What should I do after school? 5 steps to help you decide –
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School is a place where decisions are often made for you. 🤔
You’re told where to sit, what to wear, and when to take a break!
However, as you step into the adult world, you’ll encounter a new challenge – making decisions about your future. ✨
One of the most significant decisions you’ll face is what to do after school!
Here are our top 10 steps to follow to help you decide what to do after school. 🔮
1. Look at your options 🧐
The 3 main options people usually follow after school are:
- Go to a sixth form or college
- Get an apprenticeship or traineeship
- Get a job
Sixth Form or College 🏫
One common path after school is to go to either a sixth form or college.
While a sixth form is still part of an existing school, a college is a separate type of school for 16 – 18 year olds.
Both college and sixth forms offer “further education”, including courses like A-Levels, NVQs, BTECs, and more.
Qualifications from sixth forms and colleges can open doors for you to “higher education”, such as university.
Apprenticeships or Traineeships 👩🔧
Apprenticeships and traineeships are paid jobs which offer you hands-on work experience and training.
Traineeships and apprenticeships can help you to learn new skills and get ready for work!
If you prefer hands-on learning and gaining experience while earning money, an apprenticeship or traineeship could be a great fit.
Getting a job straight out of school can provide you with your first taste of working life and a steady income.
Job listings can be found on recruitment websites, social media, local newspapers, and through people you know.
Using tools like a CV builder can help you stand out in the application process for jobs.
2. Learn about yourself 🪞
How well do you know yourself?
Do you know what..
- You’re interested in? (Interests) 😍
- You’re good at? (Skills) ⚒️
- Your personality is like? (Personality) 💖
- You want your future lifestyle to be like? (Lifestyle goals) 🏖️
Knowing yourself really well, will help guide you towards a career that you will love. 🦸♀️
1. Interests – What do you love? 😍
What things interest you, that you’d love to be involved in every day? 🌅
It could include things like:
Animals 😺, sports/fitness 🤽♀️, art 🎨, film/TV 📽️, science 👩🔬, news 📰, books 📚, geography 🗺️, money/finance 💸, history 🦖, entertainment 💃, maths ➗, music 🎼, technology 💻, travel ✈️, vehicles – boats/aeroplanes/trains/cars ⛵, politics 👩💼, business 💼, plants 🪴, gifts 🎁, research 🕵️♀️, spreadsheets 📈, fashion 👗, laws 👩⚖️, education 🎓, social media 📱, healthcare 🩺, food 🍔, advertising 📺, childcare👶, the environment 🌍, writing ✍️
Why not create a mind map, to explore your interests 🤩💭
2. Skills – What are you good at? 💪 What do you want to be good at? ⚒️
If you’re naturally good at something, you are far more likely to be able to get paid for it. 💸
If you’re not naturally good at something, it might be more difficult to find a job in that area. 🔎
Knowing what you’re good at means that you know what will give you an edge over other people in your career. 😎
Your skills could include things like:
Confidence 💃, public speaking 🎙️, communication 📱, creativity 🎨, maths ➗, being organised 📆, teamwork 🏈, solving problems 🧠, being positive ☀️, making jokes 🥸, growing plants 🌱, being thoughtful 💭, leadership 👩💼, making decisions 📊, being strong 💪, being proactive 🏃♀️, writing ✍️, tech skills 💻, selling 🏷️
Why not create a mind map, to explore your skills? ⚒️💭
3. Personality – What kind of person are you? 💓
Your personality can impact what types of jobs, education, or career paths you’ll enjoy or not. 🤔
Would a shy person want to be a stage performer? 💃🕺
Possibly not. 🤷♀️
Understanding your personality can help you to steer towards a job that you’ll naturally enjoy. ✨
What personality traits do you have?
You could be:
Outdoorsy 🏞️, honest 🙏, kind 💖, generous 🎁, thoughtful 💭, sociable 😎, curious 🕵️♀️, confident 💃, shy 🙈, analytical 📈, patient 🧘, observant 🧐, creative 🎨, adaptable 🏄♀️, trustworthy 😇, approachable 🐶, enthusiastic 😀, respectful 🤝, charismatic 😏
Why not create a mind map, to explore your personality? 💖💭
4. Lifestyle – What kind of lifestyle do you want? 🏖️
Your desired lifestyle can impact what types of jobs you’ll enjoy or not. 🏠
If you want an expensive lifestyle, you might struggle to enjoy a job that doesn’t pay very well. 💸
- What days you want to work 📆
- Where you want to work – indoor/outdoor, which country 🏢🏞️
- Would you want to travel with/for work? ✈️
- Hours per week ⌚
- How many jobs would you want? One? a few? 💼
- Holidays – how many would you want each year? 🏖️
- Stability – would you want to work on a permanent contract, a fixed term contract? 📜
- Who would you want to work for? 👩💼 Yourself? Your own business? A company? A charity? Customers? A mixture of people? 🤼
- Pay – how much would you realistically want to get paid? 💸
- Who you want to work with? 🧑🤝🧑
- What are your financial goals? 💰 – getting a car? 🚗 buying a house? 🏠 having kids? 🍼 retirement? 🧓 fancy holidays? 🏖️ – how much would you need to be paid to reach these goals? 💳
- How important are your lifestyle goals? 🏆
- What things would you be willing to sacrifice for your dream career? ❤️🔥
- Why not create a mind map, to explore your lifestyle goals? 🏖️💭
Step 3 – Research 🕵️♀️💻
Next, it’s time to get your detective gear on, and research potential jobs/careers that you might want to work towards. 🔎
The jobs you’re interested in, will help you to decide which option is best for you!
Different jobs have different paths that might work better for you.
For example, some careers require a degree e.g. becoming a medical doctor, whilst other career paths might have lots of apprenticeships on offer e.g. mechanics.
This might take some work – it’s always good to come up with lots of options to choose from! 📃
You can search places like:
- Job boards 📌
- Google searches 🔎
- Inspiration boards online 💻
- Linkedin 👔
- Researching people who inspire you ✨
- Thinking about people you know, who love their jobs 🥰
- What did you want to be when you were little, why? 👶
- Asking people you know 💬🎤
- Researching jobs you’ve heard of 💼
- Asking for advice e.g. career advisors, teachers, career coaches 👩🏫
- How do inspirational people make their money? 💸
Ask yourself these questions:
- What jobs exist that would suit you? 💻
- Could you turn your hobbies into a job? 🛴🏍️
- What jobs are near you? 🗺️
- Do you need money to help get into that career? How much? 💸
- What jobs match your interests, skills, personality, and lifestyle goals? ✅
- Do you need to move to get the opportunity? ✈️
- What training or qualifications would you need? Are you willing to get them? 🎓
- Would you need work experience? 💼 How would you get it? 🪜
- What skills do you already have that could help you be successful in that career? 🤹♀️
- What skills do you need to develop to be successful in that career? 🛠️
- Who do you know that could help you? 🙋♀️
Why not create a mind map, of potential career ideas that might suit you? 💭💼
Don’t worry if you’re not 100% sure about an idea, having lots of options are good. ✅
Remember, no ideas should be off limits! 🧠
This is your dream career we’re talking about. 🙌💼
Even if it sounds completely mad, you can turn your dreams into a career if you work hard enough 🌟
Step 4 – Experiment 🔬🧪
So by now, you should hopefully have a list of career ideas – big and small, things that you’d be interested in doing. 👏📃
The next step is to find ways to experiment and try them out! 🥼
That could involve:
- Getting work experience
- Learning more about the job
- Trialing the job
- Interviewing someone already doing the job
- Doing some studying towards the job e.g. a short course
You want to get a real understanding of what day-to-day life would look like in these careers, to see if they would definitely suit you. 👔
You’re going to be potentially investing a lot of your time, energy, and possibly money into this career – so you want to make sure that it’s definitely for you! ✅💯
- What are the best parts of the work? 😍
- What are the worst parts of the work? 😭
- Would you want to do this every day? 🙌
Experimenting with as many career ideas as possible can help you to learn about yourself and what career might suit you.
You might love the idea of being a doctor and saving lives… 👩⚕️🏥
but what if the sight of blood makes you faint? 💉😪
The more you experiment, the more you learn about work you enjoy (or hate!😅). 💼🤌
The more you know about work you enjoy, the better ideas you’ll have for a dream career 🧠🤩
Step 5 – Make a plan 📝✍️
Experimenting for your career can take a veeery long time. ⌚🧪
Some people spend their whole lives trying out different jobs, searching for their true passion. 🔎💖
There are so many options out there! 🍬
But maybe you’ll get lucky enough to hit upon a career that gets you reeeally excited. 🎉
This is where you can start to plan. 🗺️
Research has shown that if you write down your goals, you are far more likely to reach them 🏆
So, get writing! ✍️
Draw a picture of you in your dream career. 🎨👩🎨
- What are you doing? 🤷♀️
- How much are you earning? 💸
- How are you making money? 💰
Next, write down all of the steps you’ll need to take to get there. 🪜
(You should have a good idea from your career research!) 🔎
- What qualifications do you need? 🎓
- What experience do you need? 👷♀️
- Do you need to develop skills? 🤹♀️
List all of the things you might need to do, to reach that goal.
What could you do this week, month, or year to work towards it?
Once you’ve written your plan, follow it, and hopefully, reach your dream career. 🙌🎉🥳
So that’s it!
To decide what to do after school, you should:
- Look at your options 🧐
Sixth Form or College 🏫
Apprenticeships or Traineeships 👩🔧
- Learn about yourself 🪞
- Research 🕵️♀️💻
- Experiment 🔬🧪
- Make a plan 📝✍️
If you know any friends or family members who might benefit from learning about what you should do after school, share this post with them!
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