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News > Careers guides > How to differentiate yourself to find the career you want

How to differentiate yourself to find the career you want

GCA offers an online programme with industry links to help students get workplace ready.

Some of you will be lucky enough to have a vocation in mind, to have a clear picture of the path you will take to achieve this goal – possibly university, masters, practice and partnership. This article speaks to the rest of you – the majority who are looking at the current situation and wondering how on earth you should navigate the current environment to find your career. University is no longer the guarantee to a job (if it ever was). Tremendous grade inflation and an evolving job market, means that graduates currently find themselves in competition with thousands of other graduates – also with 'firsts'. Vast swathes of industry are looking for skills and experience that universities are often not providing. Many of you may be considering a gap year, either deferring the start of your time at uni, or perhaps simply wanting time to consider your options. Whatever your situation, now more than ever, the challenge of differentiating yourself from the many others who are also leaving education and seeking meaningful employment requires serious consideration.

We could quote a bunch of stats here to highlight some of the employability issues, however if you want to do some research of your own, take a look at the Department of Education Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset and compare those outcomes with the employability figures that universities are publishing. There is a disconnect in reality. 

What are employers saying? What do they actually care about? 

•       A national survey conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder (2018) found that although 95% of UK firms will hire a graduate this year,
        only 23% believe that this graduate will arrive fully developed and ready to go, or to coin a phrase of one employer 'be oven ready'

•       Over 80% of UK companies told the CBI (Oct 2019) that the UK skills gap was holding the country back and would cost the UK dear

•       Ernst and Young report they are not interested in candidates' education or place of study. They look at 'what skills can you bring to
         the job that we need'

•       Pearson Global Learner Survey 2019 reported that '68% of people globally agree that a degree or certificate from a vocational
        college or trade school is more likely to result in a good job with career prospects than a university degree.'

•       Gallup reports that 'Getting a job and achieving long-term success in a career may increasingly depend on demonstrating real
         value to employers through experience and targeted learning - and increasingly less on degrees, even if they are from prestigious
         universities.'

All of these views were expressed prior to Covid-19 hitting the global economy. Do you imagine that has improved or exacerbated the situation?

None of the above mean that you should not go to a university. A solid degree and the experience of moving out of home and gaining independence can still be immensely powerful. However, at some point you will be looking to bridge that gap between academia and the workplace. How can you better prepare yourself to be the one who is ready to go and who stands out from the swathe of candidates being interviewed? 

Global Career Accelerators has been established specifically to help young people prepare themselves for professional life, whether recent graduates or A level students. Our participants move from a student mind-set to a professional mind-set. Our Accelerators are equivalent to a 6-month full time Masters course, delivered 100% online with daily contact with GCA and industry partners. There is a continuous assessment programme running throughout the engagement that allows certification on successful completion - badged by our industry partners and leading to job interviews. Being a graduate is not an entry requirement. For those who pass the interview and are up for the challenge, your time at GCA will be an intensive and immersive experience. Do you want to differentiate yourself? Do you want to demonstrate real experience and be able to talk the everyday language of industry because you have 'been there'? Then find out more by getting in touch with Robin Poynder.

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