Most of my posts and lengthy descriptions on Instagram cover how hard the year after graduating can be for a lot of us, because that’s all I currently know myself. However I know a lot of people that are still finding things difficult even 5 years post-graduating, so I wanted to shed some light on this too.
In this post I want to share the experiences of Johnny, a fitness instructor and travel blogger who has found getting into his dream career quite a task. After spending three years trying to get to that point, he wanted to share his experiences of finding his graduate career.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’m Johnny. I’m 23 and I studied at University of Essex, graduating with a 2:1 in Sport and Exercise Science three summers ago.
At the moment I’m a Fitness Instructor (although currently on furlough).
What has your route been to finding the job you’re in now?
After university, I initially had two part-time jobs as a bartender and sports coach in primary schools to get some money. Bartending only lasted three months before switching my focus fully onto sports coaching. Over the next couple of years, I’d move from coaching company to coaching company to either find more hours, better pay or job satisfaction, eventually leading me to doing fitness instructing.
I completed a fitness instructing course, which took me — alongside my job as a sports coach. Once I finished it, the process to starting my job took even longer as the organisation who ran my fitness instructing course sent me on a long goose chase of having to resubmit assignments. They also didn’t communicate to me whether I has passed the course or not and so I didn’t receive a certificate which I needed to apply for fitness instructing jobs. I had to find out from the exam board, who then sent another copy of certificate to my address providing. So it’s been one heck of a journey.
What would you say your main hardship has been since graduating and finding a job you like?
My main hardship would definitely have to be not having work experience. I realised this when I came up short in interviews and auditions. I decided to play the long game.
I set myself a 2/3 year plan where I’d take up a job similar to fitness instructing in terms of responsibilities and tasks as well as develop the skills and qualities needed to be an instructor. Something I could sell to employers in interviews. So that’s is where sports coaching came in and it gave me the experience I needed in the long run.
What would your advice be to other graduates who might be struggling to find jobs due to experience?
Everyone’s paths is different so it’ll probably vary from graduate to graduate. Knowing what you want to do when at uni and gaining work experience via work placements and internships is a great idea. It’s better to be proactive and avoid the struggle in the first place.
Generally speaking I’d say use whichever contacts you’ve got in the industry. They can be a difference maker for whatever you wish to pursue. Attending networking events within your desired line of work is another great opportunity to build that contact list. Persevere with job apps if you’re. Who knows? Someone might take the chance with you and you might get lucky
Don’t be afraid to take up an internship or a lower-level job somewhere and work your way up. It may sound old fashioned I know but it’s an alternative route to consider. In fact it’s may prove to be even more satisfying if you do eventually get the dream job.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experiences of being a graduate?
My travel blog is something I’m very thankful to have as a passion/hobby. It fills a void left when I left Uni. But also fills me with so joy and satisfaction when I see how far I’ve come with it, the people I’ve met and the opportunities that have come with it.
Also another thing – don’t give up in whatever you wanna pursue. It may not happen straight away and may take a while but with hard work, application and a bit of luck you’ll eventually get to the place you want to be.
Sometimes getting to our dream job can take a while, and you have to deal with a few things along the way. So thank you to Johnny for sharing his experience of that!