She has a temporary job at Maastricht University’s EDLAB. To be more precise: she is involved in the premium project in which the Italian Anna Marino (23) participated last year as a master’s student of European Studies. Premium is meant for talented and motivated students who get to work on queries that businesses, NGOs or other bodies may have. Marino now has to recruit students, deals with communication and has a number of administrative tasks.
It is not a full-time job and it lasts only three months. Unfortunately, says Marino, who heard on 30 June that she had met with all the requirements and so would officially receive her master’s diploma via an online ceremony. She would love to remain at the university. As a tutor, a research assistant or a PhD candidate. “The UM suits me, besides I have many friends here and a nice house.” Don’t get her wrong, if she could get a job in Brussels in or around the European Union, then she would move, no problem. She is used to it, she studied in Northern Ireland, Milan, Leiden, and most recently in Maastricht. “I would love to do a traineeship or a paid work placement as a consultant in the field of migration, sustainability or development. It is my dream to put into practice what I have learned over the past years. You only really see how matters work in practice.”
COVID-19 doesn’t make looking for a job any easier. “I spoke to alumni who graduated some time before me. In their eyes, it was less tough on the jobs market before the pandemic. Now there are not only fewer vacancies, but it is also more difficult to build up a network. Businesses and organisations do set up online sessions, but that is only a makeshift solution.”
She is avidly applying for jobs because she would prefer to start her next job immediately after her time at EDLAB. “I have by now sent out fifteen job application letters. For two of those jobs, I was invited for an interview, but was dropped after the first round. Why? The problem is that employers don’t give a clear reason. What you hear is that they found someone who fits in with their team better, but they also say that my competencies are good. Because of that, you don’t know where to make improvements.” She started to doubt herself, put her curriculum vitae and motivational letter before people who know that world. They set her mind at rest: it all looks really good. “But if I have to compete with candidates that have a couple of years of work experience, then it will be difficult.”