Job hunt stunt

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By Chris Carlaw

An article hit the media the other day which is prevalent to young job seekers. The article in The Age newspaper suggests that young people should not be picky about getting employment in these economic times and that they should not knock jobs back if they are available.

Have a look here.

One of the statements from Federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner concerning young people and job hunting really caught my attention.

Heres Mr Tanner’s take on job hunting:

“It’s just the nature of life. We don’t always end up where we would like to end up. Things happen in ways that we don’t anticipate.”

Well what im all about is planning. Plan for the future for the career that you want and you can’t go wrong.

If you have your heart set out on becoming a dentist, an actor or a builder, don’t let any politician tell you you should accept a plan B.

However, make sure that there is a large job market for the career you set yourself out upon.

But reading the article made me think. Are we knocking jobs back?

The general answer is no. Sure, we may want that ideal job but we sure are happy to bend the rules here or there to get it.

I personally decided to move from Wollongong to Brisbane in order to get work. It may not be the best job in the world, but it is better than 8 months unemployed and it is in the industry I enjoy. I tried to get work in Wollongong. I even got a qualification as a real estate agent. However at that time, the real estate market was flat and generally not hiring new staff.

The article also made me think about the reality of the job market. I wonder if Mr Tanner has ever followed around a young person looking for work or heard their stories of job hunting?

Here is the reality for most Gen Ys going from tertiary education to a full time job.

Gen Y have to go to year 12 to go to university. Now before you start jumping up and down saying “You don’t always have to go to university,” let me explain. There are more occupations than ever before where you have to go to university as selection criteria to get a decent job. Sure, you can get an apprenticeship, but these are few and far between these days. Have a look in the paper and see how many ads spell out, ‘first year apprenticeship wanted’.

Prior to this decision, in high school we are expected to know in year 11 what we want to do after school to pick subjects for a job we might not even know existed.

This information age and technology is advancing so rapidly, what we are learning becomes redundant 2 years after we learn it. Today we have studies in e-commerce, media arts and digital music. None of those were present when Mr Tanner went to school.

GenY generally have to go to university for 4 years to get a qualification to be any chance of pursuing what we want to do. Teaching is a four-year degree. Journalism is a three-four year degree. Engineering is a four-five year degree. We spend the last 18 years of our lives reading textbooks.

Actually come to think of it (and correct me if I’m wrong) courses such as journalism and nursing didn’t even require university studies 30 years ago. It was simply learnt on the job.

We then complete our university course or TAFE course and take a breather. We have reached the top of the peak after four years but there is still more work to be done.

We start the job hunt with our piece of paper and hope someone will notice us as unique. However, when we stick our heads out and look around, everyone has the same piece of paper that you have that they are holding in their hands! Universities open themselves to (and make most of their business with) international students whom come over and gain a qualification for permanent residency. This means that effectively there is a much more competitive market for any graduate looking for a job.

The job hunt is draining, and sometimes overwhelming. Applying for Graduate jobs through Commonwealth Bank or Shell Petroleum often take an hour and a half to process online through selection criteria and psychological assessments.

We then wait anxiously for an answer from these companies and are told we will hear back from them soon, but two months later hear nothing. No letter and no email. When you follow up by phone, you are told, “I’m sorry, we had such an overwhelming response. We had over 300 applicants for the job and you didn’t have the skills we were looking for.”

Meanwhile, whilst waiting for job opportunities, we are working in a bar doing shifts till 3am, mopping up spilt beer and dealing with intoxicated louts in order to pay for the rent.

By the time we do land a job, we are aged 24, and virtually starting an apprenticeship on an income of $520 a week (That’s the amount I was on when I was 24).

Then we listen to Mr Tanner and realise we are in the wrong industry, ‘look outside the boundaries’ and do another degree in mining engineering. And the process starts all again.

So, Mr Tanner, the majority of young people are motivated to get work. We aren’t job snobs. We just need more avenues to build our skills and make ourselves employable to the thousands of similar job seekers out there.

We need more support and we need more job hunting skills to compete. As I have said previously, one needs a marketing degree to know how to get a job. Selling yourself is a skill that is not taught in high schools.

Perhaps that’s something we need to look more closely at.

Feel free to discuss and lets us know your opinion.

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