University life

Eight career lessons from Love Island

21 Jun 2023, 15:41

A reality TV show might not be your first port of call for advice, but you might be surprised by some of the lessons you could transfer from Love Island to your job hunt.

Hands creating a heart in front of a sunset over tropical beach

It’s official: Love Island has captured the hearts, minds and social media of the British public. Whether you’re a loud and proud fan, it’s your guilty pleasure or you like to bask in your smugness at having never watched an episode, it’s hard to escape the show’s popularity.

After becoming *a bit too* emotionally invested, we thought it would be a shame not to share what we’ve learned so far. We don’t want to give you a geography lesson (Barcelona is not in Italy) or a politics lesson (Brexit does not mean we won’t have any trees). And you might not want to copy some of the islanders’ romantic moves (we’re looking at you, Liam). So, instead, here are eight valuable career lessons that you can take away from Love Island .

1. Playing hard to get isn’t always a good thing

If you don’t make it clear that you like somebody, they may well move on with somebody new. Equally, if you don’t tell an employer how interested you are in their job, how are they meant to know? By failing to demonstrate your enthusiasm in your applications and interviews, you could lose out to those who do.

2. Neither is laying it on ‘factor 50’

There is such a thing as too much grafting. If you try too hard to convince recruiters that you are 100% committed to their company, love everything about the job and there’s no way your head will be turned, you may end up having the opposite effect and coming across as insincere. Recruiters are looking for genuine , not forced, enthusiasm – and they will be able to tell the difference between the two.

3. Know what you want, but be open to other possibilities

How many times have we heard the islanders describe their type on paper as ‘tall, dark and handsome’ or ‘needs to have good banter’? It’s good to have an idea of what you are looking for but being too closed-minded could mean shutting yourself off to other, great options. Translating this to careers-talk, you may have your heart set on one job, but be careful not to close yourself off to other opportunities.

4. Don’t judge a book by its cover

OK, we get it, the first episode is people deciding who to couple up with purely based on initial attraction and first impressions. But let’s look back at some of the original couples this year. Aaron and Shannon. Faye and Brad. Sharon and Hugo. It’s putting it mildly to say that none of these couples hit the ground running. Your first, instinctive choice isn’t always the right one. And you shouldn’t be put off a job title or rule out a job before you find out more about it.

5. You can change your mind

In most years, the islanders have made it clear that you aren’t locked into your first choice, second choice or even third choice! Maura from season five is the perfect example. Before coupling up with Curtis, she pursued Tommy, gave Tom several chances, brought Marvin back from Casa Amor and briefly coupled up with Chris. The same goes for careers. Not everybody will find their perfect job on the first attempt and it’s not as difficult as you might think to change course. In fact, it is increasingly the norm to have lots of different jobs over the course of your career.

6. You may have to deal with rejection

One thing that Love Island and job-hunting have in common is that, unfortunately, rejection may be a part of the experience. Even Ovie, a 6ft 7in professional basketball player who won hearts across the UK, was rejected by Anna – and handled it in his typical chilled-out manner. As hard as it is, this is where developing a thick skin and channelling your inner Ovie can come in handy. Drawing on one of the islanders’ favourite phrases this year: ‘It is what it is’. If your first few job applications aren’t successful, don’t worry. Just stay positive, keep persevering and use our advice to help you write the best applications.

7. Ask yourself ‘Could this work out in the long term?’

Love Island doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to relationships that work ‘on the outside’ with plenty of speculation over which couples will make it past the six-month mark. When choosing your career, ask yourself a similar question: can you see yourself being happy in this career in the long run or will you want to change direction in the future?

8. A good cup of tea or coffee goes a long way

Your first job shouldn’t involve making drinks all day long, but your team may take it in turns. And you should never underestimate the power of a good cup of tea to cheer up a colleague in need. So, whatever you do, don’t follow in Tommy’s footsteps, who had no clue how to make a green tea. If you’re a bit hazy on the art of making hot drinks, we’re sure your family and friends won’t mind being your test subjects/critics.

Could you follow the islanders’ career paths?

For those of you who fancy your chances at heading into the villa, finding your ‘soulmate’ and winning the £50,000 prize money, you’ll be up against plenty of competition. In 2018, ITV reported that over 85,000 people applied to appear on the show. In comparison, just over 37,000 students applied for undergraduate degree courses at Oxford and Cambridge universities combined.

If giving the public an all-access pass to your love life for two months doesn’t appeal to you, how about taking some inspiration from the careers some of the islanders had before they entered the villa? You might be surprised at the range of occupations they’ve had:

  • Chloe Burrows, 2021 – marketing executive
  • Teddy Soares, 2021 – financial consultant
  • Millie Court, 2021 – fashion buyer's administrator
  • Mike Boateng, 2020 – police officer
  • Shaughna Phillips, 2020 – democratic services officer
  • Finley Tapp, 2020 – recruitment consultant
  • Anna Vakili, 2019 – pharmacist
  • Yewande Biala, 2019 – scientist (oncology vaccine specialist)
  • Callum Macleod, 2019 – aircraft engineer
  • Alex George, 2018 – A&E doctor
  • Rosie Williams, 2018 - solicitor
  • Josh Denzel, 2018 – social media presenter
  • Camilla Thurlow, 2017 – explosive ordnance disposal expert
  • Dom Lever, 2017 – careers adviser
  • Rachel Fenton, 2016 – trauma and orthopedic nurse
  • Scott Thomas, 2016 – owner of an events company

More career tips from TV shows…

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This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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