Friday, 31 October 2008

Friday Morning

I am up bright and early. Today is the deadline cut off for the Ogilvy application . The actual deadline was last Friday, but due to a technical error a huge of amount of applications were lost. Like I said before it's fair. I imagined how I would feel if it were me and my application didn't make it through, but still.... I mean I had mine in on Wednesday. I asked someone via Twitter how long it might be before I heard a response. They told me sometimes 24 hours. Now that would be amazing. A few of the others tell you that you'll be waiting for six weeks. That's a lot of sleepless nights. 

As I have mentioned I have been filling out a lot of online applications and something  that is a bother is the fact that I didn't do any A Levels or GCSE's. I went to high school in Minnesota and somehow they deemed me worthy of graduation. It's a very different process in England. You take classes - wait I am going to actually find out what GCSE stands for, I throw the term around but have no clue what it means, hang on- 
GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education, and you take classes when you are 14-16 and then at the end you are tested and receive a grade. From there you take your A levels and those are your sort of precollege classes. Students are also tested and those scores determine your life in England from what I understand. Low GCSE and A levels scores are a one way ticket to nowhere, do well and you just might make it. 

Anyway, they ask for these scores on most of the online applications. I usually am able to enter in that I was educated in the US. A few recently won't allow for it and want you to enter scores. Sometimes I will enter the names of the classes that I took at MCAD. The Visualization program classes are really cool. For one application I listed them  out and they looked pretty impressive all typed out. Those were good times. 

So today is the deadline and as I mentioned before that the Ogilvy fellowship is what I have my sights on. Of course if your application is selected then you get to come in for an interview. I generally like interviews. I like meeting new people. I have only had one interview here in London. That one wasn't so good. It was when I was studying at the London College of Communication. My flatmate had a friend here and she was working at an online marketing company. They were looking for someone to manage their online campaigns and I was desperately wanting to stay in London. I thought it was a perfect solution. There were two small problems, the first being that the small company thought I was legal to work in London and second it wasn't exactly the kind of job that I was interested in. 

I had convinced myself that although it wasn't the kind of job that I would ever pursue maybe I it was the opportunity I had been waiting for. What can I say, I am a positive person. Sometimes to the point of foolishness. So the interview was all lined up and then it dawned on me that I had nothing to  at all to wear . I had only brought a very small backpack with me for two months and I didn't pack anything professional looking. One would think, no big deal just go out and buy something. Yeah, sure if London wasn't so expensive. Did I really want that cheap skirt? Oh come on it's only like $50.00. I ended up at H&M and I bought a simple black skirt. ($40.00)

I'd pair it with a nice worn through tank top and throw a trench coat over and pray that I didn't need to take it off. The day of the interview I am getting ready and I realize that I somehow grabbed the skirt in the wrong size. Now I pause to myself, because I wonder should I tell you that I only had myself to blame? Ok. When I buy something I usually put back the item that I tried on and buy a fresh garment that looks like it hasn't been tried on. Maybe a bit weird. 
I didn't bother to look and see that the skirt I was taking was the right size. Of course it wasn't the right size or even the same style of skirt. I was a bit surprised when I was having trouble getting it on over my hips and that it had a little flounce at the back that didn't seem familiar. I was even more surprised when I could finally manage to get it on, although not zipped. Not a big deal, I had the trench coat. The problem was that I couldn't walk very fast nor could I sit down. Maybe the coffee shop where the interview was going to be would be crowded and all the tables would be taken. I would then suggest that we just casually lean against the wall and have the interview there. 

I was coming up with this ingenious plan while I was shuffling down to the tube. It was a struggle to get from the platform onto the tube, the skirt wasn't cooperating at all. I hopped on and was on my way.

I met the guy outside the coffee shop and I know immediately that I won't get the job. He was young and had a velvet sport coat. I just had a bad feeling. I will give myself credit for sliding onto my chair without looking too stupid. I wish I could say that I didn't get the job because I wasn't qualified or that it was obvious that I could care less about the job. I think real reason was that he thought that I was boring. I hadn't been to one of the clubs that he mentioned. The majority of the interview was spent by him telling me about his amazing social life. It was a young and crazy crowd at the office and they worked hard, but partied harder. He also was a philosophy major who ended up in online marketing, I guess I didn't act impressed enough. There was also concerns that I was 29. I loved the blatant questioning about why I was so old and still going to university. He also asked me about where I lived and if I had people to support me in my life. I wasn't sure what kind of answer he was looking for. After a few minutes of silence he said " Do you have a boyfriend?" Oh, the look on his face when I told him I did. 

I didn't get the job, but that's ok. As a mature person, I am now 30. I realize that you have to be strategic with where you want to work. Don't just take any job offer that comes your way. That's my bit of advice for the day.

I still haven't heard back from Starbucks regrading the Account Executive job. I called again and left a message with someone. My biggest fear is that I am not leaving the right phone number. I have finally learned my mobile number and I've had it since February. What can I say? It's a long number. 

Thursday, 30 October 2008


The other night I went out with Matthew and his work mates. We went a comedy gig at place called the Ginglik, it's a premiere nightspot located in an old Victorian toilet beneath Shepherd's Bush green. I was talking to a few people about my job search and they had plenty of stories to share. 

My favorites were the ones where they were looking for six months to find a job. Six months....big old sigh from me. I was thinking about it today, there is no reason that I shouldn't be able to get an awesome job. Coming from that cutting edge program at MCAD. 

Yesterday I went to work on my application to AMV BBDO at Whole Foods. I have found that if I don't get out I tend to go a bit stir crazy. It was a nice change of scenery and I managed to get a bit of work done. It's good to get out there and remind yourself that life is still going on even though you are out of work and don't have any money. You know it's not really the money. It's working on cool stuff, that's what I miss. I was having a moment the other day and I just said out loud to myself, I want to work so bad. I am hoping that I can use that as a unique selling point. Look out future employers, I am dying to work. I'll be there 12 hours a day. Happy to work and be creative. 

I asked a few of my friends if they would take a look at my CV and I haven't heard from anyone yet.... I wonder if that's because it is so awesome that nothing needs to be changed. Let's hope so. I also sent off a reply to the lady at MediaCom with my revised CV. Hopefully she will be able to look at it. Funny enough my flatmate worked there, his last day is this Friday. I thought about using him as a reference, but it might be dodgy. He's a great guy, but well... you get my drift.

Today, I am going to finish my application for AMV BBDO and start the next one. My dream is to get the Ogilvy fellowship. Now that would be more like it.


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Tuesday Night

I am done working for today and I fear that I haven't accomplished much although I have been at it all day. I finished my CV and have asked some trusted friends to look it over. My goal is to send it off to MediaCom tomorrow. 

I have to admit that I am not feeling very confident about my resume/CV. I never used to feel like that, but I think because of the importance I've placed on it I want it to be perfect. Back in Minneapolis I would most likely be sending in a resume after I've met somebody. It would almost be an arbitrary act. Now I really need it to go to work for me. I can remember back in Senior Project a good friend, Matt Hayes, talking about he would most likely never need his resume to get him a job. I believed him, he could definitely do it. He knows people and he's a great guy. I was also reading some online handouts from MCAD's career center about preparing for your job search. They consider it a good rule of thumb to start immediately when you start college. It's not a bad idea and that's exactly what I did. 

I guess I could just feel bitter about having to start from nothing here, but it won't change anything. So I've got to get on with it and be positive. In some ways it is exciting. I am looking for a job using what I've learned and scary at the same time. The doubts start clouding your mind. Did I learn enough, was involved in enough, am I tenacious enough. All those things start to swirl around in your mind. 

Tomorrow is a new day. I am considering going down to Starbucks' head office and just asking to speak to someone in HR and then handing them my CV. It's worth a shot. I have been hearing a lot about making cold calls and just showing up places with your CV, maybe it works. I will keep you posted. 


I just got done leaving a message for the resourcing officer at Starbucks UK. I had applied for a position at their Head Office last Tuesday through their career website. Hopefully I will hear something back soon. I applied for the Executive Assistant position and I think it would be a good place to start building a career with them.

It was the first time that I've applied for a position through an online application form. I am a bit skeptical about the process. I hope my application isn't just sitting in someone's spam folder waiting to be deleted. Must think positive.

The one nice thing about London is that most of the major advertising agencies have graduate schemes. Similar to the programs offered at Campbell Mithun or Fallon. I am working on applying for all of them and the deadlines are all coming up one after another. I have applied for Ogilvy's fellowship program and I would love to get that. Love, love, love. It is a really cool program and you are part of the fellowship for three years. Take a look at the website, it has a lot of useful information. Some good career advice and a nice reading list.

The deadline was for that one was this past Sunday. The hardest part is the waiting. Due to the huge amount of applications the server went down and now they've extended the deadline by one more week. So those who submitted applications between Friday and Sunday can reapply. I suppose it's only fair, but it means waiting even longer.

I also should mention that I went to a graduate fair that was put on by the Guardian,
a London newspaper. It was alright. I wasn't too interested in the companies that were there, but it was good to get out there. I brought business cards and managed to give one away. The best part was a panel discussion called Media Movers and Shakers, Marketing Career Opportunities. It was interesting and for me it was good to be able to get some names of people to contact. Yes, to cold call.....

After the panel was over I spoke briefly with a woman who worked for MediaCom and asked if I could email her and ask her some questions. She was very friendly and agreed, she even graciously took my card. The following day I sent her an email and my CV and asked if she would so kind and take a look. True to her word she did and gave me some useful feedback.

So now I am working to revise my American resume and make it more English. That's what I am doing today.

Friday, 24 October 2008


I have been thinking this over for a while now. Should I start a blog about my job search in London. Why do I want to do it? 

I could say that I hope that maybe one day someone would read it and be able to learn from my mistakes. I am sure that there will be other American students who find themselves in this city and would love to not feel so alone. I also like the idea of having a record of this journey so I can look back and remember what it was like when I starting out when I was struggling. 

Another reason could be is that I have a lot of time on my hands. A lot. This blog gives me some tangible results. At least at the end of the day I will have my blog posts. 

Here goes nothing. Wish me luck.

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