The Blog

Inexperienced and Overqualified: A Catch 22 for Graduates

After a regular visit to the job centre where I had to convince the person sat behind the desk that I had been looking for work on a daily basis, it got me thinking about why I was still in this predicament.

After a regular visit to the job centre where I had to convince the person sat behind the desk that I had been looking for work on a daily basis, it got me thinking about why I was still in this predicament.

Six months after losing my job I still go to my fortnightly appointment and explain the fact that employers are still not employing me. The woman who deals with my claim told me I looked a bit fed up and maybe this was coming across at interviews. The comment annoyed me slightly as I'm not a stupid person, despite what some may say given the predicaments I've gotten myself into in the past, I'm educated to degree level and work extremely hard to try and get where I won't to be, yet I just seem to fall flat at the final hurdle.

It's not just me either; youth unemployment is extremely high these days given the current economic crisis. You only have to read BBC news and you will most likely find a story at some point during the week detailing these issues.

At the age of 22 I feel that a vast amount of people my age are caught in a catch 22 situation. That situation being; we are both under-experienced and overqualified.

From a young age we've been told we can be whatever we want to be whether it's a doctor, a teacher, a writer or even an Olympian. We have been told that education is the key. We were told to get our GCSE's and then when those were done we were told to get A-Levels, as GCSE's weren't quite good enough. Finally after a two-year slog to get those A-Levels completed we were told we needed to go to University to complete our education and secure ourselves a job.

However they never prepared us for the lack of job prospects when we left, or what to do if a situation like this should arise. I mean we can't blame our teachers for the economic crisis, but when you're told from around the age of seven that you can be whatever you want to be and this is how you do it, you never think of the negative outcomes of not quite reaching your goal.

So by this point after completing a degree you can safely say that you're qualified enough. But when it comes to applying for jobs you then have to compete against thousands of other applicants who were told the same thing as you, and some are lucky enough to get the job and others aren't.

As the clock ticks on more students finish University every year creating a new batch of competitors as you seemingly get left behind and re-join the queue at the job centre time and time again, as employers tell you; "you don't have enough experience."

Now a sensible thing to do whilst hunting for your dream job is to find something that will help you get by and live. Many go and work in bars or call centres or work as waiters, but this is where the overqualified situation raises its ugly head.

I myself had to deal with a situation like this a few weeks back when I attended an interview for a cleaning position. I've worked as cleaner before for two different companies, which were both on my CV. However the woman conducting the interview seemed more concerned with how overqualified I was than my previous experience, but as I said to a friend when you're poor and need money you'll do any job you can. Needless to say I didn't get the position.

It may have been because I was overqualified or not, and if it was I can understand where they are coming from as I may up and leave the job in six weeks time.

The simple fact is when you have friends, family, the job centre, the media and the government telling you to get off the sofa, stop watching Jeremy Kyle and go and get a job it can make you feel worthless because even though you are trying it's just not that easy and you're stuck in this catch 22 situation. As some people think you don't know enough to do one job and others think you know too much to do another. Sometimes there's just no winning but a lot of losing.