Having written my article on The Guardian’s job advice tips a few days ago, my train of thought has led me to chances in life. Anyone who believes the age old saying of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is, in my opinion, still half right. Only nowadays I believe with the job market being as bleak as it is that the saying should run something like this: it’s what you know and who you know. Fortunately for some lucky individuals in life they are born into a wealth of contacts, and perhaps even wealth itself. These people it often seems get the sought-after jobs in the top law firms, or businesses alike. I am not denying that these people work hard in their job levels, but for the many of us who aren’t the fortunate few we have to really strive hard to build up a network of contacts that will hopefully see the talent and potential in us and will invest in us as future employees. It is nigh on impossible for people to leave sixth forms and colleges now and to walk into a secure and permanent job. Why? Because every company, no matter how big or small, require prospective employees to have an abundance of experience because they cannot afford the risk of expenditure on extensive training programmes if the employee turns out to be less than suitable. It’s a vicious cycle of so desperately wanting to get on the career ladder but no one being willing to take a chance on you. We have become a risk averse nation in these frighteningly bleak economic times.
Granted there are a significant proportion of people my age who are just plain lazy. For those who are that way inclined, be assured, the world owes you nothing. There are so many opportunities for students at university to become more employable that there really is no excuse. From work experience, internships, volunteering or even simply having a job alongside your studies all of these activities prove committment and dedication. If you have used your initiative in your choice of projects, i.e. they are relavent to your career choice, it’s bound to get you noticed and will put you a cut above the rest in the job market.
Some of the best brands, companies and employees arise out of taking risks, big or small. Entrepreneurs being an obvious example. Whatever happened to the saying you’ve got to spend money to make money? So take chances, companies, because you might well just find the best employee you otherwise would never have had the pleasure of meeting.