There’s no right or wrong way to feel about finishing school.
Seriously, it’s ok to feel lots of things; excited, nervous, sad, happy, or all of the above (and more).
Whether you’re dying to get out the door or happy to take your time, there are a few things you can do right now that’ll make your transition into the ‘real-world’ much easier.
Here’s the first thing you need to know – life doesn’t start once you walk out the door
That doesn’t mean your mistakes will haunt you – as students you’re expected to mess up to some extent – but it does mean you have an opportunity while you’re still at school to set yourself up for success.
Your life has already started, and employers, universities and colleges will look at what you’ve achieved while still at school, as well as the marks you get.
In fact, more and more tertiary institutions take everything into account, including your community service, extra-curricular activities, sport, academic competitions, the school holiday activities you complete, as well as your social media profile, hobbies and interests.
Your marks are just one part of the puzzle.
What does this mean for you?
Now’s a great time to start building your CV (AKA your resume)
Your Mum and Dad have probably been collecting your merit awards since primary school, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about building a professional CV with a detailed list of all your achievements and activities throughout your school years. That way when you apply for a place in a course, spot at uni, or job you’ll have a detailed list of everything you’ve accomplished. Include everything you think might be worth something, even if it’s helping out in the canteen for a term, being a buddy for the younger grades, or taking on a role in your sports team.
A good CV is more than simply a list of what you’ve done, it’s proof of all the claims you’ll make during your interviews, and helps a potential recruiter, employer or college justify their decision to take you on.
My top tip – start putting your CV together now, then add details as you go. It’s easier to add each event, competition or result as it happens, rather than trying to remember everything you’ve done in a year all at once.
We’ve collected some of the best resume/CV resources to get you started or you can ask your Careers Advisor for their help.
Be SMART ABOUT YOUR social media
You’ve heard this a million times, right? Well it’s for a good reason.
Staying safe online is critically important, but have you thought about how potential employers, universities and colleges will think about what you say and do online?
If you’ve got a social media profile anywhere, there’s a chance that someone will search for and find it one day when you’re applying for a job or position.
And you may never even know that the reason why you don’t get the role is because of all those selfies you took in Year 10, or because you made a somewhat inappropriate comment on your friend’s Insta pic. In a competitive job market something small could make all the difference, and we’ve already seen instances of people losing their jobs or positions because of comments they’ve made online.
But the good news is it’s easy to keep your private-life private online – follow the guidelines on Snapchat, Facebook and the other platforms to control who can see your posts, plus think carefully about the sections of your profile that are visible to the public.
You can also find some great info about creating a public profile in the Student Wellbeing Hub, and taking the time to protect your privacy now could make a big difference down the track.
Start learning about what you love
Sounds simple; we all know what makes us happy.
But do you know enough?
Choosing what you do once you finish school is difficult, but if you find a subject you really love, and can build a career in that subject, then you’ve got a much better chance of living a happy, fulfilled life than if you simply aim for the career that earns the most money.
Working out your favourite subjects can be tricky; here’s my top 2 ways to explore your interests:
- You won’t know if you like it until you try it
No, I’m not trying to convince you to eat your Brussel sprouts. But trying something new is a great way to see if you like it, and if you don’t then there’s no harm done. You might discover a hidden talent, or simply confirm that you already know what you want to do with your life.
Either way, having a well-rounded collection of ‘things you’ve tried’ is a great way to impress an interviewer. Our Newsletters are always packed with events, info sessions, activities and more for you to try, so give something new a go soon.
- Talk to people about their careers and favourite jobs
Ask everyone – your family, your teachers, friends parents, anyone you meet really. People love talking about themselves, so you’ll make lots of people very happy, and along the way you’ll find out more about what really matters to different people.
Not sure where to start? Ask them to tell you about their favourite job, and their least-favourite job.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
However you feel about leaving school, you’ll be in a better position to tackle the ‘real-world’ if you start preparing now. Get out and explore your options, and you never know where you might end up.