Choosing the right career and getting the first job

Pointers for sixth formers, graduates and parents and how the support of a good coach can help

1 What subjects should the student take in the sixth form to give themselves the right platform for what they want to do going forward?

My daughters found completing a Prism Profile ( ) a good basis for choosing subjects that they are likely to enjoy and therefore could do well in. The Prism Profile shows the individual their behavioural strengths, emotional intelligence and resilience.

2 After leaving school, what is the best route through for the student? Is it university, where they could rack up considerable debt, an apprenticeship, or is it going straight into a job? Many schools deem success by the high percentage of children going to university – but is this the right choice for your child?

A conversation with a professional, who is independent, can help point the student in the right direction (which often isn’t the case with a parent!)

3 Once the choice has been made as to where to go next after school, a Personal Statement or CV needs to be considered which reflects the strengths, abilities and experience of the student.

It is important that time is spent on these documents with the individual showing how they are different/better than other applicants and putting their own stamp on it. If they use social media, it is important that this backs up their story. These documents are necessary to get the offer for a university place or help get the interview for a job. Again, it can help to have a professional look at them to get a different perspective; schools would normally do this for a student’s Personal Statement.

4 For graduate jobs, telephone interviews and assessment centres are often used to filter applications where there is huge demand. There can often be 80 applicants or more per job and around 48% of graduates don’t secure a graduate job.

After spending a great deal of time applying for graduate positions and having a year’s work experience as part of her business degree, my middle daughter, used LinkedIn to obtain her first job direct with a sizeable employer. So graduate schemes aren’t the only way to access large corporates. It is important to assess what are the strengths of the applicant and what is the best way to market themselves to secure the opportunity?

5 Does the student or applicant feel confident enough to conduct the activities above which they have probably never had to do before?

The right career coach can support them through the process. Helping people be in the desired state of mind is so important with these challenges.

6 Practice makes perfect

Dummy interviews work well, with the interviewer working from the CV and the job description. By the time the real interview takes place, the interviewee is primed for most questions and then has the confidence to take their time over any tricky question which may arise and hasn’t been covered before.

7 CV/LinkedIn need to consistent, especially at interview stage.

The dummy interview works well to ensure there are no wrinkles which might stop the interview being a success.

What can I offer?

  • 15 years’ experience as a career coach
  • Accredited to conduct the feedback required for Prism Profiles
  • Practical experience of the process – my daughters have gone through this recently and no, I didn’t try and coach them!
  • 1:2:1 coaching in a format of your choice: face to face, via Skype or on the telephone
  • Continued career mentoring after landing the job, if required

So, if you need your confidence building, or are struggling to find a job, or are in the wrong job, please have a look at my website or contact me at

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