Career Planning

Planning your career is an exciting and rewarding opportunity to sketch out your life in the workforce. May expect you’ll change careers several times in your life, changing individual roles as you climb up the ladder of seniority. The main factor driving this is change:

  • On-going, rapid technological and societal changes mean that jobs and careers spring up or disappear all the time. A job you aspire to now may be gone in 10 years; likewise a job you are well suited for over the same timeframe may not be created as of yet.
  • Personal satisfaction and meaning in a job is a powerful source of contentment. What you feel is meaningful to you will change.
  • Each experience teaches you something: what is important to you right now may not be so significant next year. This could be job security, good money, work in alignment with your values, etc.
  • Your skills will strengthen over time, and most people are interested in learning for life.

People find job satisfaction outside of paid work. You may want to focus on their home and family life, others may volunteer their time, and others may develop a hobby or skill, and so on. To successfully navigate the ‘world of work’ and decide on your career path, you need to make two aspects of your journey clear: your own goals, and what is available in the wider workforce.

Getting to know yourself

Career development begins with self-awareness. You must ascertain what you deem important in work and life. Think deeply about your skills, motivations, interests and desires. This will help make informed choices about your career path. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What do I place value on in my work? Money? Helping others? Forging relationships?
  • Do I prize flexibility over prestige? Career advancement over personal fulfilment?
  • Where do I want to work? In an office? Remotely? In teams or individually?
  • What types of activities interest me most?
  • Do I want to focus on people, data, or technical activities?
  • What organisations interest me?
  • Do I have a desire to be an entrepreneur, technician, or administrator?

Here are some tools to help answer those questions: CareersUC has access to Career Voyage, an online vocational assessment tool. http://careervoyage.com.au/au/(get password token from Careers UC)

MyFuture – a website that includes a career exploration tool that enables you to build a profile based on your interests and education and training. You can browse occupations and industries and access career insight content.

Job Outlook – a careers and labour market research information site to help you decide on your future career.

This website has a tool that helps you to identify your work values http://www.gamitsolutions.com.au/card-sort/default.html

Explore the workforce

Once you have explored what you want in work, you’re ready to research the workforce. Find more information about the career you want by researching your options: Understand the typical careers your course leads graduates. You should:

  • Check information about careers related to your major
  • Talk to people who work in a related field; ask for mentorship or career guidance opportunity
  • Use LinkedIn to see where alumni work
  • Attend careers events and industry presentations

Professional Associations 

A Professional Association is a peak body that represents a particular industry. Most professional industries such as media, law, health, accountancy, engineering, etc. have associations you can join. Some may require you to pass an examination (the Bar, for law; a CPA for accounting, etc.)

You can become a student (or graduate) member, which gives you access to meetings or special content. Some professional associations have job postings in your industry. Find a list of professional associations here: http://www.journoz.com/ausproforgs.html  and https://www.tpb.gov.au/recognised-professional-associations .

Other alumni associations such as the Golden Key Honour Society may also accept applications based on academic performance.

Online resources 

There are many sources of information online to guide your workforce search.

Graduate Careers Australia is one of the premiere sources of information about where Australian graduates enter the workforce. Information is grouped into level and study area, and salary levels. It also has an overview of many different industries. www.graduatecareers.com.au

The Good Universities Guide online also contains a search function to investigate types of jobs and types of work in different fields. https://www.gooduniversitiesguide.com.au/careers-guide

Graduate Opportunities provides similar information, focusing on graduate job placements: www.graduateopportunities.com.au

Based on the information that you provide in ‘My Career Profile’, the Myfuture website suggests occupations based on your responses. It also provides information about a range of careers and industry recruitment information. www.myfuture.edu.au

About’s Career Planning website has a wealth of information about forging your career. It is American but a lot of the information is relevant to Australia. http://careerplanning.about.com

This Australian Public Service website assists recent graduates to identify and follow a career path in the APS. It can help you if you want to start or build a career in the public service. resources.apsc.gov.au/myaps/home.html#

Students and graduates can also keep informed by following industry magazines or trade publications. For example, STEM students and grads might be interested in these resources: http://careerswithstem.com/

Joboutlook provides useful information about industries and occupations, including average salaries and job prospects. www.joboutlook.gov.au

Glassdoor contains further information about organisations and salaries offered: www.glassdoor.com.au

Set up your career goals

Once you’ve explored yourself and what kind of jobs you’d be a good fit in, you can start designing your career goals.  If you’re still unsure, check out the following resources:

Make Your Mark is a career guidance website helping you find out your strengths. Explore career and further education options, plus info on being an effective job seeker: www.makeyourmark.edu.au/my-future

The following site has information about how to make career decisions, with templates of practical ways of going about doing this. www.businessballs.com/problemsolving.htm