Preparing For Life Beyond School Post COVID: 8 Top Tips You Need To Know

21 January, 2021

Leaving school this year? Feeling daunted by the ‘real world’? Don’t be, we’ve got you covered. 

It’s probably the first time you’re stepping away from the relative safety of the world of education and entering the unknown world of full-time employment. If it is, it’s completely normal to feel a bit apprehensive about the move, especially whilst Covid-19 is impacting everyday life. 

It’s a time of huge change but we’re here to walk you through it and share with you the top skills you can be developing to help you thrive beyond education.

Whilst the world looks dramatically different and it might feel as if the pandemic is preventing you from finding the career you want, remember that your future doesn’t have to be put on hold.

Covid-19 has undeniably impacted the UK job market. The national lockdowns and stay-at-home measures have had consequences for many industries. Whilst restaurants, theatres and some shops have struggled, other industries have seen huge uplifts including eCommerce, the wellness sector and gaming to name just a few. 

It’s also changed the way we work. Companies who would never have considered working from home before have been forced into a mass experiment which has by and large been successful! Employees love that they no longer have to commute, freeing up more spare time. What used to be unusual has now become the norm. (Twitter even announced recently that employees can work from home forever if they want to!)

As well as giving you an extra hour in bed in the morning, remote working opens up a new world of job opportunities. Think you have to move to London to get that job? Think again. Companies are hiring for positions based all over the country. This helps them to reach the very best people and means you can access a broader range of jobs that you might not have been able to pre-pandemic.

So whilst Covid-19 dominates the news and the job market now, there are still fantastic opportunities out there for those who want them. But what’s the best way to get prepped for your future? Take a look at the skills below that you can start working on today so you leave school feeling confident and ready to take on the world.

Top tips for preparing for life beyond school

1. Develop your confidence

Self-confidence is a great foundation for success in the world of work. Not to be confused with arrogance, it’s a belief in yourself, your skills and your abilities. With self-belief comes the confidence to take on new opportunities, the ability to overcome fears and doubts, and the belief to succeed. Not feeling it? There are ways you can improve your confidence:

  • Plan and prepare: When you go into a new situation like a job interview, you’re likely to feel nervous and less confident. Build your confidence by planning in advance what you want to say, what questions might be asked and what questions you might want to ask them. Feeling prepared will go a long way to helping you feel confident!
  • Improve your knowledge: Of course, you don’t know everything, no one does! But by identifying areas where you are less confident (and think it would be useful to be more confident) you can then look to skill up. Whether that’s a qualification, extra workplace training or even just reading up around the subject – that extra knowledge will be a boost to your self-confidence.
2. Understanding when to ask for help

A huge part of moving on from school is developing your own independence. This can be exhilarating and liberating (even if a bit daunting at times too). Whilst your new-found independence is something to be celebrated, independence doesn’t mean isolation and it’s important to be able to identify where you are struggling and where you need to go for help. 

Remember to keep talking to friends and family and lean on any internal resources you might have in your new workplace, such as the HR department.

3. Set clear goals

You wouldn’t set off on a hike without a map, so don’t embark on a career without some kind of plan. OK, you might set off for a hike without a map but you’ll probably get lost!

To give you some guidance and structure outside of school, invest time in thinking ahead to your longer-term career goals. Where do you want to be in five years’ time? Ten years’ time? What skills, qualifications and experience do you need to get there? The plan will probably change and that’s fine but giving yourself a roadmap is a really helpful tool for providing purpose and direction to keep you moving forward.

4. Stay agile

If last year has shown us anything it’s that the world is always changing. And with those changes, you need to stay open and able to adapt to different situations and changing scenarios. Advances in technology and changes to the way we live our lives will result in new industries and new job types that might not exist now. So stay open to new possibilities and prepare to flex that roadmap and update your goals!

5. Keep on learning

You might be leaving education but that doesn’t mean you’ll be stopping learning. In fact, you’re going to be learning huge amounts in the world of work. You might not be sitting a test on it but that doesn’t make what you learn any less valuable. Remember to stay inquisitive and interested. Use every opportunity to expand your knowledge and improve your skills!

6. Think for yourself

Being able to think critically is essential for your future. It’s about more than remembering facts, it’s about thinking for yourself and solving problems as they arise. It’s a soft skill you’ve likely developed at school without even realising but if you want to improve it, here are some things you can try:

  • Reverse the question or the problem – it might not give you the answer but looking at it from a different perspective can help you to reach a conclusion
  • Question assumptions and givens – this will help you to consider alternatives and think more creatively
  • Seek out different perspectives and angles – consider a diverse range of opinions to help make you a better thinker and decision-maker
7. Look after yourself

Taking care of your own physical and mental wellbeing are going to remain super important post-school. You’ll likely be learning new skills, meeting new people and possibly living in a new location. Changes to routine and surroundings can throw us a little so it’s vital you look after yourself. That means taking regular exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep.

Find yourself getting stressed? Be diligent with your work-life balance, especially if you’re working from home. Don’t be tempted to pull all-nighters or stay in your PJs till noon. Give yourself some structure by keeping to office hours, taking regular breaks and making sure you get outside when you can.

8. Manage your time well

Time-management is a soft skill that crops up on many job specifications. Being able to juggle priorities, meet deadlines and manage your workload are skills almost all employees are looking for.

Managing your time isn’t about getting everything done, you’ll often never reach the end of your to-do list. It’s about having clear priorities and deadlines so you understand what needs to happen when, and you can raise concerns if you don’t think a task will be completed on time.There’s no single way of managing workload but there are lots of tools out there specifically designed to help. Take a look at ClickUpTrello or Asana which all offer free scheduling and smart to-do list features to help get you organised!

As you approach the end of school and look ahead to your future, consider the above top tips we’ve shared. Are there some skills listed that you already have nailed? Are there some areas you’re a little rusty? Or perhaps there are some that are completely new! 

Whichever stage you’re at, YourGamePlan can help. 

With YourGamePlan free online courses you can:

  • Learn industry-relevant skills that employers are looking for
  • Work independently from home at a time that suits you
  • Gain a step-up from your peers with CPD-certified courses and certificates

Visit to find our more!

Share this article: