English & Creative Writing

April 2013

Where did you Study?

University of Portsmouth

What did you Study?

English & Creative Writing

What year did you Graduate?

2010

So we can feel more intimate, three words to describe your physical appearance.

Brunette, Glasses, Short

What did you do when you left Uni? Be brutally honest! If you cried into a bowl of cereal every morning & treated your local pub like your favourite Uni nightclub, say so.

I actually left Uni with a lot of enthusiasm and pep; I was ready to be ‘out there’, to be someone, to do something.  I stayed in Portsmouth for the first year, working in admin and hanging out with most of my old social circle.  Then in 2011 the boyfriend and I moved away – I was gutted, but he had been offered a great opportunity and we had to go.  Now we live in Basingstoke and I, after a soul destroying stint in retail, am unemployed. However, I still have my energy: I write for a bunch of different websites, I manage two of my own and I remain optimistic that ‘my chance’ will come along someday.

I do get incredibly jealous when my younger sister, who still has a year and a bit left of her studies, talks about University life though. Sometimes I’m glad it’s over, and at others I’d give anything to go back. The thing I miss the most are the friendships which have faded due to time and geography – people who meant so much to me a few years ago barely speak to me now, but it’s partly my own fault for not working harder to stay in touch.

What are you doing now and how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you in your dream job? If not yet, what is this?

This is a tricky question. Officially, I am unemployed and currently looking for anything that will pay the bills – admin, retail etc; that, I hate. I want to have a career, not a job.

Alongside this, I am still applying for jobs in my dream industry, publishing. However, it is a highly competitive market, and I keep getting knocked back by companies who tell me that I don’t have enough experience. I was Editor of my University newspaper for three years, how much more experience do they want?  People suggest that I apply for one of the internships on offer, and I’d love to, but I cannot afford to work unpaid for even two weeks, let alone a year. It’s not snobbery, it’s being practical. That can get disheartening sometimes.

So, I do what I can to get along. I have always loved dogs and wanted to work for a canine publication, so, in order to build up my CV and demonstrate my skills, I sort of started my own! DogsInTheNews.co.uk now has over 3450 Twitter followers and I have been to Crufts the past three years as a member of the press. Running this website and writing about dogs all day IS my dream job, and I would make a full time career out of it if I could, but there is, once again, that pesky little problem of rent…

Do you think Uni has helped you to be where you are now?

Yes and no. Yes because during those three years I gained a lot of experience and knowledge, both in the lecture theatres and out!  Without being on the University paper I would never have gained valuable insight into the publishing world and without my lecturers suggesting it, I would have never have started a personal blog, which lead to the creation of Dogs In The News.

No, because my degree has not translated into the shortcut into the job market which I was lead to believe it would.  In all honesty, getting a job at 17 as an admin assistant on a local paper might have meant that I was further up the ladder three years on. Now I’m not even ON the ladder, and I’m applying for jobs that I could do without having got the degree.

Overall though, I am glad I went.  I wouldn’t trade those three years of life experience and learning for anything, and even if I never use it, I earned my degree and no one can take that away from me.

Any advice for graduates who aren’t yet in their dream jobs or still battling against this rubbish economy for just an interview?

Hey, if I knew the secrets, I’d be living the dream, right?  The main thing I would say is don’t give up. Just because no one will hire you doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer.  You can’t lounge around all day feeling sorry for yourself.

Do things that will make you stand out and give you something to talk about when you eventually do get an interview. Go to relevant industry events, start a blog, sell your homemade handbags on eBay; just be proactive. You will have days when you feel worthless and like there’s no point, but job hunting is like dating; when you meet ‘The One’, you’ll be grateful that everybody else turned you down. Keep an eye out for opportunities and seize the chances you get.

Finally, if you would be so kind, tell us briefly about your day ahead – just in case we might want to change our career path.

I usually start my day off with a bout of job hunting, sending out applications and following up on opportunities. If I’m feeling ambitious I will go for a run or do some housework. At around midday, update my Dogs In The News Twitter feed and respond to emails and messages (I used to do this in my lunch hour at work). I will then write an average of 2 – 4 articles a day, usually doggie news but sometimes for other websites (my personal blog is terribly neglected, something which I aim to remedy on a daily basis but never seem to get around to!).  In the evenings I will either write some more or read a book or watch TV. The next day I filter through the rejection letters and start the whole process again!

That’s it. Laura, you have been wonderful.

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