Life after exam results

For those who have just received GCSE, A level or degree results in the last few weeks may have been on a bit of a roller coaster of emotions. As the dust settles you may be left wondering about your choice of A level or degree course – or in some cases reflecting about what comes next.

Jo Dyson from our Southampton office and a parent of two teenagers has recently survived exam results season. In this article Jo considers apprenticeships in accountancy as an alternative to A levels or a degree and gives a few tips to help you find that elusive apprenticeship placement.

Life after exam results

For those who have just received GCSE, A level or degree results in the last few weeks may have been on a bit of a roller coaster of emotions. As the dust settles you may be left wondering about your choice of A level or degree course – or in some cases reflecting about what comes next.

Jo Dyson from our Southampton office and a parent of two teenagers has recently survived exam results season. In this article Jo considers apprenticeships in accountancy as an alternative to A levels or a degree and gives a few tips to help you find that elusive apprenticeship placement.

“Apprenticeships have really changed in the last few years. Apprenticeships are no longer just about learning a trade but cover professional roles as well. These days there are an array of apprenticeships options. Most of which allow you to gain a qualification whilst working”.

Here is a reminder of four reasons why accountancy apprenticeships may appeal to you

  1. Earn while you learn – salaries range from £12k to £20k
  2. Avoid student debt- all of your course fees are met which leaves you to focus on passing the exams
  3. Get ahead – you can start after GCSE’s or A levels and you could be a fully qualified chartered accountant before you are 21 years old
  4. Collect that valuable work experience as you go – giving you the advantage in the job market over graduates once your apprenticeship is complete

How to find the best apprenticeships

  • First you need to find the opportunity. Most apprenticeships are advertised on the National Apprenticeship Website so a search is a good starting point
  • You can also write to accountancy firms directly – even those who are not currently advertising can be tempted by a well written CV.
  • Ask around, often a friend’s recommendation can help to match up applicants and vacancies.

How to apply

Before you start take a good look at your target firm’s website. Do you know what they do? Make sure your covering letter/ email reflects this. To put this in context I recently received an application from someone professing their lifelong interest in working in the gaming industry. Given that the role in question was an accountancy/admin role this application didn’t get much attention.

Write a good CV

Try to make this look like you have taken time and care over it. Make sure all relevant information is there and that there are not any typing errors. Include a paragraph about yourself.  No employer will be expecting you to have travelled the world and played a part in negotiating world peace at the tender age of 18 but try to say something about yourself which makes you stand out from the crowd.

Try to avoid bland statements such as “I like reading and watching TV” – after all who doesn’t?  Also don’t bother with anything you did before you were 14 years old. This makes it look like you have failed to do anything since your parents stopped insisting on ballet and piano lessons. Our website has a useful section to help with writing your CV.

Check the advert carefully

Have you done everything it asked you to do? For example, I have known employers to discard applications if they were written in blue ink when the advertisement asked for black.

Try to write a good covering letter or email (which will depend on the job advert itself).

Once you have done this ask someone else to proof read it. I recently whittled down 42 apprenticeships applicants to 3 just by disregarding anyone who had a typo in their CV.

If you write a covering letter address it to the correct person and remember the simple rule, “Sir is not sincere” – if you start “Dear Sir,” you should sign off “yours faithfully”. If you do not know who to address your application to why not telephone and ask. As an employer believe me when I say that these small things make a difference.

Be proactive

Whilst I would never suggest that you harass your target employer, if you have not heard back from them, there is no harm in gently reminding them that you are still interested.

I wish you the best of luck with your job search and hope to see you in one of our classes soon.

 

For more information about studying accountancy with First Intuition please email or call us.

 

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