What if I do not know what type of career I want to pursue after leaving school?
You should seek advice from a careers' guidance centre or the local Employment Plus Centre in your area. If you want to make your own decision, think of the subjects you have passed in your GCSE / A'Level examinations, make a list of what you believe your "key skills" are. Are you very good at organising your own workload, are you very good at speaking to people, or do you enjoy working with children etc.? To "test" the market, create a basic CV and send to companies which you believe will have vacancies / work placement opportunities for young school-leavers. Once appointed to a company, you will gain insight as to that particular field to determine your career destination.
What if I am sure about my career destination but do not want to take up employment in the field?
Many young school-leavers seek temporary employment just after leaving secondary school, and hope to continue this at varied times after they enrol for A'Level or College studies. In this instance, you can apply for employment in large retail stores. You will fill in "standard" application forms for either recruitment agencies offering these vacancies, or produce a standard CV to be distributed randomly to retailers. Simply take the CVs to the establishments, make sure your contact details are correct, and wait for response. Or scan national newspapers for companies that have advertised vacancies.
If I attended more than one secondary school within five years, how do I present it on my CV?
You do not need to list all the schools, only the most recent school that you have gained your qualifications from.
If I left school without taking my GCSE subjects, how should I present it on my CV?
You must admit on your CV or application form that you "studied up to GCSE standards". Most employers would ask for evidence of examinations you have passed so it doesn't make sense being economical with the truth. You might inform the employer as to circumstances which prevented you from gaining secondary school qualifications. Inform the employer if you intend resuming studies at a later stage. On your CV or application form, concentrate on highlighting skills you have gained when you undertook work experience in either Grades 10 or 11, along with personal skills you have for the vacancy.
What if I left school and have never worked before?
Did you have a "paper round", do you assist in a family business, do you baby-sit younger children, or do you volunteer in your local church, community centre? You should put details such as these on your CV or application form. If you have never worked before, put details of your work placement, the type of duties you undertook, skills you gained etc.
How do I present previous work experience on my CV?
Many school-leavers have from time to time, taken up temporary employment, perhaps in an office, on a market stall or within the school itself. List all these details, starting with the most recent employment you have undertaken.
What if I was educated abroad and moved to the UK after my secondary school studies?
State the name of the school and country you attended, and qualifications which are equivalent to the UK GCSE O'Level and A'Level courses. You must also mention any languages you passed abroad. Remember to translate your details as accurately as you can into English, and never write sections of your CV or application form in more than one languages. Use English throughout the document as you are seeking employment here.
What if I held several positions and / or received awards in school?
Again, you should put these details unto your CV or in your application form as "Additional Information". It does not matter what type of awards you received, e.g. for piano, sport, academia. The fact that you received an award is significant.
What types of references should I provide as a school-leaver?
Employers will make allowance for your limited work experience. References in this instance usually comprises a former teacher and one employer with whom you were assigned under your Work Placement programme.