news this week: graduates are being told to dumb down their CVs at the job centre. Say what? Unsurprisingly - based on my own and many friends' experiences - graduates mostly find the job centre unhelpful, with only 1% saying it was helpful in finding graduate-level work.
The BBC article stated that many graduates were apparently told by Jobcentre staff that their
qualifications actually deterred employers and advised to leave degrees
off their CVs altogether to secure "survival jobs".
When it comes to my personal experience, I found a little part time job as soon as I graduated while I hunted around for my 'career' orientated job. I was advised that I would still be able to claim a little bit of dole on top of my measly 7 hours a week, and thinking the job centre would provide some sort of help on my hunt for a job, I made an appointment and headed there on a sunny Tuesday.
The woman who was my 'advisor' took one look at my CV, and immeadiately seemed to disregard my University education and all other work experience I had, and asked me what my GCSE's were (I simply had stated I had ten, thinking my A-Levels and Uni grades would be sufficient, and they since have been). She began offering me jobs as cleaners, jobs working at a bakery or a local shop. I explained that I was looking for a graduate role, but that is where the problem lies; she wasn't remotely interested in getting me the job I was looking for, she just wanted to get me any job. This isn't what graduates need long term; they need a supportive service that enables them to help look for jobs they have spent several thousand pounds and years studying for. When she eventually asked me what I wanted to do, she told me my choice of career wasn't going to happen, as those kind of jobs don't exist for normal people. She blathered on about her son and said he didn't go to University and was making it fine in life. The meeting suddenly became about her self-centered life, and I learnt more about her sons new car, than I did about where I was meant to go next in my search for a graduate job.
I left disheartened and let down. Being only entitled to a few pounds a month since I was already making a (small) wage, I cancelled my application for job seekers allowance and their 'helpful' service.
The BBC article spoke to several graduates this week who had very similar experiences:
One 25-year-old law graduate told CAS: "At the (Jobcentre) group
meetings we were encouraged to leave any degree off the CV to help us
find more plentiful unskilled work. Nobody would employ me as a cleaner
if I had a degree. I was told to stop looking for graduate work and take
a 'survival' job."
A 25-year-old art history graduate said: "The Jobcentre was
not interested in my degree. Frequently they seemed to suggest that, if
anything, my qualification and level of education were a deterrent to
possible future employers."
We know the recession has had a negative experience on graduates and job seeking, but surely that warrants more support for students looking for work? The Job Centre need a tailored section for students who are looking for these graduate roles; they exist, and may not be in massive numbers, but the jobs are there and graduates need the support to find them and apply for them.
I wish I could see the woman at the job centre now; I would tell her I found my ideal job thank you very much. Exactly what I wanted to do, and exactly what she said didn't exist. I found it within three weeks of our meeting, so if you are a graduate don't give up. It will come to you eventually.
In the mean time, sign up for every job newsletter you can, buy every newspaper with jobs in it and just be proactive. It will all pay off.