The beautiful illusion of university life clouded my assessment of the future. This led to my not taking job applications as seriously as I should have, from the start. Although I started sending out applications for Media roles in January 2016, I did not give it a lot of attention. This was due to the fact that, I was still studying and had to focus on coursework. Additionally, I felt I had more than enough time to secure a job after the completion of my degree.
Reality started to catch up with me in May 2016 after the completion of my final group presentation in class. I became very focused, all of a sudden, and my determination to secure a full-time Media job tripled! I made a number of applications and finally got a taste of the reality I never really understood. Unsurprisingly to many job seekers, I received no response to most of my applications, and when I finally heard back, it was disappointing.
Finally realising that job seeking ought to be planned out properly ahead of time, I understood that I needed to do something drastic in order to alter my current predicament and achieve my desire of finding a fulfilling job. I called my friend, Shehryar, and discussed something I had previously considered doing, but was too skeptical about to actually put into practice. I told him that, I was going to prepare a placard and go out with it in public. This concept was inspired by Coventry University Marketing graduate, Alfred Ajani, who secured a job after advertising himself to employers at Waterloo Station, London. I thought to myself, ‘what if I do this and still end up without a job? Wouldn’t it be awkward and embarrassing?’, I underwent an epiphany, realising that, the only thing that truly mattered was that I wanted a job and was going to get one!
Filled with fresh motivation and purpose, I set a date and travelled from Coventry to London, met up with Shehryar and together in Victoria Station, we designed a placard for my use.
Designed to be concise, easy to understand yet effective, Shehryah and I headed to Waterloo Station with my placard, anxious to begin my adventure.
Upon arrival at the station, I took a deep breath in and out, and slowly opened my placard. As soon as I had it open, everything felt strange suddenly. I started to think and ask myself the following questions: ‘Emmanuel what exactly do you think you’re doing?’, ‘Are you sure this is the right thing to do?’. Understanding the motif behind my stunt, I ignored the voices in my head, focused on what I was doing and lived in the moment. I received a variety of reactions from people passing by, and walking into or out of the station. Most of them would look at the placard to read what I had written on it, and would look at my face after and walk past, some would smile after reading and wish me good luck, whilst some others would stop and ask for my CV.
We decided to move to Euston Station after. This turned out to be our most successful destination, as we were surrounded by the working-class. I got approached by a lot more people here, handed out more CVs and had several pictures taken of me and shared on social media platforms. This helped to create additional publicity about my campaign to secure a job.
We concluded the campaign at Victoria Station. Due to the fact that, people had finished from work and were returning home to rest, I failed to get further attention for the day.
I returned to Coventry and got contacted by companies about possible vacancies. This eventually led to my invitation to three job interviews in the same week. I also got contacted by reporters from London Evening Standard and The University Paper. They interviewed me and wrote about my experience.
Looking back on what I did, I would definitely say it was amazing to face my fears and overcome it. I would also advise graduates seeking employment to have a clear strategy in mind on how they hope to go about their hunt, and undertake it as soon as the picture is clear.
By Emmanuel Johnson
@Mannyjayking – Twitter & Instagram