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15/08/2013 | Webreality

Why exam results don't matter

It's A-level results day in the UK. Thousands of nervous students are receiving their results. You might be one of them...


 So, how important are exam results to employers? 

The answer is... it depends.

It depends on the nature of the workplace, the nature of the work, and the nature of the clients or customers of the employer.

But here's a simple piece of advice that I believe to be true, based on discussions with many business owners, directors and managers over the years.

Nothing counts for more than attitude.

An employer can do anything with an employee who displays a positive, conscientious and constructive attitude to work, service and their career.

The British education system attaches enormous value to the measurement of achievement through academic testing, assessment and exams. But these are just benchmarks at a moment in time.

Employment is a deal. Above all, what an employer typically wants from the deal in an era of accelerating change is people who are self-motivated, curious, flexible, forward-looking and positive. These attributes come from within, and add up to that magical thing we call "a great attitude." In return, a great employer will deliver a motivating blend of exciting opportunity and fair reward.

A particular set of results might be a short-cut to an interview, but you still have to impress when you get there.

Let's say you wow the interviewer and get through the door, but start on a lower pay grade than your mate who just got straight A*s in her A-level exams. Thing is, she's not really that interested. It's just a job. She's content to go at whatever pace the company lets her go at. But you're hungry. You take the trouble to research your employer's market better, to make life easier for everyone around you, to pay attention to everything to see and hear, to notice and share what the competitors are doing, to tell the boss about an idea you had on the bus for a way to do things better or faster...

Guess who's more likely to progress? You can do a lot to determine your trajectory, and it all starts with attitude.

Whatever exam results you get, turbo-charge your chances with the right attitude. With the right employer, it always works.

What do other employers out there think?

PS If you're one of the admirable minority planning to start your own business, don't think this advice doesn't apply to you. But then you already know that... ;-)

PPS Please don't interpret this post as suggesting that you can right yor CV in pour english and it wont matter, or that it's ok to need a calculator to work out 20% of 100. Academic basics are vital... it's what you add to them that counts!