Edward Jemes graduated from the University of Greenwich in 2016 with a degree in Mathematics and Economics. Like many graduates, he's struggled to land a job that's right for him since then.
After unsuccessfully applying for plenty of jobs the ‘traditional’ way, Edward decided to try something very different – standing at major tube stations across London with a sign and his CV, hoping to catch the attention of potential employers and secure an interview.
We spoke to Edward about where this unconventional idea came from and whether it’s brought him any success so far.
Edward tells me he’s hoping to get into Media, Advertising or Marketing, but was initially pursuing Finance, as he felt it more closely related to his degree. He spent some months after his graduation working at a restaurant in the Deutsche Bank building on Liverpool Street, as a Kitchen Assistant. Though he says it wasn’t his dream job, the position allowed Edward to meet a lot of people.
“Every day I was networking, learning names and about roles inside the Banking industry,” he explains. He even carried a notebook with him to keep track of the information he was learning each day.
Edward has since decided against pursuing Finance, but did get the inspiration for his unique approach to job hunting whilst working at the bank.
One day, the Managing Director told him he was late to a meeting because the Central Line had delays. Previously, Edward says, he'd had “this fancy Disney idea” that MDs and CEOs arrived at work “in limousines, helicopters, or horse-driven carriages”. The conversation made him realise that many people with hiring power were likely taking public transport to work each day – and, with that knowledge and some creativity, he just might be able to make an opportunity for himself.
He launched “a strategic plan” to stand at London’s busiest tube stations for several hours each morning, when employers were most likely to be passing through. He designed several signs “to suit the weather” – when it’s cold, he uses a sign with “a kitten and a dog in winter clothes to attract attention”. He carries hundreds of CVs with him, and has prepared three unique 10-second pitches about himself. His signs also state that he is open to on-the-spot interviews.
In two weeks, Edward has visited 19 London tube stations.
He has received a great deal of support from people who have interacted with the project – be that in person, or via his #EmployEdward social media campaign.
"Employers are very impressed by my determination so far,” he says. One CEO of a stock trading company even offered him a full breakfast when they met at Liverpool Street Station. Currently, Edward is in the interview stages with a few agencies and is speaking to many recruiters, but has yet to find his dream graduate job.
“You won’t see me at any stations in the mornings anymore.”
Now exhausted from standing outside in bad weather for hours each day, Edward will be taking a break and focusing on using social media innovatively to put himself out there, as well as using “normal" applying methods to try and land a job.
He’s no less determined to start his career in Media, Marketing or Advertising, though, and says the experience has taught him a lot.
"Sometimes it isn't about the job opportunity, but also networking," Edward reflects. He's had coffees and received advice from "people from all walks of life" - including advertisers, bankers, nurses, funeral directors and artists.
Perhaps the key thing Edward hopes other graduates will take from his story is the importance of confidence and self-promotion - he believes all graduates should be aware of how they are marketing themselves.
"A person cannot be confined to an A4-sized CV. Be proactive!"