School’s out, so What Next?

From NCSE into CSEC and then finally, with the big jump into CAPE, the constant stream of exams can be stressful. At the end of it all, you might want to take a gap year or two before heading into your tertiary education or training for the next chapter.


Here are some things you can to prepare yourself for the working world:


Do I look good on paper?

You might have worked before, but now that you’re no longer a student, and most likely be vying for full-time jobs, ensure that your resume is on point—legible and accessible to prospective employers.


Attention to detail, correct spelling and grammar, consistency of tone, clarity and conciseness are all things that make for an impressive and readable resume.


Just doing a simple Google search will teach you that there’s no one way to write a resume, but if you’re getting your resume-drafting advice from the Internet, be sure to draw from a reputable site. Even then, don’t let it stop you from allowing someone more experienced to give it a once-over—a former teacher, parent or older working person all will do.


Getting out there

Now that your resume is touched up, launch the search for jobs that suit your interests and aptitudes, positions that perhaps reflect where and what you want to be in the years to come.


The newspapers as well as local and regional job search sites can be helpful in opening  yourself up to potential jobs. To cast a wider net, you can register with a recruitment agency; these have links to several companies and their staff is trained in candidate recruitment and placement.


Putting yourself out there is never easy and your search may even lead to some rejection, but don’t be daunted; some of the most prominent CEOs, managers, presidents and performers were put off at their first try. Persistence is the magic word.



Seeing your dream job in the newspaper and sending in a resume isn’t the only way to get behind a desk; sometimes it isn’t even the best way. Interviews are usually done one-on-one for your prospective employer to get a better idea of you as an individual—your personality, your demeanour, your energy.


Meeting people in social and even formal settings can launch this getting-to-know-you process, and it also shows prospective employers that you’re open, willing and interested.


Career fairs and themed conventions are usually attended by representatives from companies who are looking to engage the public for hiring and fellow members of the business community for new business.


Nothing is guaranteed, but dropping into a couple of these events every year with an envelope of resumes in hand can’t hurt.


Even simply keeping your eyes peeled for potential networking candidates at dinners, church functions, concerts and the like can be useful. Don’t bombard people, but if the feeling is right, you’ll know if and when to approach them.


A Helping Hand

You’ll notice that most, if not all major companies, both local and international, even your favourite celebrities are aligned with charitable causes.


Finding a charitable pursuit that you’re passionate about builds character, and can send the message that you’re interested in something that’s not solely about the work and can create with further networking opportunities.


If you do decide to volunteer for a cause be sure not to appear as if you’re doing it with an ulterior motive.


While networking and optics are part of the deal, the act of giving of yourself to others has an inherent value that extends past prospective job opportunities.


A Thousand Words

In the Instagram age, no one knows better than this generation the importance of pictures, their influence and permanence once uploaded or sent.


Yes, everyone wants to have a good time when they go out and of course, memes can be side-splittingly funny, but be mindful of the messages communicated by your social media posts and how, with or without context they can affect how you’re seen in a work setting. (This is even important when applying to certain universities!)


Once you enter the working world, you represent a wider organisation. Does this photo look like someone who would work at [insert dream firm]? Can this meme come across as culturally insensitive or discriminatory in any way? What would happen if this photo of myself fell into the wrong hands?


All these are relevant and valuable questions that should guide how and what you post on social media or send to others.


There’s a lot to process and even more to figure out, so be sure to take it all in stride and remember that life after school, like everything else, is about enjoying the journey instead of stressing over perfection. Choose paths that appeal to you, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and always do your best.