For college students all over the country tomorrow is a big day…it’s A Level results day, where thousands of students will find out their grades and assess their options! And if you’re one of them, you might be feeling a bit apprehensive. What will results day bring? And what’s your next move?
There are a variety of options you can consider after leaving college. You might already have a career path in mind but many students wait for their A Level results to decide what to do next. If you are currently awaiting your A Level results, here are some tips to help you get ready for your next step and to help you decide what to do after college:
Update Your CV
The first task to complete after you have received your A Level results is to update your CV as whether you choose to go to university or gain employment – you’re going to need a CV! If you are starting a CV from scratch then use a CV template to write and layout your CV. It should include your personal information (like contact details and social pages if applicable), your education (don’t forget to update with your A Level results), your personal statement, career objective, work experience, achievements, skills and hobbies. It sounds daunting but when you break it down your CV can be simple to create:
Personal Details: Be sure to include your contact details and location and if you have social pages that you feel can be seen by employers, like a social media page or a blog, then include them too.
Personal Statement: A personal statement is designed to introduce you, your skills and your qualifications and it should be kept to a paragraph or less. Keep this section short – an employer will read this to get a snapshot of your CV and your experience. If you need more advice check out our post on writing a personal statement.
Career Objective: This can be tough to write, especially if you are fresh out of college and are not sure what you are looking to do yet. Use this section to simply outline your passion and look back on your time at college to assess what classes you enjoyed and what tasks you performed well in. An example of a career objective could be: “I have enjoyed every aspect of studying Media Studies at college and I would like to take my skills to a company that can benefit from them whilst nurturing them in a challenging and innovative environment.”
Skills: Use the key skills section to list a few bullet points that you consider to be your key strengths. Look at your time at college and consider what your key strengths have been – whether it’s working in a team, working with particular software or a certification you have picked up along the way – note it down on your CV.
Work Experience: This section may be slightly limited if you are just leaving college as it’s doubtful you’ve had much opportunity to work outside of education. But if you have a part-time job, have completed a voluntary role or have completed an internship include it all in this section. Briefly outline your job role and responsibilities.
Achievements: If you have any achievements, whether they are academic or you have achieved them in your personal time, put them on your CV. Achievements not only demonstrate what you are proud of but they can demonstrate your character.
Hobbies: Hobbies can be a great addition to your CV. They can give an employer or a university an insight into your personality and they can also help to build rapport between you and a possible interviewer. If an interviewer shares a similar hobby to you then it can create a talking point during your meeting.
Assess Your Skills
Once you receive your A Level results you should start to assess your skills. It might be glaringly obvious from your results – if you got a high grade in a particular subject then it obviously suggests this is a strength of yours. But in order to start thinking about your next move you not only have to think about your skills, you need to think about what you have enjoyed learning and what you would like to develop on when you leave college. So for example, if you have taken an A Level in English Literature and scored well and really enjoyed the topic then start thinking about what you could do with this A Level (if you haven’t already applied to university). Do you want to pursue a degree in English Literature? Do you want to start working immediately? If so, what jobs can nurture this sort of qualification? A Librarian, Journalist or Teacher are just a few ideas of the careers that could be appropriate. Start thinking about your own strengths and skills and this will help you to formulate a plan for your next move.
After you have considered your own strengths and what topics you enjoy studying you should consider speaking to a career advisor. Most colleges offer this – it allows you to speak to an expert about your career opportunities. This can be really helpful in helping you decide what you want to do next.
Now you have your results and you’ve updated your CV and assessed your options you should be in an informed position. If you have decided what career path you would like to follow then you should research what qualifications you might need – some careers require a degree or masters so further education could be the option for you. However many career opportunities emphasise work experience as a way to get on the career ladder so gaining an unpaid work experience placement could be the right choice. There are many things to consider when making the next step:
• If you are sure of the qualification you need to gain then applying to university is your next step. Many students apply before they receive their grades and have a conditional offer based on the grades they achieve at A Level however some people wait to decide whether it’s the right decision for them. If this is you, then you are now in a position to apply to university. Always check with your college on deadline dates so you don’t miss any important dates in your diary.
• If you want to go straight into employment then start applying for roles now! Send your CV and cover letter to employers you would like to work for, look out for relevant job roles in your area and start using social media to network with potential contacts.
• If you’re still unsure you could consider taking a year out to travel, explore career options, complete work experience placements or volunteer. Doing all of this might help you decide your next step!