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Career Advice

5 Great careers you can still have if you don’t get into university

5 Great careers you can still have if you don’t get into university?

When you are at school or college, it can sometimes feel that your future happiness and success rests entirely upon a fewfind-job
hours spent within an examination hall.  You would be forgiven for thinking that if you fail to get onto the university course of your choice , your prospects for a fulfilling and exciting career are severely reduced- happily however this is not the case.

University is merely one route that is available to get you the career you want, and now, more so than ever employers are placing great emphasis upon a persons professional experience and attributes rather than just their academic merits.

Indeed many graduates will eventually find work in a position which does not specifically require a degree, so if you find yourself in the position of not doing as well as you had hoped in your exams consider this… have you really been given an opportunity to get yourself and your career 3 years ahead of the competition?

Of course there are many jobs which do require a degree or higher e.g. doctor, lawyer etc, so if you have your heart set on such a career then you may wish to re-sit your exams,.  If not, to illustrate my point, here are 5 five fantastic careers you can have even if you don’t get into university.

1) Police officer– There are no formal qualifications which are needed to become a police officer in the UK.  You will instead have to pass a series of written tests which will assess your aptitude, literacy and numeracy skills, but these will not approach anything which you have come across in your A-levels.  The recruitment process for the police force is far more concerned with your personal attributes, integrity and suitability for the role than it is with whether or not you passed your GCSE geography.  It is also an excellent position to gain if you are keen to climb your way up the professional ladder, due to the high level of training and scope for internal progression

2) Salesperson/sales manager –  I have deliberately been non-specific in the title of this one because excellent sales job application formpeople operate in a huge number of environments including estate agents, car show rooms and recruitment agencies.  Crucially being a skilled salesperson will give you the opportunity to work in a large range of environments where you will be able to grow develop and forge out a very successful career.  They are also great rioles in which you can demonstrate your natural talent and ability- all the things which cannot be learned in a classroom.  The scope for vertical progression within a sales environment is substantial and hardworking determined folks can rise through the ranks from entry level sales trainee to sales manager or even higher.

3) Interior designer –  Whilst there are degrees in interior design available it is certainly not a requirement to enter into the field.  It is an area which is seeing an increase in the emphasis being put on personal attributes and interests rather than academic qualifications.  If it is a career you passionately want to enter then gaining a position as an assistant within an established agency could be the beginnings of a fantastic career- provided of course that you are willing to work hard and learn from those with more experience.  This is illustrative of a number of creative professions which are available to you even if you do not have the most sparkling of academic records.

4)  Paralegal –  This is a job you may not be particularly familiar with, but its one that carries  huge potential for professional growth career progression.  In short a paralegal (sometimes known as a legal assistant) is a person who is not a lawyer or a barrister but is qualified through experience, training and education to carry out certain legal work. It has become a very generic term in recent years and can refer to people carrying out legal duties in a number of working environments such as financial services, banking and retail.   There is no legal minimum requirement to operate as a paralegal, although employers are of course free to request any qualifications they like.  In this case it is likely that they will require one of the following which can be gained through your local college or via a distance learning course.   Level 2 Certificate and Diploma in Legal Studies, Level 3 Award in Legal Studies and Levels 3-4 Certificate and Diploma for Legal Secretaries, Level 4 Diploma in Paralegal Studies and Para-legal Practical Skills Courses.  As a general rule once you have gained an entry level position you will be able to learn much that you need to know on the job, and will be able to complete the courses that you wish to alongside your work.

5)  Journalist – As was the case with interior design, there are journalism and creative writing degrees available from job-seekingnumerous universities but there are no formal qualifications which are required in order to be a journalist.  Of course having a degree in journalism or a related subject will give you a better chance of getting your foot on the ladder but your success within the field will be heavily dependent upon your  attitude, determination and willingness to learn from those with more experience.  In recent years however there has been a significant increase in the number of entry level journalist positions which specifically welcome applications from persons without journalism experience or qualifications for example the BBC now provides annual broadcast journalism internships which are only open to those with no experience in the field.

Remember that learning is not something which is exclusively done as a young person, throughout your entire professional life you will have the opportunity to further advance your skills and qualifications allowing your employer to identify your continuous development.  Not that once within any position you have the opportunity to work your way up the ladder, constantly gaining skills and expertise which will trump the fact that you do not have a degree.

If you take nothing else from this article be assured that failing your exams does not mean that you are a write off.  The difference between academic study and professional work is vast and just because academia was not for you, doesn’t mean that you wont have a fulfilling, lucrative and successful career.

Check out our career directory for loads more inspiration.


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