Despite my mood being boosted by the Guardian London Graduate Fair, at which I spoke on a panel in October, the past few weeks have been tough going and it’s often been difficult to drag myself out of bed in the morning with seemingly little to look forward to. I had hoped that there would be an influx of new jobs coming up for me to use up my post-fair newly-found enthusiasm but nothing suitable has come up and days and even weeks have slipped by with no progress.

I’ve applied for just three full-time newspaper jobs since my last update; one for a reporter at the Bolton News, for which I am grossly under-qualified and frankly am embarrassed for wasting their time applying for, and for trainee reporter jobs at the Retford Times and at the John O’Groat Journal and the Caithness Courier, a twelve-hour train ride away in Wick in the very north of Scotland. I’ve not yet heard anything back from any of them.

I did however get a reply from the BBC’s Journalism Trainee Scheme, who politely wished me well but were unable to offer any feedback on why I was unsuccessful. I had planned to apply for ITV’s similar course but due to some terrible time-management and a lack of organisation somehow missed the deadline after only getting partly through the online application. I’d had it in my head I had another week — I need to keep a better diary in future.

An intriguing proposition I did throw my name into the hat for is to join the Guardian fans’ network for the 2010 football World Cup. However, although I genuinely believe myself to be an able candidate, I know there is going to be huge competition for the role so I’m not going to hold my breath.

Most recently, I responded to a post on journalism.co.uk advertising news correspondent jobs for Adfero’s DirectNews. Agency work isn’t something I’d ever really considered as my aim was always to be in a busy newsroom, but the chance to write a lot of copy on a daily basis and hone my news writing skills was something I didn’t feel I could turn down. I got an email back asking me to complete a news writing test, which I did earlier this week — it was basically two press release re-writes in an hour — and was then invited to a recruitment day in Manchester on Friday where there will be more assessments and, if I’m still in the running, interviews later in the day.

Researching the company has been difficult, mostly because of the numerous horror stories from ex-employees about their time there. It seems the turnover of staff is quite high which is rarely a good sign. But the chance to get lots of writing experience appeals to me and the job description did mention the chance to progress through the ranks swiftly. I really think it would be a good move for me. Although the work would no doubt be tough that doesn’t worry me. I think it would certainly develop my writing and the speed in which I can work, although admittedly my newsgathering skills may not progress with the job wholly office-based.

Meanwhile, I was asked by the site owner of the Back Page Football website if I’d like to write for them, so I’ve added them to the list of places I’m being published, with a semi-regular column. And I set up a blog where I can do some writing just really for myself, for fun, rather than the work I’ve been doing for various sites for free.

I also did a lot of research on post-grad courses to see if any were suitable for me. There are some very attractive NCTJ-accredited courses that would get me fully-qualified, but at over £5,000 the most reputable are well out of my price range. I tentatively enquired at Lambeth College, which I’d read good things about and was coincidentally the cheapest, but was informed that as I have already studied to NCTJ-level in some subjects and have passed half the exams already, it would not be suitable for me and they couldn’t offer me a place. I’m not sure where that leaves me as the response is likely to be similar from most places.

So at the moment everything is riding on Friday at Adfero. Wish me luck.

This is the latest of my pieces for the Guardian.

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