Another set of results have been issued and another school year has started. As sure as night follows day, students will be asked, ‘What are you going to do now?’ For some, it’s an easy solution of the university they always wanted to go to or the job they’ve always wanted to do, but what if you just don’t have those answers right now?
First off, don’t panic. The world of work is more flexible right now than in years past, and the idea of a long career in one industry, whilst not unheard of, is unusual now. The choices you make right now don’t have to be for your whole future.
So, take some of the pressure off and read our five tips for what to do after school. Somewhere, there could be an answer for you.
1. An apprenticeship can be for anyone
Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study and allow apprentices to gain specific job skills whilst working alongside experienced staff. In 2017/18 there were 814,800 people participating in an apprenticeship in England, but they are certainly not all in the so-called ‘manual’ jobs market. CIM itself offers apprenticeships for both executive and manager levels, with a view to approving the assistant and director-based options currently in development, making them a great option for kickstarting your marketing career.
If you don’t wish to pursue full time classroom-based study and have a good idea of the industry and profession you want to get in to, an apprenticeship is the perfect option. You will have the added benefit of earning a wage, as opposed to debt, and learning the skills that should lead you to earning much more once you’re qualified.
No matter your field of interest, an apprenticeship could be the perfect opportunity to advance.
2. Come on in at the entry level
If you’re keen to start work straight away, but don’t have any specific ideas about what profession or industry you want to end up in, an entry level job in a large company gets you in on the ground floor. For example, a data entry job at a large corporation allows you to acclimatise to the culture, get an understanding of how the company works and forge the relationships that will make a job easier once you are looking to advance in the business.
Don’t be under any illusions, there are always going to be roles and tasks that require a degree, but companies are looking for the soft skills that make people good communicators, especially in marketing, and those will likely be honed quicker in work rather than the student union.
3. Get a professional qualification
Professional qualifications give you a chance to learn practical, applicable skills in your chosen field. At degree level, marketing is tied in with the wider study of management, whereas CIM courses offer a chance to study marketing at all levels and with a strong focus on industry specific skills. These allow you to get a head start in the industry and focus in on a potentially rewarding career by starting at level three and advancing through the levels as you move up in your career.
CIM qualifications are a great foundation for anyone looking to get started in marketing, but you’ll find similar bodies for any discipline you wish to study; from management to accounting. These are the ideal courses to work around a part-time job or, in the best cases, as part of a company who will fund you.
4. Become your own boss
If you have a passion or hobby that you can turn in to a career, do it whilst your outgoings are low; if you’ve recently graduated from college, you probably aren’t paying the bills you would be later in life, and maybe you can afford to take the risk.
There are multiple skills that can translate to a new career, from building a website to arts and crafts, but you have to consider the feasibility of your idea and be prepared to make a loss early on, as it will require effective planning.
For example, digital savvy students who grew up with technology at their fingertips have potential marketing skills that businesses need. If this sounds like you, becoming your own boss might make the best route into marketing.
5. Take a break
Finishing school doesn’t always mean a straight choice between work or university, maybe it can be a chance to take some time out and explore what you really want to do in life.
As soon as you enter your last year of study, it may sometimes feel that you are being pushed out into the big bad world of work or further study. Sometimes it might seem like you have to make all of your decisions now, with no turning back. Well, that’s simply not the case.
Taking a gap year can give you extra time to reflect. Dependent on your circumstances you could take the time to travel, work in a temporary role, volunteer or any number of other options that will introduce you to new people and new mindsets. Remember, in the case of marketing, there will be plenty of options still there for you in a year’s time, when you might be ready to grab the ones you want.
These five options represent only the tip of the iceberg for what you can do in the outside world!
The choice is up to you. Leaving school can be a joyous time, allowing you a freedom that the more formal forms of education cannot offer. Yet, these opportunities are hard to grasp when you don’t know what you want. So, take your time, talk to people who’ve been through it and don’t put pressure on yourself; school was stressful enough.
If you want to make in in marketing, find out more about your options with the help of CIM.
To search apprenticeships & early careers, visit the search page.