Homenewshow to plan for leaving school college or university


If you’re about to go into your final year at school, college or university, you’re probably trying to make your mind up about further study, apprenticeships, getting a full-time job or even travelling the world.

Most application processes start super early opening in September/October for the following summer’s intake. Here’s what you can be doing in the next year or so to prepare:

Think about your CV

Don’t make your CV generic. I see the CVs of hundreds of “driven”, “dynamic” and “self-motivated” candidates. These buzzwords are the norm. Instead, think about how to get your personality across. Are you patient and empathetic? Okay, show us where you’ve been like that. Tell a story. Back it up with evidence.

One more thing: bullet points. So long as you’re not creating long lists, these are very handy for avoiding big blocks of text. I like bullet points.

Seek out work experience or internship opportunities

This applies to anyone at any level. Whether you’re in your first year of Uni or Y10 at school. First, get the opportunity. Then, make the most of it. Keep a record of what you did. For your future CV, be able to say what you achieved and then how it benefitted the company. Written testimonials are great if you can get them too.

Accept that grades aren’t everything

Of course, do your absolute best. But don’t beat yourself up if you come out with a 2:2 or a third at Uni. Or if your UCAS points don’t add up to what you wanted.

It’s now well-known in recruitment that people can be textbook smart, but rubbish when it comes to interpersonal skills. It’s about your personal qualities and how you apply them to a position. And these days, lots of employers, like us at Cooper Parry, want a diverse talent pool.

Make life count

A lot of young people are hard on themselves for not knowing what they want to do. But it’s fine. Maybe start thinking, how can you build a greater self-awareness about yourself? To do this, I’m a big advocate for travel. The benefits are endless…

You learn about yourself. Grow your confidence. You discover how to adapt and be flexible. You also learn to be independent (with money too!). You gain a greater cultural awareness and learn to appreciate not everyone has the same background as you.

Are you thinking about accountancy?

You don’t need to a maths wizard to be an accountant. It’s more to do with process than it is to do with numbers. Accountancy is fast-paced and dynamic. You have to learn quickly. In reward of your efforts there’s a quick progression path. Three years for a graduate and five for a school leaver to become a qualified chartered account.

If you’re naturally curious or inquisitive, you’d be great in accountancy. Another benefit: it’s a stable industry. We’re always going to need auditors!

Looking to kick start your career?

Check out our Early Career Opportunities here.

All the best if you’re applying. And if you have any questions, please shout up.

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