do the job but you are also open to receiving extra training, extra development,” says Sean Gannon.
College graduate Mags Foran has a degree in Marketing. She is convinced that her dream job is abroad, like thousands of other Irish youngsters.
“I am focusing my job search mainly in the UK at the moment, in London, because I think there are much more opportunities and there’s a lot more help available in terms of recruitment agencies to try to get you in the career you want to go with,” says Mags.
In order to find work, Mags is doing everything she can to improve her CV. She recently took part in a work placement in England supported by the European Union’s Leonardo da Vinci programme, which funds projects in vocational education and training.
The placement, at a company providing skills and training for young entrepreneurs, helped her improve her skills.
The training was organized by Irish Education Partners, a company which sends Irish students on internships abroad. Karen Henry of Irish Education Partners says employers are keen on such experience:
“If you have already worked internationally you’ve got a demonstrated ability to relate well to people from other cultures, and in other languages, and even if it is in English, there is a certain skill to communicating on an international basis, which people acquire when they are doing an international internship,” says Karen Henry.
Finding your dream job is a tiring, long and lonely experience. Ronan Kelly has is own survival strategy:
“Just ask for help. The worst thing you can do is sit there and say ‘why can’t I get something’ and let it be your personal problem. You’ve got to talk about it to someone else and figure out ‘what can I do to get work in this particular industry’. Many jobs are internally advertised, they are not even disclosed to the public, so you could be the right person they could be looking for but they don’t know about you. So you never know,” says Ronan.