From A-Level to Employment: How to ensure your child is ready for university and a stellar career

Here are the top four steps you can take to give your son or daughter the best possible chance of success. 

As a parent myself, I know that worrying about the future of your child is something we do from the moment they are born. While there are inevitably some things that we can’t control, there are ways in which we can help. One of these is to prepare our children for the real world, which is something that is fast approaching when it comes to embarking on a new life at university.


Preparing for university is an exciting and daunting time for the entire family. The hard work and investment from everyone has paid off, but the carefree days of summer are not the time to take your foot off the pedal. There are still some steps you can take that will ensure your child is perfectly primed for their dream career.


A former Goldman Sachs and (Bank of America) Merrill Lynch Recruitment Manager, former head-hunter and now CEO of City CV, I look at this from both sides and have a unique understanding of the high-end graduate jobs market. Over two decades, I have seen more and more graduate positions being filled by internship-alumni rather than through the normal graduate recruitment process. It’s a big change from the old way of recruiting and it’s critical that your child is at the front of the queue. I speak to so many students and parents who have missed the boat, simply because they didn’t realise that the top firms are talent-spotting at the beginning of a university career rather than the end.


Here are the top four steps you can take to give your son or daughter the best possible chance of success.

  1. Your child needs a (good) CV when they go to university

University can be seen in two ways. In one sense, it’s a continuation of education, while on the other hand, it’s the first step your child will take in their career, especially as making connections, business networking and internships play such a huge role in securing their dream job in a few years’ time. If your child wants to pursue a fast-paced career in the city and has hopes of securing a role in investment banking, law, consultancy, finance or something similar, they will need to start building an impressive CV before university.


While it might seem premature, getting started with a CV early will also highlight any gaps that need to be filled before they can secure their first ‘proper’ job, and may help encourage them to take on a part-time job, grow their network, push their co-curricular agenda and start volunteering while they’re at university.


I have reviewed around 200,000 CVs over my career and help >10,000 jobseekers per annum. We create stand-out CVs on a daily basis - getting this right really is a life-changing passport to a professional future. Consider enlisting City CV’s help.

  1. First year spring internships 

If your child is aiming for the stars, you’ll need to know that large companies such as Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, and GCHQ all offer spring internships (also known as ‘Spring Week’) to students in their first year at university. As well as any relevant previous work experience and good general knowledge, a killer CV will ensure that they stand out from the rest.


These Spring Week internships are competitive and an incredible way to kickstart a successful career. Not only will this look great on their CV and give your child some fantastic work experience together with a proper understanding of a particular role and potential target company, it may well lead to an offer of a summer internship, which should naturally lead to a permanent graduate job offer.

  1. The importance of extracurricular activities

While it's easy to reel off your child’s skills on their CV, do they actually have the evidence to back them up? Would they be able to relate their skills to real world experiences? Things like volunteering, summer work, societies and other extracurricular activities will allow them to develop their skills and get a taste of professional scenarios that will truly make them shine - and of course give them experience and real-life examples to refer to in an interview.

  1. Encourage and guide your children

While it’s important to tread carefully when ‘pushing’ your children, some of them may need gentle encouragement and insightful advice when it comes to pursuing their chosen career path. For example, talk to them about things you wish you’d have known when you were a similar age, and any tips or tricks that might enable them to overcome obstacles. With some expert encouragement now, they will be in the best form to achieve their dreams a little later.


You could also get professional advice and guidance in the form of graduate career coaching - even at university age, this is a good way for your child to identify their potential career and figure out a path to get there. I hear from so many parents who struggle with these conversations – an external, expert voice is very effective. At City CV we have supported graduates into roles across any and every industry, including magic circle law firms, all of the top tier investment banks, all of the Big Four, top engineering, tech and retail firms, as well as the public sector. All our graduate packages are backed up by interview coaching to give them the best advantage when they’re applying for internships or part-time and holiday jobs.

Want to ensure a smooth, streamlined process for your child as they enter this next phase of their life? City CV has insider expertise that we use to deliver graduate coaching and writing packages that will stand your child in excellent stead for their future career.