Grad Case Study: Henry – Part II

Following on from yesterday we continue our chat with recent graduate Henry, who studied Human Geography at Leeds University. After travelling round South America for 6 months, Henry is now looking for a permanent job in London.

Part II

Henry discusses deciding what to do, the reality of job hunting versus his expectations and how he is contacting companies.

Do you know what you want to do?

I want to work in ship broking or asset management. I’ve spent the last few years narrowing down what I’m interested in and what I might want to do. But I’ve never been one of those people who’s thought ‘I definitely want to do this’. I’ve just been thinking about various options over the last few years and gradually eliminating options that I don’t feel will suit me, once I’ve explored them in more detail.
If you’re unsure like me, I think it’s really important to keep an open mind and apply for different roles. Recently I’ve had some interviews for interdealer broker positions and I’ve realised that’s not for me. I’ve gone through the process of applications and interviews, but the reality of the role has put me off. I would be happy to work 14 hours in a job if that’s what I need to do initially to succeed, but the thing with broking is that after those hours, you then have to go out partying, entertaining people as part of your role. I really can’t mix partying and work, so yes I decided against that.


Has anything surprised you since leaving uni?

The problem I’m having at the moment is that when I was at uni (because I didn’t know what I wanted to do), I didn’t get any industry-specific work experience, or do an internship. I did get some great work experience at a high-end mortgage broker, but it’s not particularly relevant to what I’m applying for now.
What has surprised me is HOW much of a disadvantage this puts me at. A lot of these companies that are hiring for roles I am interested in, only want someone who has experience. I’ve found they seem to only be interested in the sort of person who knew exactly what they wanted to do whilst at uni. A lot of them even ask you for your student email so they know you’re still at university. It seems they want someone who has always been sure, not someone who has kept their options open. So that’s been my main struggle.
 To combat that, I am going to be more pro-active about how I contact companies. I plan to visit some companies and give them my CV and a cover letter in person. I hope I may be able to find something this way, even if it’s just shadowing someone. Really I just need to stand out from the crowd and show I am keen to progress.


How else have you contacted companies?

Mainly through online applications, which are super long and very time consuming! I’ve also found you often don’t get any form of reply. I recently met with an acquaintance who works in asset management. He told me that a lot of companies don’t even read all of the applications. It makes sense as hundreds of people apply, but he said they often don’t have time to read or give any sort of feedback.
So I’ve been moving away from that and (based on advice from people I’ve met with) I’ve started to contact individual people personally. A great way to do this is on Linkedin. I’ve been advised to follow the companies I want to work for, read articles they publish and ask questions. Sometimes you can contact the author directly, or just comment on the article. This could potentially be used as a way in. Really I guess it’s just about taking some initiative and making sure you are remembered.




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More to come tomorrow in the final part of this series… Grad Case Study: Henry – Part III

Henry talks about things he wished he knew before leaving uni & and the next steps in his job search.

Read the first part of the series:

Grad Case Study: Henry – Part I
Henry talks about the benefits of going travelling after uni and what he’s been doing to find a job since he returned.