'YOUNG & JOBLESS', MONTH 4: KAREN'S THOUGHTS

Being involved with the show has been very beneficial and I feel I've achieved a lot over the past few months.

I've done a lot of self evaluation and found some interesting things about the nature of job hunting. Having a mentor such as Claire Young has definitely been a huge benefit. She's given me some great, honest advice and criticisms over the last few months which has been refreshing. The best piece of advice I've had and will definitely tell people in the same situation as me is to get networking!

Over the past few months I've actually been invited to interviews whereas before, employers wouldn't even give me the time of day let alone read the first line of my CV. In the past 2-3 months I've had 7 interviews for entry level and graduate positions and even though I wasn't successful in securing the roles I'm still feeling content with myself and my abilities. 

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Karen and Craig at the BBC Radio 5 studios for the 2nd recording of the series - March 2012

The majority of the feedback I've had is that I lack experience (which if I'm honest, is starting to get a little tiring to hear because at least I do have some experience on my C.V). But, I am working on this and currently working with The Scarlet Life - a marketing communications and event management company that specialises in the sport, fashion, entertainment and lifestyle industriesI've only been with them a month and already I've composed a social media strategy for them, worked on client pitches, created a website brief and gained some on-site event experience at a charity gala managing VIP and celebrity guests, all of which, I hope, is giving me the experience future employers are looking for.

There's an organisation out there that's hoping to read the term 'unemployed' and change it to 'employable' and thanks to Claire's mentorship and the opportunities this show has opened up to me, I'm beginning to have a more positive attitude and I'm actually starting to believe that I too, am 'employable'. This, to me, feels like a milestone because confidence (or lack of) has been my biggest barrier to job hunting as it meant I was under selling myself and my abilities. This was something Peter Dodd picked up on a few months ago and it's still something I need to improve on for interviews. I wish mentor programmes were more widely available to young people and students as it's helped me gain an insight into the world of work and opened up new career options for me. This kind of experience is crucial for young people making career decisions especially if the UK continues to have an unstable job market.

I’m definitely feeling a lot more positive about getting a job than I did back in February (I had pretty much lost hope in the UK job market back then and almost left the UK permanently, but my gut told me to give the UK one last chance). Being involved with the show has given me a new found confidence and an ambition and drive that I thought disappeared over the years has resurfaced again. I'm still looking for a more stable and permanent role that will provide me with the foundations to a long term career and eventually fulfil some personal goals of mine. This journey has also made me think about freelancing. More thought needs to go into developing it but I might as well create a job for myself if no one else is going to give me one. It'll be an even tougher battle but, as they say, the skies the limit.

This is a guest post from Karen who took part in the 'NOISE Young & Jobless' radio documentary series, broadcast over 4 months on BBC 5 Live in 2012. The programme followed four unemployed young people as they looked for work, hooking them up with mentors and advice on their journey. For more information about this project, the participants and mentors --see here--