Firstly, I gotta give you a lil #LOL before you read any further. That precariously placed red splodge you see on my jumpsuit leg, this numpty went and spilt bright red nail polish on myself when it got it’s first outing and I can’t get rid of it. Any removal suggestions will be gladly welcomed as I just love it so much. Okay, okay back to the moral of the story. Lemme break it down for you hunnies. YOU DON’T NEED UNI TO GET YO’ DREAM CAREER. SHOCK. (Have I been watching too much Ru Paul?) I didn’t go to Uni and have had two very successful (or at least I like to think?! Yikes do I wanna blow my trumpet anymore?!) careers in my 10 years of working life. I didn’t go to Uni & I’m not a failure!
Back when I was leaving school in 2006 (stop the world I wanna get off, that is TEN years ago!) our school had a particular knack of coercing people in to heading to sixth form and then moving on to University to “achieve anything” in their life. For someone like me who wasn’t academic and couldn’t always apply myself to school subjects I felt backed in to a corner. I went in to year 12, the first year of sixth form, with 4 core subjects; Travel & Tourism, Textiles, English Language & Sociology. I only passed the three former subjects (I effing hated sociology.) My scores were horrific and my heart wasn’t in it, I was mourning a broken heart for the first part and then lusting to all mother of extents after another boy (who subsequently became my husband, yay me!) My head was not in the game. I still think to this day that had my circumstances been any different I would have still struggled over and over again. This post is for all those people who have felt like failures for not going to Uni and for those who don’t know what their next options are.
GET YO’SELF ON AN APPRENTICE SCHEME. This is exactly what I did when I left sixth form. I had gone for an interview with Tui to become the resident Travel Apprentice in a store in York, within 3 hours of my interview I was offered the position. The next day I headed in to school/sixth form and handed my letter of leave to our head of year. I had an adult job to go to. Sounds scary & yes I’ve been working hard since the age of 17 but I have so much to show for it, a career where I worked my way up to Store Assistant Manager and a qualification to boot. Studying and working alongside one another doesn’t have to be hard work if it’s what you are passionate about. Click this link here to read about what Apprenticeships are available near you.
WORK WITH GREAT RECRUITMENT AGENCIES*. Work with ones that understand your goals and desires for your career or working life, such as Spotlight Recruitment. When I left travel 2 years ago, I wanted to go in to something that pushed the boundaries and I now work in Experiential Marketing & Events. Whilst its very different to what I was doing before, your recruiter can understand your strengths and how they can be applied to other jobs to put you forward for varying roles. A quote that always goes without saying is “two pairs of eyes is better than one” and that’s exactly why using a recruitment agency can do to get your foot in the door.
BE PREPARED TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. I have to do things that aren’t always that great, attend awkward seminars and luncheon meets, but it can sometimes get you in front of the right people and when you do find that, it will all be worth it. Even if you do have to sit in front of a smarmy man with greased back hair telling you about his yacht on the South of France, grin and bear it (if you can!)
WORK HARD TO GET WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. Success doesn’t just happen overnight, it’s something you work hard at to gain that status. I worked my (humongous) butt off in my interviews to get the job I currently hold as an Account Manager. For my second round of interviews with the company I went out of my way to create a PowerPoint presentation showing them exactly what I can bring to the table, and also how I would do it. It scored me massive brownie points as not only was I really selling myself for the role, I was also displaying my competency of using a computer & it’s programmes. You know the saying, “two birds, one stone.”
THE GREATEST MARKETING EXPERIENCE I EVER GAINED WAS FROM STARTING THIS BLOG. If you have a passion for anything, start writing it down online. Play on your strengths, create some amazing content AND GET MARKETING IT. You will get a really good vibe from social sharing and creating content and having this to show to a potential employer could put you head and shoulders above the rest. A side-line hobby could seriously help you. Blogging is not being ignored so work it to your advantage if you are applying for Marketing or Social Media roles.
INTERN. It’s not something I’ve ever done, however, having spoken to others about how they interned really gave them the experience to qualify them for their biggest role to date it seems a no-brainer. Yes, most opportunities aren’t paid, but if you are at home taking 2 weeks out of your Summer to intern won’t be the end of the world. Imagine how amazing that is going to look on your CV?
You know what they say, “Don’t measure your success on everyone else’s.” I feel like I’ve been a little bit of a cliché with all these quotes, but seriously, as long as you are happy and taking the right steps to get yourself on or up the career ladder then I applaud you. In a tough job market, it can be difficult so just remember to stand out and bring something a little bit different or unique to set yourself ahead of others. If you are struggling with the decision of what to do next after school or even in adulthood, speak to a careers advisor or check out the Citizens advice website for more guidance. Remember Uni isn’t for everyone and there are some fantastic opportunities out there!
I'm Bee. 27 year old who is finally starting to understand herself. A Scorpio that's too nice to use that sting in her tail, regularly found searching for holidays or online shopping. Happiest when being fed, travelling & spending time with Mr C.