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Equal opportunities.. YEAH, RIGHT!

March 13, 2013

I have been trying to figure out how much is my Yahoo Mail capacity. Well, I just wanted to know because in the last few days I have been trying to delete all of the NO-s in my inbox. And this is how many NO-s we’re talking about. Yet, all the angry e-mail deleting obviously made me delete the e-mails I’ve wanted to tell you about. So in few paragraphs you will probably ask yourselves what kind of case I am setting out if I don’t have any evidence to support it with.. Nothing more to say apart from – You should trust me on this one once again.

Few months ago I started applying for an industrial placement in the UK. University requirement. No placement – no BA degree diploma. And guess what! I have been declined all over again and again. Reason – “unknown”. I’ve got the uni degree, enough experience and just as much enthusiasm.

Declines varied from – “Sorry, the position has been closed” (weeks before final deadline) to “Sorry, you don’t have the qualification” (this one is my absolute favourite – I don’t have the relevant degree or experience?). However, there were also those declines.. The ones that I like to relate to companies that pay a bit extra attention to the “Equal Opportunities” section of the application. You know – this is the part where you check boxes – nationality, ethnicity, disabilities, etc.

Funny fact – I have been successful in my applications that only required sending your CV and cover letter (application form without Equal Opportunities section). Success in online applications on company website – ZERO, 0%, none. That got me thinking.. What if I was British or had a disability.. Hmm. Sadly, can’t lie on this one and I am required by law to declare that I’m giving the right information.

Equal opportunities – YEAH, RIGHT! Guess my combination – white heterosexual European is not really what the corporate world is looking for. Should I cut my leg off and change my nationality so that companies would be motivated to even open my CV? And I know they don’t.

Example: Late night applying. After few tries to go through the system that did not even allow me to proceed with my application because I have a work permit or what so ever. I get to the CV part. Sending application at about 2 am. At 3 am I receive an e-mail that my application is not successful. Can you guess the reason? A huge amount of applications of quality candidates.

Got quite a few interviews and just the same amount of declines. Guess I filled in their quota that according to the urban myth requires an international student, someone from other ethnic group and a person with disability.


I am not going to accept that this easily. I am not going to give up and I am going to keep on applying! I knew that I am going to end up like this.. Getting rejections from everywhere I apply for with no following feedback, without a single clue what went wrong.  I can tell you – it’s not my CV or my cover letter because they have been approved by a career adviser. It’s not the interviews as well because I have been to hundreds of interviews (have worked for a long time) and I most certainly know how to get a job. Please note that I acknowledge the fact that there are sometimes candidates that make you think  – “Damn, they should give this job to her/him”.

 I am not going to settle down with a placement that involves coffee making and administrative work  just because the business nowadays has the term “Equal Opportunities” wrong! Why do you even want to know if I date men or women and what’s the colour of my skin if you so concerned about human rights and equal opportunities?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2013 16:45

    Hello there!

    I am sad to hear about your struggles with the great wall of rejection in the UK. I would like you to know that you are not alone in this. I am a Bulgarian national and a recent graduate, and I have been applying for graduate schemes, placements and so forth for four months now.

    Looking through my job rejections has become a part of my daily routine and I assure you that I have the same doubts that those equal opportunities are not so equal at the end. I guess what is left for us is to keep pushing and, to be honest, when you are faced with more hurdles than the average John, this only drives you to be more exceptional and good at what you do so I guess it might work out for the better.

    Best Wishes and keep posting on your progress!


  2. March 13, 2013 18:05

    Thanks for the support Kaline! We’re obviously in the same shoes here.. Good luck to you as well! Are you planning to go back to Bulgaria if nothing comes up soon?

    • March 13, 2013 18:29

      To be honest with you, I have a job right now which provides me with enough income to pursue a decent lifestyle (compared and I am actually living better than when I was in Bulgaria….so I guess my answer is no. I have already gotten over any nostalgic feelings and for me a better answer for the current situation would be self-employment or a small start-up. I actually like the idea of being in a tight spot because it forces me to go out of my comfort zone :)

  3. Abdi permalink
    April 5, 2013 16:01

    Hi buddy,

    That’s so true. It’s more than a year that I face this very same scenario. Top UK MBA degree, relevant work experience and ability to speak in 4 different languages seem not to be enough for employers.

    I started networking more aggressively. Sometimes I’ve been told that “Honestly… you don’t look like someone with your nationality at all !!! nor you speak the way your ppl do!!!” I never figured out whether to take this as a compliment or an insult. Meeting me, seemed to change ppls’ views about me and I used to receive great feed backs about my experience and qualifications from most of them. But the very next day, they used to send me something like: “Sorry mate, I contacted the HR and seems that we are on a hiring freeze.” or “you know how challenging the market is..”

    Seriously,.. How the market was when we were having our coffee/launch together the day before? Did the market get challenging just over the night?!! the most annoying part reads like: “Please keep looking on our website for matching opportunities with XYZ. I wish you best of the luck in your journey..” !!!

    I always had my doubts about the real reasons behind my rejections but kept deceiving myself that I did my MBA in the wrong time/mkt or they need more specialisation until a very honest person in a networking catch up told me: “I talked to many ppl about you and everything is always fine until I tell them your nationality. So you excuse me if I couldn’t be more helpful.” That was a slap in the face to me.

    I’m back home for a break after months of everyday disappointment and hate to think of getting back to the UK.

    Unfortunately, changing nationality doesn’t seem to be a good option my friend, as by the time we get our second nationality, they find another convincing reason on the so called EQUAL opportunity section to reject our applications– our AGEs! You can think of breaking your legs as a quicker way to getting your job! ;)

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