Here's your degree...would you like fries with that?

29/1/2014

12:00pm

More often than not jokes are made about those who have arts degrees, mainly being "would you like fries with that?". In all honesty we would hope that being someone with a degree you'd potentially have a leg up on the competition when it came to applying for jobs, because let's face it - most of the people that run agencies that deal with areas associated with 'arts' didn't go to university in the first place. A lot of them started out dropping out of university or getting a trade in something totally unrelated to the field they're now making their living in. Ironically these are some of the people that are advertising for JUNIOR positions within companies that want to see some 'experience'.

Judging by the companies that want someone who is a junior, I think they fail to recognise the fact that no one wants to do an internship for a year and have nothing come of it (let's be realistic here, no one wants to work for free, period!). I mean, sure it's all fine while you're undertaking that bachelors degree and you're looking for a bit of real world experience whilst working part time and wanting to go out on the weekend and enjoy yourself. BUT (and it's a really BIG but) once you finish that degree and you've been told that you're qualified no one seems to want you.

Companies have this perception that a junior is someone with 2-3 years worth of experience, but WHERE would they like you to gain these golden 2-3 years? HOW are you supposed to find any sort of experience when no one is giving you the opportunity to prove yourself? The advice given to university students is to not only show your future employers that you have one skill but show them that you can do everything and stand out from others that would more than likely be going for the same job. Then again, the talent scout/HR manager/team that are looking for the right person, seem to believe that the only way to find a 'worthy' recruit is to focus on 3 things; the resume, the cover letter and the portfolio. What happens when the person has all 3 but ZERO personality, ZERO willingness to learn and ZERO ability to work within a team situation (because that's what it is these days isn't it, collaboration is the key, 4 heads are better than 1?)

From a young age, we're all told that in order to get anywhere in life, no matter what field of work we're aiming for, that we need to show how passionate we are about it, if you have no passion then clearly you don't want to do it. We're put into this bubble that after studying and knowing what we want, that the right job will some how magically appear, and we'll fall madly in love with it (honestly it sounds like a thriller dressed up in a romantic comedy, just waiting to show up at the teen house party and yell "SURPRISE" while attempting to slash each of them, with only a few escaping). Sadly (for most arts graduates anyway) that's not how it turns out, and they end up in the thriller. It looks like they've wasted three years of their lives on a degree that no one seems to want to use them for. The irony is, companies want these graduates to work for free (like I said before, no one wants to work for free) and do their dirty work for them (by dirty work I mean the stuff in the office no one wants to do (like the coffee runs), or the work that gets left till last with no chance of knowledge progression)

I guess the real point of the post is, is the degree worth it? University students (in the arts area especially) spend time going to classes, doing their assessments, dreaming up all these big ideas of what they want to do after they finish their degree and when it's all said and done, it's incredibly hard to find a job. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying a degree isn't valuable,it 100% is; It comes with a reputation and signals a certain profile to potential employers along with providing graduates with their expected skill sets as well as presenting opportunities that only going to university would provide. Companies need to find different ways of selecting their recruits, not just the old 3 step pre-program of resume, cover letter and portfolio; ask them for something exciting - tell them you want to see something visually appealing (ask for a video of 'a day in the life', monitor their twitter profiles, see what they post on Instagram, read their blogs (if they provide a link) ). Get to know the candidate for who they are and not the bullet points they provide - the paper version of yourself can only get you so far. If you're feeling generous you could always hire me!