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What Comes Next: Planning Ahead for Success After Year 12

24 November 2021   |   by Explore Careers

Finishing Year 12 is a HUGE milestone for many young people! And we’re confident it’s only the first of many to come in your academic, personal and professional life!

But reaching the end of year 12 can also feel daunting. Even if you have a bit of a plan for what you want to do next, it’s always nerve-wracking starting something new.

Not to mention, you’ve probably got more and more people asking you questions, expecting you to make decisions and have an idea of everything that’s coming next.

What Comes Next?

It’s essential to remember that what comes next will look different for everybody, and there are no wrong or right ways to get started.

Whether you choose:

You’ll be making the best decision for you and while there will be others doing the same or different things – focus on what works for you.

We all pursue different paths for our professional and career goals, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few key things that can help set everyone up for a bit of success!

5 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

Success isn’t linear and you should definitely think about defining what ‘success’ could look and feel like for you personally.

There are lots of ways to do this. Below are five of our top favourites:

  1. Gain some experience: Whether through work experience, internships, job shadowing or paid employment (in any industry), nothing helps set you up for success like understanding how things work in the workplace. Gaining experience now will help you continue to build on your ideas for what professional success looks like for you, the things you love doing and the things you don’t!
  2. Be open to exploring: Being open to trying new things, exploring different industries, different pathways and new experiences is a great way to keep building success! It’s really easy to give in to nerves when faced with something new or to quickly turn things down because they don’t fit so neatly into the ideas we may have for what we want our school and work-life to look like – but it’s usually the unexpected and unanticipated opportunities that offer us heaps of growth!
  3. Keep growing your community: You might start to hear a lot about ‘networking’ and building your network, but we prefer to call this your community! A community is reciprocal, where everyone supports each other, and that’s something you’ll definitely need in the years ahead as you keep striving for your career goals! Your community can be professional people in your chosen industry, but it can also be friends, colleagues and classmates who are all on the same journey as you.
  4. Practice good decision-making: It probably feels like there have been a lot of other people making decisions on your behalf up until this point, and now you might finally get to make all of them yourself! But decisions can be good and bad – there’s a finer art to making good decisions than you might think! Not only is this a great personal skill to focus on, but it’s also one of the top-rated skills from employers. 
  5. Spend time reflecting: These are going to be some of the busiest years of your life, and they might also be the most confusing! You’re probably going to make mistakes along the way to success, and we’re here to tell you – it’s okay! Mistakes are opportunities to learn, but you can only do that if you spend time reflecting on what went wrong, why and what you can do differently next time. Taking ownership and reflecting in this way will make you a brilliant employee – and a pretty decent all-around human being!

Taking the Leap Forward

Whether you’re excited to move forward, nervous about leaving school behind, or just plain old confused about what’s happening, you are definitely not alone!

There’s going to be lots of decision-making, questions, problems and confusion in the years ahead, but we promise there will also be lots of fun, excitement, new experiences, and opportunities to meet awesome new people!

We can’t say it loud enough – success isn’t linear – and you can make it look like anything you want.

That said, we’re sticklers for a good checklist and having some sort of a plan, so our gift to you as you take your next step forward is our Explore Careers Success Starts Here Checklist.

You don’t need to tick everything off, but if you’re looking for a starting point, there are definitely a few on here to help get you there.

Explore Careers Success Starts Here Checklist

We put together this simple checklist to help give young people a jumping-off point to start getting ready for their long, successful career journeys ahead!

You don’t have to tick these off one after the other; you can approach this list any way you like!

Success Starts Here – Getting job ready!
  • Write a resume
  • Create a simple cover template for a dream job
  • Create a simple cover letter template for part-time work
  • Set up a LinkedIn profile
  • Add 50 relevant LinkedIn contacts
  • Conduct a social media audit
  • Create a SEEK job profile
  • Plan my Interview Success outfit
Success Starts Here – Grow a Community!
  • Join a new social club or group – in person!
  • Join a new social club or group – online
  • Take a short course in a subject I’m interested in
  • Volunteer for a cause I care about
  • Reach out to a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while
Success Starts Here – Explore!
  • Take a short course on a subject I know nothing about
  • Read a memoir by someone from the industry I’m interested in
  • Research a new sector of the industry I’m interested in
  • Conduct a skills analysis
  • Commit to learning one new skill

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