Staying Positive after 50 Job Rejections
For me, graduation was everything. Second year had caught me by surprise insofar as I was not ready for the increase in workload and the gravity of the circumstance I found myself in - my youth ticking away every second and adulthood rapidly approaching.
By this time, I had realised that I didn’t want to take my Law Degree further into practicing it, so I began to feel quite disillusioned about what I was doing and where I was going. In the face of these issues, my confidence, motivation and passion for law faltered and with that, so too did my grades.
It was the wisdom of the people closest to me that encouraged me to finish what I’d started; telling me that getting the best grade I could would give me the best opportunity of getting a good job in the future.
Life after Graduation
So I picked myself up in final year and focused solely on my grades, thankfully finishing uni with a 2:1. However, this meant I did little in the way of job hunting. While most of my mates were applying for jobs in law and other graduate programs, I just wanted to get my course work done to the best of my ability. Having said that, I did apply for a banking graduate program and an IT services job. Not because I wanted them, but because I thought I should apply.
The truth is, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and that scared me. I got to the end of my degree and realised that this was the first time in my life I’d been out of education. I suddenly had no obligations – like I could just sink into a pit of apathy, resurfacing only for breath and this world wouldn’t care one bit. It was the first time I actually had to take initiative and responsibility over the steps that would define my future.
A knock of confidence
I hugely underestimated how hard it was to get a job. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do so I approached job hunting thinking primarily about what my interests were. I’m interested in property, particularly in commercial and residential property development, so I thought I’d start there. I applied to all the graduate property development schemes I could find which, by this time, numbered about three. I got an interview for one of them. I was so excited and spent the week before preparing and making sure I was ready.
The interview went amazingly, I thoroughly reigned over all their questions, spoke eloquently and demonstrated the skills required for the role (not to blow my own trumpet) When I received the call saying the only reason I didn’t get the job was because there was another candidate with more experience than me, let’s just say I wasn’t over the moon. How am I meant to get experience if I can’t get a job? It knocked my confidence to know that, despite my qualities, I lacked the experience needed to get a job in the first place. It was punishing.
I began to broaden my horizons a little, applying for about 10 to 15 estate agency jobs hoping to get experience in the property field. But I was unsuccessful in all of these, so I branched out even more and just started applying for anything I could find. At this point it had been about 4 months since I left uni so I was getting desperate, but I was still unsuccessful. I couldn’t even get a job at Sainsbury’s for goodness sake! It was a tough period. A period that made me doubt myself as much as anything.
Eventually it happened. I was scrolling through job site after job site until I came across one that caught my eye. The title was Outreach Coordinator and, as I was reading through the job description I knew I really wanted it. It involved working for Hertfordshire University to raise aspirations of school children in the surrounding area. This immediately resonated with my character as I love working with young people and the one part-time job I did have back when I was in year 13, was as an academic tutor for children.
I knew I could do this job and I wanted it so badly but, at the same time, I also didn’t want to get my hopes up too much due to the sheer quantity of rejection I had faced. I really wanted to get across my skills and expertise but at the same time, I wanted them to see my raw passion for the role. In the end, I told myself to just be me. Forget about all the do’s and don’ts of interviewing and just focus on being relaxed and honest. And that’s exactly what got me the job.
It’s been three months since then, and it’s been such a great experience. I’m excelling in the role, exceeding even my boss’s expectations, getting incredible feedback from the schools I’ve worked with and having fun along the way. I’m regularly going out to schools, working with young people to help raise aspirations and encouraging them to pursue their dreams. I’m impacting people’s lives on a daily basis and it feels fantastic. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is not something I thought I would be doing after I graduated (I didn’t even know this job existed) but I feel blessed to have this amazing opportunity.
I don’t know what the future holds. But this experience has taught me to enjoy the journey because whatever we go through shapes us into the person we are forever becoming. Additionally, job hunting taught me that perseverance and consistency are the hallmarks of any successful person. Learning it the hard way was difficult, but it is wisdom that will never leave me.
An accomplished law graduate, Jamarl Billy is passionate about living a purpose driven life and is already inspiring the next generation to do the same in his current role as Outreach Coordinator at the University of Hertfordshire. When he’s not motivating teenagers to achieve, Jamarl enjoys expressing his creativity through song-writing, composing and making YouTube videos with his wife.