Don’t let the Cover Letters get you Down!

So I finished my university course at the end of May, in the midst of lockdown with no definite plans for the foreseeable future. Now it’s been 3 months, lockdown has eased, the UK officially announced it was in recession, I’ve applied for countless jobs…and I still have no definite plans for the foreseeable future.

I am hoping to enter into the publishing industry, ideally within editorial, which is already a highly competitive industry to get into so I was prepared for plenty of rejections before getting an entry level job. However, that means I have also been applying for any other admin-based jobs that I am remotely qualified for and have yet to have any success with this either. And this is slightly demoralising to say the least.

Despite spending every day writing cover letters and filling in applications though, I am trying my best to focus on the positives. Namely, that 3 months isn’t too long to be unemployed for, especially when I’ve only just finished university. Although moving home from a city that I love with nothing going on has made this feel like a long and frustrating change, I keep reminding myself to be patient and not start panicking for a few more months yet.

I also keep telling myself that even if the current recession is said to be one of the worst we’ve had, there are also predictions that we will bounce back quicker because it has been clearly linked to lockdown being implemented in the face of COVID-19. This means that even if there are fewer jobs going around, and more people looking, this hopefully won’t last as long as it could have.

Finally, I still have plenty of options. I am very fortunate to be able to move back home for the time being, and my girlfriend starts a PhD placement in January 2021 so I will hopefully be able to move in with her then. This ultimately means that despite being unemployed I do not need to worry about a place to live for the time being, which is an invaluable privilege. I am degree-educated with a variety of skills which mean that I can widen my search and apply for a fair few jobs.

This just leaves me battling the ever present job hunt fatigue and whilst this is tough I just have to persevere and remember that there are plenty of other people doing the same thing. I remind myself that applying for jobs is achieving something and not the same as doing nothing, because it’s easy to feel like I spend my time doing nothing when I seem to make no progress. Instead, I am using my time as well as I can; finding and applying for any and all jobs I can whilst increasing my relevant experience through voluntary publishing jobs. This means that eventually I will get a job, and in the meantime I just have to try not to let the endless cover letters get me down.

Upskilling in Lockdown

With lots of internships and grad schemes being cancelled over the last few months due to COVID, many people have found themselves with a lot more free time, for better or for worse. This has led to an online push to use this time effectively, and improve yourself and your skillset. While this mentality can be slightly short sighted at times, I thought I would put together a list of things that I’ve been doing since I finished university and have found myself with more time on my hands.

Taking an online course.

  • Since finishing university I’ve been completing an online proofreading and editing course. I’m hoping to begin a career in publishing and so while I have the time I decided to improve my skillset for that industry in any way that I could. It will look great on my CV and be a worthwhile use of this summer.

Getting relevant, remote work experience.

  • I am currently very fortunate to be able to live at home rent-free until I am able to get a job. This means that I’ve been able to work remotely as an unpaid contributing writer for The Publishing Post, increasing my relevant experience and continuing to use and improve relevant skills.

Job Applications

  • Having more free time has meant that I can devote more time to not only looking for jobs but also applying to them. I can give cover letters and personal statements more time and consideration than I would have before and therefore increase my chances of success.

Blogging

  • No more university work has meant more time for me to commit to this blog. I am trying to post more regularly and improve my content in the hope that more people will enjoy reading it.

Making the most of it

  • Finally, I am making the most of this and enjoying some time off before I start working full time. I currently am neither working nor studying and so I am simply making the most of some time off before entering the work force and having significantly less free time.