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Being unemployed at 22

Hi ya'll,

I seem to be setting a trend at the moment, opening up about my problems on here and receiving so much love and support from complete strangers. It's not to good at the moment, I've been out of a paid position since Nov 2015. I know, it's bad, it's really really bad, I'm not to happy about my situation. I've been jumping through hoops for others for so long, I wish something would come of it.

Also, before people come on here and tell me I'm just a lazy and entitled brat, I've grown up and I understand how hard it is to come by things like a job now. It's not easy, but I also know it shouldn't be this damn hard, four years is a long time to not have a job. I've been volunteering for some time now and it's going very well, it just doesn't pay.

Luckily I've been on Centrelink since August now, before my 22nd I wasn't entitled to any services or payments provided by Centrelink. I'd call and email employment providers to try and get some assistance with finding a job but no such luck. I'm lucky enough to have family in the metro area as where my folks are is regional and has the worst unemployment/Centrelink/drug rate in it's area.

I can push through the pain and make a better future for myself, I know there will be bumps up the road but I shall push through, albeit with a lot of hair dye, tattoos and piercings.


Congratulations for making through my third thread Smiley Very Happy 

Yes yes, you deserve a metal. In all honesty forumgoers, I told my story so I could hear your stories too. I'm currently reading up on current employment/unemployment trends and I just want to here your stories, no names or ages, just stories. I just want to know how many people there are out there that I can relate to with this particular aspect of my life, and see if I'm cut out for investigative journalism. So if you can provide me with a story, I'll be more than happy to read it and respond. Thanks for your time Smiley Happy


Edit: As someone who does love alternative looks, piercings, tattoos, hair and clothing, what advice would people give me in regards to looking good for job interview/job provider appointment, but still displaying my alternative personality. I feel like I'm lying when I don't look how I feel, and it puts me in an uncomfortable position whilst being asked questions akin to, "how would you deal with a difficult customer?"

Re: Being unemployed at 22

Hi @LizO1997 


I'm going to tell you something about me.

The last time I had a paid position was never. So I mean.. I'm hardly in a position to be a jerk about it Smiley Tongue

Seriously though, I'm sure you're trying your best right now, and who can criticize you for that?


Do you mind if I ask what your ideal job might be and what your current volunteer work involves?


Also I'd just like to complement your writing style. Like I wasn't going to because I thought it'd be weird in a thread on unemployment but your mention of journalism has given me an excuse now.

So it's weirdly clear and easy to read while still getting your meaning across. Well done!


And I'd honestly suggest embracing your personality and your expression of it, and try to find places that will as well. Anywhere trying to look cool/ modern/ alternative is a good start.

Other places include:

  • contemporary art museums/ anything to do with contemporary arts really 
  • writing/ journalism in some magazines/ online journalism sites (perhaps if you're already interested in journalism you could do some freelance work to start building a portfolio to show of to future employers?)
  • "hipster" type cafes and restaurants (especially vegetarian/ vegan ones for some reason)
  • Video game, electronics, or pop-culture type stores (do you know the ones..? I haven't explained that very well sorry)

Re: Being unemployed at 22

Hi @Tiny_leaf 

I've been criticised in the past by family and school friends about being lazy/not standing up for myself, I've moved on from it as I can't change the past. As a high schooler I wasn't allowed to work due to my parents not allowing me to, I had my first and only job thus far right at the end of year 12, the year I turned 18.


It isn't something I can change so I have moved on from it, unfortunately I cannot move on from my present which is rather dim right now.


My preferences when it comes to my ideal job is something fast-paced, team-oriented and different everyday.


My current volunteering position is as a receptionist, I'm constantly developing ways to work better and fast. Today I finished all my tasks an hour before my shift ended! I try to find stuff to do but it does get boring and I'm lethargic at the end of the work day.


Also thank you for the compliment 😊 I'm currently in a transition period of my life and I'm just trying to find a career/job that I'd love to do for many years to come. So far I've eliminated art, receptionist and music, so right now I want to dedicate my spare time to investigative journalism as you learn new things everyday and it keeps you on your toes.


And thank you for clarifying how I should embrace my identity, I do love art but I'm just not cut out to be one professionally as it's more or less a hobby.


Journalism is definitely something I want to give a go as I see this rapid decline in quality news, you only ever get one side of the story and I want all sides.


I should definitely try to create a portfolio because thus far I'm really enjoying the research aspect of it and gathering the people's thoughts on a current situation/news report.


Edit: thank you for telling me your current situation, it honestly does help to know there are people out there I can talk to on equal grounds without being shamed.


Re: Being unemployed at 22

@LizO1997 welcome to RO (I haven't been around to say hello yet Smiley Happy so Hello! )

Being unemployed can be so hard and stressful! It's great that you've been volunteering, it shows your keen! Smiley Happy

Re alternative looks, I don't really have a suggestion as my style is kind of classic and safe. I know some employers are really picky and others aren't. So I guess it's about finding the middle ground where you can be you but still kind of mesh with how a company wants to be represented.

You mentioned that journalism is something you want to try, are there any places around you that you could potentially volunteer with to gain insight into journalism?

Remember you're amazing just as you are Heart

Re: Being unemployed at 22

Hey @Bee 

Thank you for clarifying about employers and appropriate attire, it is something I struggle with when it comes to interviews.


In today's age many employers are more open to alternative looks, I strive to look my best as it does give me a leg up. But one day I do want more tattoes and piercings, I just don't want that disadvantage when it comes to employability. 


I have heard of places where you can volunteer for journalism, but for now I'm just dipping my toe in the water to see if I'm interested enough to take the dive. 

Re: Being unemployed at 22

Hi @LizO1997!

Being unemployed can make you feel awful. It can be so disheartening being rejected from positions. Smiley Sad

I am also unemployed while a lot of people I know are working, which has been really tough for me to deal with. I have been caring for some of my family members and doing short courses and volunteering part-time (funnily enough, I also volunteered as a receptionist). When I was in uni, staff members told me to focus on my studies rather than getting a job. It is also really hard to get a job in my field without having some volunteer work under your belt.
I'm hoping to do a postgraduate course to receive a qualification, but those also need experience in order to stand a reasonable change of getting in. I'm currently in the process of applying for some.

I think you are doing the best you can, especially given that it's hard to find a job in regional areas. It was so hard for me just to find any kind of volunteering position because volunteering is also very competitive and many positions require references. Volunteering can be a great route into paid employment because it can provide you with valuable skills, instances where you accomplished things and you might also find out about paid jobs before they are advertised. I don't know about journalism, but I spoke to a few other people who got into postgraduate courses in my field and they said that their volunteer work was what got them in.

Is there anything that you can put on your resume that might look impressive? It doesn't necessarily have to be employment or volunteering-related.
For example, I wrote down that I was involved in organising an event that raised over $2000 for charity. I also wrote that I have some experience in two other languages other than English and listed my caring work and short courses I have done.
There are also a lot of courses you can find online that are free. That might help you bulk up your resume.
Perhaps you can ask the people you volunteered with to write you a reference. I have gotten a few letters of recommendation through volunteering.

Re: Being unemployed at 22

Hi @WheresMySquishy 

I'm very happy to hear you're working towards your goal right now, it's great to have aspirations and to work towards them. 


In terms of skills I've actually gained quite a few, Microsoft Office, customer service etc. I'm currently learning Japanese so that'll be an extra skill to have, but even with the volunteering and skills I have it's still hard to find a job.

Re: Being unemployed at 22

@LizO1997Thanks for the kind words! Smiley Happy Postgraduate study is so competitive. It's hard because there is no guarantee of being accepted into a course. Smiley Sad

Those are some great skills to have. I also learned Japanese for four years, so I put that on my resume. I'd love to pick it up again.
I've heard there are some apps where you can learn how to speak languages, such as Duolingo.
Have you done any spreadsheets? That could also be a good thing to put on your resume.
Do you have any transferable or 'general' skills from another role, or have you cared for a family member, friend, neighbour, etc.? Some places value these skills, especially if you word them in particular ways. For example, if you volunteered part time whilst caring for someone else, you could say something like 'Organisation and Responsibility', 'Work/Life balance', 'Flexibility', etc.

I agree about how hard it is to find a job, especially for young people like us without a lot of experience. Smiley Sad

Re: Being unemployed at 22

@WheresMySquishy It's all good, I can understand where you're coming from in terms of competitiveness, we live in a pretty unjust system.


I'm actually using Duolingo as classes would put a major dent in my budget, I do have these particular skills listed on my resume.


It's a battle but I'm getting through it

Re: Being unemployed at 22

Hey @LizO1997 just checking in to see how you're going with the job hunt?


I understand that it can be daunting to be unemployed, not to mention the stress and anxiety of dealing with Centrelink. I was on Centrelink myself while I was studying and it was definitely hard to fill out all the forms and do all the right things in order to get your allowance. I've worked as a retail manager for a few years and have experience in hiring my own staff and I thought I'd share some tips that you may choose to use or not use:


  • Get someone to look over your resume - preferably someone who is going to be honest and is willing to say what needs to be improved or changed. I got my step sister to look at mine for me and all she did was change the template and changed the wording of some things, but it helped me land my first job!
  • Ideally have a one page resume, no more than two pages
  • Physically WALK IN to the establishments that you'd like to get a job at and ask for the manager so you can give them your resume - I know it's daunting!! But it shows that you are keen and they can put a name to a face. Ask them questions, 'are you hiring staff at the moment?', 'what's your favourite part about working here?'. Strike up a conversation and make an impact. I've gotten two of my jobs this way. 

Wishing you the best of luck with job hunting, keep going you got this Smiley Wink