Hi I'm Bertie, this column is basically a place for me to call bullshit on girl related things I think are stupid.
This week, university students across the country will be jumping out of bed, washing their grinning faces and brushing last night’s Glen's out of their hair. They’ll run downstairs to greet their beaming parents, throw some breakfast into the area around their mouths and then drive back to the campus where they spent approximately 500 hours trying to drunkenly take out cash. An hour or so later, after having applied and removed one of world’s the most hideous pieces of millinery to the crown of their heads, they will be a fully fledged graduate. If this is you, congratulations. I skipped my graduation because I was scared they'd got my marks wrong and I didn't want to give them the opportunity to retract them.
Graduation is an achievement well worthy of the slightly-above-adequate meal you'll be eating with your parents at Cote tonight, so soak it up, because any pangs of self-esteem you're currently experiencing will be gone very soon. This is because you're going to be wallowing in the depths of poverty and unemployment! Let's not beat around the bush, despite what David Cameron might have said this morning…
…everyone knows there are no jobs. In the public sector, women are losing their jobs at a rate almost double that of men. So, fellow Ladies BA, the three years of hard work you just put in probably aren't going to be enough on their own to secure you that dream job spent petting the office dog and depriving disabled people of their benefits at Islington Town Hall. There's been a whole lot of research into how women are treated during the hiring process, but to save you precious facial waxing and cuticle soaking time, I've condensed it into one, severely depressing, hugely sexist step-by-step process. The post-graduation "Unemployment Makeover". Yay for equal rights!
Thanks to the world being a horrible, Darwinian nightmare, a recent study found that over half of employers value a job candidate's perceived "cultural fit" over any other criterion. Okay, so that isn't just about looks – it's also about how culturally similar you are, how much you "click" and whether you share any of the same hobbies – but do you know anyone who isn't looking to tick those boxes, even on a subconscious level, when they're looking for a GF/BF?
"Of course employers are looking for people who have the baseline of skills to effectively do the job," says sociologist Dr Lauren Rivera. "But, beyond that, employers really want people who they will bond with, who they will feel good around, who will be their friend and maybe even their romantic partner."
I'm guessing that, given you're a recent evacuee from the British higher education system, you're currently at a bonding level with someone who also wears strange clothes and is prone to erratic, immature behaviour, like a squaddie or a clown. If you're aiming anywhere other than that in career terms, you're gonna have to start dressing more like the other boss-eyed yacht club dickheads who "slum it" in Byron when they're not running the country.
How do you get the job? Put on some red lipstick and a slightly too-tight skirt suit, get a blow dry, splatter some Byron sauce on your shoes.
BUT DON'T BE INTIMIDATINGLY HOT
We all know about the "girl next door complex"; the idea that every guy's perfect woman is sexy, not that smart, wholesome and sleeps and undresses within the range of a pair of binoculars. Well, unfortunately this gender cliche applies to job applications too, with both male and female bosses dismissing applications from particularly good-looking women. So despite flirting and being attractive once you've made it to the actual interview, you better look like shit in your CV picture (and on Facebook and Twitter too, because they'll definitely be checking those out, BTW), otherwise you can wave buh-bye to that call back.
How do you get the job?Delete all pictures of you looking attractive from the internet.
FLIRT IN YOUR INTERVIEW
So can we start now? Great. Let me just… adjust my top and… run my fingers through my… OK, let's begin the interview. Oh sorry, I forgot I wasn't applying for a job just then and it wasn't totally necessary for me to flirt with the male interviewer, who is more likely to hire me if I imply during our brief time together that I'm game for our working relationship to move towards “friend" or even "romantic partner”. Here are some flirting ideas you might want to make use of: dropping your pen into your cleavage mid-interview; SWOOSHING your hair around like Gabrielle from Desperate Housewives in those adverts she made for Super Luxury Conditioning Light Organic Scientific Kute-Smelling Hair Creme, turning around and bending over to tie the laces on your six-inch slip-on heels.
How do you get the job?It doesn't matter what you wear, as long as your eyelashes are long and you're swinging your hips enough when you strut in and subtly gyrating throughout the interview process.
DO NOT HAVE A FUNCTIONING FEMALE BODY
Because that makes you the least dependable employee ever! WHO would hire a disgusting, stomach-swelling, milk-leaking woman? Shudder.
How do you get the job? Cultivate a visible eating disorder, learn the telltale signs of slight mental illness and possibly look into rendering yourself infertile.
DON'T BE YOUNG
This one isn't strictly for the ladies actually, because the total number of 16-24 year olds in employment fell by 4,000 at the start of this year, and there are more over-65s working now than ever before in the UK. So I guess you need to stock up on dry shampoo and get spraying, kids. If you don't have the grey hair of a sexy, flirtatious, not too good-looking male pensioner, then it sounds like you're bang out of luck.
How do you get the job? Wear anything from Monsoon and the smell of prawn sandwiches. Old people fucking love prawn sandwiches.
…OR JUST FUCK EVERYONE
Metaphorically, of course. Because while the workplace is a shit-show of biased boys club bullshit, the best thing you can do in any situation is be your beautiful, confident self. Forget anyone who thinks they're allowed to hire people on the basis of their appearance and sexuality. Living in a world where you're forced to reconsider your personal value to impress the people who are in power because they're good at stamping all over other people is a horrible world to live in. So don't perpetuate it.
I guess what I learned from my job-hunting post-university year was to not be disheartened, and never turn down a money job, even if it does entail handing out packets of hot sauce to commuters on the central line. (Wearing a fleece and a baseball cap.) The more money you can make, the more independent and confident you'll feel, plus it'll help you to know failure, which is an important thing to know. Really important. Above everything else, be your own person. Sure, "fashion blogger" can be a legit career path these days, but don't discount the possibility of finding your own niche in any number of more strenuous and less pointless roles in the jobiverse.
How do you get the job? Balls to everyone. Take up smoking. What can I say, I believe in you, girl, so try to survive for now on whatever leftover money you have saved up – there’s a reason the student loan company gives you that final instalment. (But you've already spent that because you thought it was an admin error, haven't you?)
Follow Bertie on Twitter: @bertiebrandes