Between a job and a hard place

As part of my ongoing series of guest writers for my blog, I’m pleased to introduce Euan Gillies (@egillies). Euan is a recent graduate from Aberdeen who moved to London to pursue a career in internal communications and here he writes about what it is like to start out in the industry and try to find your feet.

He currently works for integrated communications, learning and design consultancy The Fifth Business. Euan says his passion for the comms industry was first sparked when he volunteered full time in the Communications team of a national charity.

If you have any thoughts about Euan’s article do get in touch by leaving a comment at the end of this post. Over to you Euan…

Between a job and a hard place
It’s a hard time for graduates who are looking for work and for Communications graduates it’s no different. Having just moved from Aberdeen to London to start my first role as a Communications Co-ordinator at an internal communications consultancy I know, first hand, that the road to employment isn’t always a smooth one.

At University I thought getting a job after graduation was a given. The University didn’t help this by constantly touting the successes of its graduates. So when I graduated and started looking for a job I thought it would be easy. I applied for several positions in Aberdeen’s Communications and PR community.

Striving to succeed
Quickly, however, one thing became abundantly clear – to get a job you need experience. And with Aberdeen being the Oil Capital of Europe, you need experience in the energy sector.

Unsurprisingly, as a new graduate, I didn’t have this. I had worked for a year with a local charity, and sure, we dealt with energy companies from time to time, but this wasn’t enough. I tried re-writing my CV to show ‘transferable’ skills and talked up what little experience I had, but to no avail. A sudden realisation then hit me: to get experience and a job, I would have to work for free.

So, swallowing my pride, I went back to the companies I had asked to pay me only weeks before. This time, I just asked for an opportunity, which I was given at the consultancy I currently work.

They offered me a chance to build up my experience but made it clear that they were not looking to hire anyone in the near future. I liked the passion in the company and their honesty so I accepted. It was better to have my toe in the water with a small chance of swimming rather than waiting in the car outside the pool, right?

Taking risks
During the next couple of months I worked on many exciting and interesting projects. Then, one day I was called into the Business Managers’ office. A position had become available but there was just one problem – it was in London. It was taking a risk that got me to this stage, so, after a lot of thought I decided to see where another would take me.

I’ve been in my current role for over a month now and I’m finding the world of internal communications exciting and challenging. There seems to be a real drive to demonstrate the importance of the field to organisations. And with the introduction of new technologies like social media, it’s an interesting period to be an Internal Communicator. I really feel lucky to be starting out at this time and with the potential of being embedded with my first ‘real’ client soon, I am excited for the challenges ahead for both myself and  internal communication. Euan.

Thank you for your thoughts Euan. I think the plight of graduates searching for jobs is well known, however when Euan got in touch with me to offer to write for Diary of an internal communicator, I was intrigued as to the reality for comms grads and I think it’s fair to say that he has brought it to life, certainly for me, and hopefully for you as you read through. As I said, do let him know your thoughts and welcome to the industry Euan, Rachel.

Post author: Euan Gillies.


  1. Adriana says:

    Inspiring post! Nice to hear about the job search process from an actual recent graduate. I’m applying to PR jobs right now after graduating in May, and it’s definitely proving to be challenging. Guess it’s time to start taking some risks!

  2. Thor says:

    Euan has a great attitude – it’s attitude that will win any graduate through the current and future economic environment! Thor

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