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Have any of you managed to get a job since you moved to University?

I moved to Leeds in September and I was amazed by the massive array of shops that the City Centre had. Coming from a small town the nearest big brand shops were 45 minutes away so I was super excited to be able to access all these shops.

As I walked along the street I began thinking about job prospects and whether there were any positions open that I could apply for. I walked into several shops which were advertising for sales assistants in their windows and handed in my CV.  When October came and I hadn’t heard back from one store so I began looking online for some jobs, I applied for the two major Pizza chains in the UK as a waitress. I thought I had a good chance of hearing back from them as I had worked in 3 restaurants so I had a fair amount of experience. Two weeks later I received two rejection emails saying they felt I wasn’t right for the positions although they appreciated my interest in their company.

I felt incredibly disheartened, I had worked from the age of 14 and all of a sudden in a big city I was ‘unqualified’ to take dishes to tables.

I had seen a number of students working as promoters, passing out flyers and selling tickets for the nightclubs in town and I enquired about each individual job. The response I got was that if I wanted to work for this certain chain I would have to start off as someone who sold tickets. I thought this can’t be too bad, I have a large group of friends at university I could likely shift a few tickets. I asked the man how much I earned for selling a £5 ticket, his reply 50p. I nearly choked 50p!! 50p per ticket, if sold 20 to my group of friends I would earn £10, which doesn’t sound to pitiful but no way would all my friends or the people I contacted over social networks want to go out every night of the week so would I really earn more than £10 a week?  I thought I might as well give it a try but within a week I had sold £5 worth of tickets because having no access to a car I struggled to sell tickets to people outside my accommodation.

Over Christmas I applied for a number of different retail jobs. I have 2 years experience working in a boutique that sold a number of well branded shoes and clothes. Out of the 11 I applied for I got 2 replies.  2!! Just 2!! I didn’t receive any ‘I’m sorry you’re not qualified’ emails, noting, I was completely ignored. The two who were kind enough to get back to me where an agency and a jewellery shop. The agency finds you occasional Bar/waiting on jobs when there is a large event which I accepted the position, but unfortunately since I signed on to their books I’ve not heard a thing.

The Jewellery shop kindly offered me an interview. I dressed nicely, made sure I look employable and turned up early as to make a good impression. I walked in the shop told the lady why I was there, she looked me up and down asked me if I lived in Leeds full term and when I replied ‘unfortunately I’m still trying to find accommodation for summer’ she cut me off and said I had a trail and she would be in touch… I’m still waiting.

I am left wondering if I will ever get a job, I don’t know if I have just been unlucky in my job search or I’m applying for the wrong jobs but I’m starting to get seriously frustrated. I won’t be deterred I will continue to apply and apply because maybe one day someone will employ me.

I know I’m not the only one who is struggling to find jobs, especially with the way the economy is at the minute, but I can’t help but feel like employers dismiss students before getting to know what they are capable of. I know our generation don’t have the best of reputations, but there are a few of us who genuinely want to work and succeed in life. It is time students were seen as more than kids sponging off the government and getting a ‘useless’ degree.  We may be getting money off the government but we want to work too, we just need to be given the chance.