Does University Really Prepare Students for the Graduate Job Market?

An article by: Shehrazade Zafar-Arif

As a student, I spent my days in front of my laptop in the library, a stack of books next to me as I typed furiously. The world of work was a culture shock: afternoon classes replaced by the relentless nine to five, and solitary study replaced by working in a team.

Worse still was the unavoidable act of job hunting, somehow harder for me than churning out a 5000-word essay in two weeks. It was the aggressive range of options the London market offered, counterbalanced by an equally competitive field of applicants. It was the sheer volume of applications and the equivalent sea of rejections, or worse, the wall of silence. It was, simply, overwhelming.
Had four years of papers and seminars and presentations really prepared me for this? In a way.
Persistence was the only route to success, and that was a trait I’d picked up at university. Deadlines, long nights at the library, balancing class with a part-time job – they had built resilience into me. University also taught me to deal with rejection – redrafting a dissertation for the tenth time after your supervisor smacks down your main argument is as demoralising as sending out ten applications and getting decidedly zero responses.

The other trick my degree taught me was how to argue. Every essay was an attempt to prove my argument right in the face of conflicting ones, and to convince the reader with my conclusion. In the same way, a job application is just that – an attempt to sell yourself to the hiring manager above all competitors. Three years after down the line, I’m now working in recruitment myself, and it’s something I see even the most experienced and senior applicants struggle with.

The graduate job market is a bit of a battlefield, especially in this economy. The only thing you can do is take the work ethos and skills that made you succeed at university and mould them into a different kind of weapon.

1st July 2024

British Pakistan Foundation Denounces Racially Insensitive Language

The British Pakistan Foundation (BPF) condemns in the strongest

19th June 2024

14 British Pakistanis in the King’s Birthday Honours List

The King’s Birthday Honours List this year highlights the