It’s no secret that I struggled to find my first job. I was applying, attending emails & receiving countless rejection emails from the month I left school until I left college two years later. I studied quite a broad range of GCSEs including Performing Arts, Religious Studies, Spanish Language, Film Studies and Geography. From that, I went on to study a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production (TV and Film) which I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend to anyone.
However, throughout my second year at college I did apply for a handful of apprenticeships. I got accepted by the apprenticeship agency (school?), but ultimately this never lead anywhere. I was applying for a variety of roles in the digital marketing area, from social media manager for an agency to full digital marketing roles for magazines.
The Unemployment Rut
I got so close to one role, being the only one invited back for a second interview… And they handed the role to someone outside of the apprenticeship scheme who had more “experience”. This disheartened me, and I found out two weeks later that the person they had took on didn’t turn up for their first day. Huh.
I took a few months out from applying for any role, got other people to read over my CV, asked for advice at college, and tried everything to find my first job. There was nothing wrong with my techniques, or my CV. At this point, people in the year below me were applying and landing their first roles easy peasy. I honestly felt like giving up completely.
From here was the interview from hell, a potential employer grilling me and making me feel horrendous for not having any previous experience. I thought that apprenticeships were entry-level roles meaning you didn’t need previous roles in the sector, they were to teach you and provide you a step into this career. Turns out they are, this guy just didn’t like me. Glad I didn’t get the role though, it took them 45 minutes past my interview start time to collect me from the reception area downstairs.
Countless rejection emails rolled in from part time roles such as Primark, McDonalds, Card Factory, Select, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, Costa, etc. You name it, I applied for it. And I’ve got the rejection email too.
I applied for University as a fall-back, studying Politics & Media (imagine!) and I deferred my place for a year to give myself one last 12 month period to find a job.
It was exactly two weeks after I finished college that I received a phone call from an apprenticeship training provider offering me an interview for my current role. I went, not expecting anything. This turned out to be the best, most assuring interview I’ve had (and I’ve had quite a few!). I was introduced to the team and the office dog, and given a written task to complete over the weekend.
Three days after my interview I was offered the role. It was fair to say I cried.
I have since completed a Level 2 Business Administration qualification in the Digital Marketing sector, and I’m now working towards my Level 3 Digital Marketer qualification. I’m finally doing something I love, and I cannot encourage anyone to find the right apprenticeship for them.
With an encouraging, supportive employer and a course you enjoy enough to study alongside working full time in a role you can at least tolerate, it is amazing what you can achieve.
Throughout Business Admin I was given regular support, as well as help with coursework where needed. It’s important to note that apprenticeships require you to complete and keep track of 20% off the job training. This is where your employer gives you training or learning tasks “away from your desk” which isn’t completing general work tasks. This usually works out to 1 day a week.
If you’re finding yourself in a apply-interview-rejection rut, I encourage you to keep going and keep trying. You will find that role out there that is perfect for you.