Career planning

Career planning

Developing a career plan helps you to define your future career path and take charge of your own advancement. It will give a sense of direction and purpose to your studies.

Developing a career plan is a four-step process.

Step 1 - Understand yourself

Know your values, interests, skills and personal attributes. This helps you make informed career decisions and improves the likelihood of career satisfaction.

Explore your potential on CareerWise and consider what is important to you.

Step 2 - Research your career options

Use self-assessment to identify and research careers you may be interested in. CareerWise has tips on how to search for jobs. As you search, think about:

  • work-life balance
  • qualifications/certifications/registrations
  • industry culture and players
  • growth areas
  • scope for professional development
  • potential employers
  • rewards and benefits
  • career and employment prospects
  • industry recruitment practices.

Step 3 – Get involved and get experience

The best way to learn about an industry or occupation is by trying it out. Try asking someone working in the industry or in the job you want for information about their own career path.

Learn more about the professional associations in your industry and student groups you can join.

Start building a professional network as many opportunities arise through personal contacts.

Step 4 – Set career goals

Make an action plan with short-term and long-term goals to help keep you focused and moving towards a career in your chosen field. The key to good career planning is to be SMART:

  • Specific – make your objectives clear and easy to understand
  • Measurable  – set time frames for each objective and ensure these are achievable and reasonable
  • Avoid complexity  – be realistic and don’t make your goals too complex. Don’t tackle something too big. Keep them simple and easy to understand and follow through with.
  • Realistic  – consider other commitments and make sure you're not expecting too much of yourself by striving for the impossible.
  • Timely –  consider short-term vs long-term goals. Short-term goals are quick, simple activities like identifying your skills, updating your resume, attending a workshop. Long-term goals are ultimate career goals – they set your ultimate direction.

Once you've got an action plan, be sure to act on it, adjusting it for each stage of your studies.

  1. First year student

    1. Make an appointment with the Careers and Employment Service team to discuss your potential career plans and how to gain experience in your field
    2. Prepare your application documents and attend our Resume Rescue workshops.
    3. Find a casual / part-time job to build your interpersonal and technical skills and gain an understanding of the working world
    4. Join a degree-related student group and get involved
    5. Start volunteering in your field of interest
  2. Mid degree
    1. Develop discipline-specific skills through work placements, volunteering, or a part-time job
    2. Apply for vacation work or internships
    3. Attend one of our career programs
    4. Start to build your e-portfolio, including LinkedIn, writing a blog and application documents.
  3. Final year – soon to graduate
    1. Fine-tune your application documents. Visit our Resume Rescue workshops for help.
    2. Complete a degree-related internship or PACE placement
    3. Define employers and industries of choice, make initial contact, network (employer evenings, employer presentations or competitions) and research the area
    4. Attend the Graduate Careers Fairs or other industry-specific fairs
    5. Start applying for graduate programs early in the year (February/March)
    6. Attend one of our workshops on interview skills, assessment centres or the graduate recruitment process.

If you need help with any of these steps, search for initial information on CareerWise before booking an appointment with the Career and Employment Service.

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