The traditional route of going from school to university and straight into a career is becoming less and less common these days.
In fact, a recent survey has revealed that employers now favour relevant apprenticeships or experience over a university degree.
Researchers who polled 1,000 decision makers found 49 per cent prefer to see experience from a relevant apprenticeship or previous position on a candidate’s CV.
Just 24 per cent said they would be more likely to take on someone who had a relevant degree qualification.
Of those who said they prioritise candidates who have relevant experience from an apprenticeship or previous job, 71 per cent said they prefer it because it shows they have demonstrated their skills in a practical setting.
And 62 per cent said it indicates they have a better understanding of the world of work.
The study was carried out by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) ahead of A Level results day on Thursday, August 16.
Suzie Webb, AAT’s Director of Education and Development said:
Ahead of A-Level results day, we wanted to inform young people about the things employers are looking for, to help them have a clear idea of what they need to consider as they think about their careers.
Many people still think that having a university degree will be most valued by employers, but our research suggests this is not always the case.
The study also found strong communication skills, punctuality and fitting into a company’s culture are among the top things employers look for.
Additional key attributes specified included good references and a desire to learn on the job.
More than a third simply ask that candidates show common sense, and punctuality is key for three in 10.
Another aspect young people should consider when thinking about their future career is their conduct on social media.
One in two employers have used a candidate’s social media profiles to gauge whether they are fit for a job.
Of those who checked social media before making a hire, more than two thirds have denied an applicant the job based on their questionable online conduct.
The quality of a candidate’s CV is also important. More than one in 10 employers said they are likely to disregard a CV if it has poor punctuation throughout, and a quarter would do the same if there were any incorrect spellings to be found.
This research shows that employers are looking for soft skills as well as qualifications when they are hiring, and is potentially why so many prefer to see an apprenticeship on a CV.
Young people who are receiving their A Level results should remember that it is as important to build up their soft skills as it is to gain qualifications, to give them the best chance of having the successful career they want.
Employer priorities when hiring:
1. How they’d fit into the company culture
2. How much experience they have
3. Their general personality
4. How well qualified they are
5. A proactive attitude
6. Ability to work in a team
7. Showing a willingness to learn
8. Ability to self-manage and take initiative
9. Showing ambition
10. Communication skills
Top ten CV must-haves:
1. Clear Layout
2. Two-page limit in length
3. Appropriate font and font size
4. Clear language
5. Correct spelling throughout
6. Appropriate use of sections and paragraphs
7. Appropriate use of colour
8. Consistent font and font size
9. Appropriate sentence structure
10. Correct use of punctuation throughout
Take the quiz and see if your CV is on point:
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.