I’ll never get my dream job… but that’s OK

Harriet’s dream was to be a journalist, but after countless rejections she realised she had to widen her job options. Now working in PR, she tells The Mix how despite not landing a job on a magazine she's happy with the way her career’s turned out.

True Stories

girl on phone

"I'm really happy in PR now."

I always wanted to be a journalist. I studied Communications and Media at university and spent most of my free time writing reviews and features for websites. I relished seeing my work online. Whenever my pieces received likes on Facebook or the editor gave me positive feedback, I got a rush. I was doing everything I could to make my career happen when I graduated. All I had to do now was graduate, right?

Graduated, but no jobs

I got a 2:1 and was sure this was the final tick I needed to start my prosperous career. I started searching online. This was it, my chance to be a world famous writer. I had visions of working for cool magazine, such as Time Out. I imagined being invited to dine out at trendy restaurants and writing up reviews on ‘must-see’ films.

I started my search on all of the popular jobs sites, but there weren’t really any glamourous journalism starter jobs – it was all business-to-business, or marketing and PR stuff I wasn’t interested in. I wanted to be creative, and this all looked too boring.

I applied for positions at craft magazines and online fashion sites. I didn’t get one reply. I felt a sinking, desperate feeling every time I opened my email to find my inbox empty. One day I checked it 30 times. What was I doing wrong? I continued to keep an obsessive eye on the job sites and my email, hoping something would come through. But my hope was dwindling.

Should I change career?

Months went by and I still had no luck. The closest I came to getting anything was a screening interview for a home decoration and cooking website, but I didn’t even make the second round. I felt so low. I’d done everything right, but still couldn’t get anywhere.

In desperation, I opened up to a friend who was 10 years older and worked for a fashion blog. She suggested I look at no-so-perfect jobs and widen my choices. She admitted she’d always wanted to be a photographer, but was now happy in fashion. She also subtly suggested that I’d been a little unrealistic and limited with my job searching. Her advice really had an impact.

At first I felt really scared applying for jobs I might hate. I didn’t want to end up writing boring press releases and calling up companies, trying to sell something all the time. I was terrified of spending the rest of my working life doing something uncreative. But I felt I’d run out of choices.

Enjoying something different

Despite my fears, I decided to take a look at some different roles. I explored all of the graduate posts, instead of narrowing my search to just the ‘cool’ jobs. There were still loads in PR and marketing and, the more I looked, the more confident I felt about those roles. The job descriptions were more varied than I thought. There was actually a lot of writing required.

I sent around five applications a day and within three weeks I had a job! It was in Liverpool, working as a junior PR accountant for a creative design and marketing company. Even though the job was not what I imagined, I was allowed to write articles. I interviewed make-up companies and was given tons of free cosmetics. I attended an event to network and went around the whole exhibition floor with my dictaphone, speaking to people and finding out about recent market information. I felt like I was finally putting my skills to use and what’s more, I was enjoying myself. It was amazing.

Keep an open mind

I’m now working as a PR Manager for a theatre company and I’m really happy. I get free tickets to shows in Liverpool and Manchester and have helped promote the work of top playwrights and actors. Giving up on what I thought was my dream wasn’t easy. I was so rigid in my mindset and it scared me to think of a different career. But although working in PR was not originally my ambition, being broad-minded has got me into something I really enjoy.

I’d advise anyone to keep their minds open with careers. While it’s great to have goals and aspirations, don’t’ stick to just one option. You might discover your dream is something entirely different.

Next Steps

  • Looking for a mentor to help boost your knowledge and skills? Find a youth zone close to you.
  • Reveal your skills with Define Me and find the right words to tell employers.
  • Download Motimator - an app that helps you get the career you want - by giving you a gentle kick up the ass each day when motivation is running low.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
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career

By Daisy Phillipson

Updated on 29-Sep-2015

Photo posed by model and by Shutterstock