The Trials and Tribulations of Betty

We all know how hard it is to find a job in the current climate – and for students and recent graduates it can be even harder. In this post I am going to talk about my friend, (who we shall call Betty), who knows all about the trials of applying for jobs and being rejected. 

Betty is a 20 years old Event management student like myself. She has good experience in the industry having working for the recent BBC Great British Story event with me over the last 5 weeks. And without a doubt she has a brilliant attitude and personality that makes her a great addition to any team.

However over the course of this year (2012) she has had rejection letters from 6 companies outright.  

What makes Betty’s story interesting is the feedback she was given afterwards from some of the interviewers. Listed below are some of the reason Betty was given as to why she was unsuccessful in gaining those positions; 

  • Not doing the right degree
  • Too energetic 
  • Not enough marketing background 
  • Too ambitious 
Now some of these I agree with, if you are applying for an events and marketing role it helps if you have experience in the two because if another candidate can show they have experience in the two areas they will triumph. It simply comes down to proving you have the skills the employers are looking for. 

However I want to talk about two of those bullet points in more detail. And if you  don’t know which ones, how about we play a game of  ‘spot the two dramatically different feedback points!’ 

energetic |ˌenərˈjetik|


showing or involving great activity or vitality: energetic exercise.• Physics characterized by a high level of energy (in the technical sense): energetic X-rays.• of or relating to energy (in the technical sense).

The idea that from a sit down interview you can determine if someone is energetic is beyond me. Unless of course that person is running up and down the room. And really is that a reason not to employe the person? The Events industry is as much about office work and pre-planning as the actual operations on the event day and in all teams you need people who offer a range of abilities and mental capabilities such as being able to retain their energy whilst working 16+ hours each day. 

I personally see the feedback of being ‘too energetic’ as a cop out from the real reason – it just doesn’t seem to ring true. 

However when being rejected from jobs, just like Betty, you will face ridiculous reasons why you have not been successful. 
ambition |amˈbiSHən|nouna strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work: her ambition was to become a model | he achieved his ambition of making a fortune.• desire and determination to achieve success: life offered few opportunities for young people with ambition.
With this next point I can partially see the reason it was given. Sometimes when a question is asked it is best to keep your real ambitions tucked away, just pretend that in 10 years time you want to be working for the same company (hell it could be the best job ever!) I’m not saying that it is wrong to want to work for a company for 10 years or that it isn’t a great aim but if you are a person who wants something different – maybe don’t say!

However just like the previous feedback I just feel that for a year long placement, that Betty was applying for, it doesn’t matter if that person is very ambitious. They haven’t worked full time in the real world and they certainly aren’t about to leave you in their placement year. So answer me this why should it matter if Betty has ambition? Surely ambition is something we want people to have? 

I know that there are many people who have had similar responses to Betty. But have no fear, Betty has just completed her first week at her placement internship! After 10 rejections number 11 proved to be the lucky one. 

So yes, rejections are heart wrenching but if you prove you have the skills and abilities being looked for  then you will triumph! 

If you have been in a similar situation I would love to hear about how it went/is going @Imdamnstudent

  • I am currently trying to decide whether to do a course in event management at university, or whether to opt for a more vocational course.

    From the above – I assume that you are both taking degree level courses? I know that many look for experience as well as qualifications – and many degree options are more theory than practice.

  • Hi Carla, I would without a doubt always say pick a vocational course that offers work experience in the industry. It is best to pick Universities that have links with companies or at least help in the search for placements. But when picking a University you also need to like the surroundings and the people.

    I wrote a post in 2011 called How to become an Event Manager: What University? ( which goes into more detail about what I did when applying and what I would suggest.

    We are both taking an Event Management Degree at the University of Gloucestershire, which does involve a lot of theory but they have a strong ethos in making sure students gain practical experience.

    I would love to hear about what you decide to do 🙂 You can always send me an email to GOOD LUCK CARLA 🙂