Unorthodox job-seeking strategy pays off for Leeds Graduate


You may have seen this article in Leeds Student last November about the unusual tactic Leeds Graduate Giles Metcalfe used to land his ideal job.  We wanted to know more and contacted Giles who has kindly written a guest post for us below, including his advice for current students or other graduates. Giles also blogs at Cromer Terrace.

Giles Metcalfe

My name is Giles Metcalfe and in 2011 I graduated from Leeds University with a BA in European Politics. At the end of August 2012 and after a rather protracted process, I finally started my first full time job as an Investment Communications Executive for Legal & General Investments.

I found it particularly difficult to break into the job market using traditional application methods. After many unsuccessful applications I set myself a deadline by which if I hadn’t secured a job, I would reconsider my approach to job-seeking. So it was that at the end of last July, I resorted to more ‘drastic’ measures to reach the position I felt I deserved, and it worked!

See this short video to hear more about my unusual tactic of gaining employment (filmed November 2012):

During my time at university I was always lead to believe that with experience either in jobs and/or extracurricular activities along with a 2:1 I’d be able to comfortably enter a range of careers. With this in mind, I began to develop my CV. I developed what I felt was a good CV with a range of experiences, including starting my own business, but still struggled to reach the final stages of the application processes.  On reflection, I think an area that may have hindered my efforts when it came to the applications – besides the extremely competitive and somewhat ‘closed’ nature of the sector I was trying to enter – was a lack of career focus or not articulating what I had to offer in a way which was meaningful to prospective employers.

Perhaps I was naive to think that my approach would be sufficient, yet I am certain that my entire experience in finding the job I wanted could have been made miles easier. Here is what I suggest to those who are studying and are wondering what to do next:

–        What makes you tick? Most importantly, begin to question your current passions and try to understand how these could be transferred to a professional environment. Doing this will help you begin a process of elimination whereby hopefully you’ll begin to realise those careers that appeal to you the most. There will be a job for you!

–        Understand the industry – it is really important that you have a thorough understanding of the industry/ies in which you are interested; this is invaluable during any application process and will also help you identify where or how you might fit in.

–        Start early – I am certain that I could have tailored my overall approach for the better if I had put in an extra amount of forethought; it would have saved me time, wasted effort and given me more options.

–        Use all resources available to you whilst studying – Whilst studying, I had a collection of vague ideas that interested me professionally, but it took me a year after university for them to crystallise. It is easy to take for granted the wealth of help provided by your university and it becomes harder to access once you have graduated; I would have no doubt benefited greatly if I had utilised the resources at my disposal more extensively.

Have you been inspired by Giles’ story? Or do you have your own story of job search success to share?  If so, we would love to hear from you.  Remember, we can help you with all the tips Giles suggests and more besides.

You might also be interested in viewing Giles’ interview with the Financial Times for further information on his story.  

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Filed under How I got my job

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