According to a survey published by Investors in People, 60% of workers in the UK are not happy in their current jobs. Another survey revealed that nearly 80% of Londoners and unhappy in their jobs. And a Gallop poll shows that 23% of workers worldwide hate their jobs, with only 15% who feel engaged by their jobs, meaning they are passionate about, and deeply connected to, their work.
So there is no denying that huge numbers of people all over the world dislike what they’re doing for most of the day, five days a week.
We pay a serious price when we do a job we dislike, especially a job that lacks meaning and autonomy. Research shows that doing a job you hate is actually worse for your mental health than unemployment.
The writer Johann Hari argues in his new book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, there are nine causes of depression and anxiety: two biological, and seven that relate to the world we live in. And one that falls into the latter category is meaningless work.
In light of this finding, it’s important in your job search and career path to think about the kind of work you would find meaningful.
The Mental Health Impact of Meaningless Work
In an article for the Huffington Post about his new book, Hari writes:
“If you find your work meaningless and you feel you have no control over it, you are far more likely to become depressed.”
Ever though about being a crisp inspector?! Believe it or not, this is a real job. Along with many others, like professional tea tasters and bed warmers. Or how about being paid to line up in queues for people?!
These might sound daft, but the message to take away is that there’s a whole world of opportunities out there that we just don’t know about. So think outside the box, and beyond the big employers and you could find some great roles that you never knew existed.
See this list of 24 unusual jobs, including pet food taster and eel ecologist: www.careerexperts.co.uk/graduate-careers/weird-jobs-never-knew-existed
Imagine the jobs that might not yet even exist – 10 years ago, there would have been few roles dedicated to social media, and 20 years ago the internet was barely off the ground. In fact according to AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services), students now will work in industries that don’t yet exist with people that they may never meet, using skills that don’t yet exist.
If you’re not sure of your next move:
December has been and gone and the cold, hard reality of January is now upon us all. It is rarely an easy time of year, but throw in the added pressures of a graduate job hunt and it can be particularly hard to get motivated, to stay motivated and to remain positive.
Of course, everyone’s situation is going to be a little different – some of you be dealing with the results of pre-Christmas applications that you made, others may be starting to think seriously about applying for jobs for the first time – but your optimism may well be challenged. What, therefore, can you be doing to ensure that you remain upbeat through the months ahead?
Formulate a plan (and stick to it!)
Before anything else, take the time to work out the steps you need to take and plan them. Goals are much easier to achieve if you have a methodical way of working towards them and ticking items off the plan will help you feel that you are making progress. A Careers Consultant can help you identify your next steps and put together a plan if you are unsure how to get started.
In difficult economic times such as these, UK graduates could find themselves struggling to find a job. Consequently, working abroad might seem like a more attractive and viable option.
But before you get applying, there are a few things you might want to consider.
Choosing a country
From a casual browse of the internet, you will find that there is no shortage of opportunities for employment abroad. Therefore, the onus will be on you to try and narrow down the results to find the jobs that best suit your preferences.
Are you looking for a long-term position that would see you living in another country permanently, or at least for an extended period? Maybe you might want something a little more casual, something that could be incorporated into your travel plans? If this is the case, it might be worth focusing on the region you most want to visit.
Whatever you decide, be sure to always check the visa requirements before you travel. While some countries are relatively relaxed on employing tourists, others are not quite so forthcoming. In such instances, applying for a visa can be a tricky process, without any definite guarantees.
The fire and enthusiasm you have at the beginning of a job search process can soon fizzle out, especially if every application you send fails to elicit the desired response.
Often it is a failure to understand what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for and how they go about sourcing suitable candidates that causes job seekers to submit a poorly-put-together application or fail to find available opportunities.
In order to find the best talent available, recruiters use a myriad of recruitment tools that help source the most suitable candidates for a successful hire. Knowing what these are and how to use them for maximum benefit allows you to position yourself as a desirable prospective employee.
There is more you can do today as a job seeker than just scour job sites for available opportunities and send off copies of your CV to the relevant hiring manager. The introduction of newer job search techniques into the industry, both on and off screen, proves to be much more effective in speaking for your capabilities and worth.
Types of recruitment tools used by recruiters
The recruitment industry is as dynamic as it is competitive. Hiring managers have one end goal – to hire the best talent available for their companies. To achieve this end, they make use of multiple recruitment tools:
- Job boards and job portals
- LinkedIn and other social networking sites
- Newspaper advertisements
- Employee referrals
- Job fairs
LinkedIn is an amazing resource. It gives you access to the career history of millions of people around the world, many of whom have similar backgrounds or interests to you. It also makes real the possibility of actually communicating with these people to find out more about what they do now and their career journeys.
All that said, it can be scary and potentially awkward introducing yourself to people you don’t know online.
To help you get started here are 4 easy templates which you can adapt to reach out to people on LinkedIn or via email.
The key principles here are:
- Be clear what you’re asking
- Get straight to the point
People don’t owe you anything and people are busy but if you can be specific and gracious in your approach there are a lot of people who are happy to oblige (it’s a nice feeling to get asked for your expert opinion).
- Contacting Queen Mary alumni
Finding people on LinkedIn who studied the same thing as you (or were in the same clubs/societies as you) is a great basis upon which to strike up a conversation with someone. You automatically have something very concrete in common. So use that to your advantage as shown in this template: