Top 5 career advice tips for A level students
Here, David Walker, Director of Programme and Public Policy provides his top five tips for young people receiving their results this week, bringing to light some of the options that are now available to them.
- Don’t panic - if you haven’t received the results you were hoping for and are thinking about going through clearing – consider carefully what you want to do and look at whether there are similar courses or combined ones at other education institutions, which will allow you to reach your goals. Don’t just go to university for the sake of it. From our experience, employers are looking for evidence of your ability to do a job, not necessarily your aptitude for passing exams. Do your research and find what works best for you.
- Do consider apprenticeships and employment options – more and more employers are looking to recruit students after A- Levels, from multinational companies such as Tesco to banks and leading accountancy firms. For apprenticeships, employers are not necessarily looking for top grades, but are seeking good basic skills which they can nurture. Therefore, apprenticeships can be a viable alternative to university. Some apprenticeships can even lead to a degree qualification at a later stage. A number of employers even support trainees or apprentices through college or university to gain their professional qualifications – in some professions like accountancy you can learn and earn at the same time. Again, it is vital that you do your research and find what suits you. A significant number of our students also prefer to go into employment on completing the Career Academy programme, many very successfully. With increasing pressure for university places, for some students it is an attractive option.
- Work experience is incredibly important - helping to inform you of career choices. Whether you are thinking of going to university or straight into the world of work, investing time in an internship will help you become more employable, and help you stand out from the crowd when making job applications.
- Research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) states that 70% of employers think employability skills are the most important, and think many school leavers and graduates are lacking these when entering the world of work. Skills such as teamwork, project management, communication – written and verbal - and ability to meet deadlines are all things that employers look for in employees. Consider the options available to you to gain these skills - volunteering, getting a part time job, internships - and make an effort to invest in them. By going the extra mile now, you are sure to reap the rewards later in life.
- It's not just what you do; it's how you present it, and yourself. Should you consider going straight into work, take the time to tailor your CV and covering letter to the requirements of the role you are applying for, and pay attention to the language you use. Steer clear of clichés. Focus on your achievements in and out of work and study, and how they showcase these particular qualities. Showcase yourself by networking and creating a good impression on people you meet.