Deciding on a career

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Deciding on a career

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Answering the question "what do I want to do?" is not always easy. Use the following information to help you as you make decisions about your career.

Start with yourself

Self-assessment can help you plan the type of career and environment that might suit you. Consider these questions.

  • What is important to you and your personal life?
  • What is important to you in a job?
  • What do you like and dislike?
  • What interests you?
  • What motivates you, what makes you want to do your best and why?
  • What work or study have you liked or been good at in the past?
  • What are your goals?
  • What do you want to be doing in ten years?
  • What do you want your workplace to be like?
  • Do you have an ideal workplace in your mind?
  • What knowledge and skills do you currently have?
Useful resources
  • Download USC's Career Planning Character Assessment to help you understand how your character design fits into the world of work
  • USC's online Career Guide can help you select a program of study for a chosen career
  • myfuture helps you explore careers to suit skills, qualities and characteristics
  • Job Outlook lets you explore industries, skill sets, types of work, salaries and prospects
  • Surf the net—visit industry association websites, company websites, job search websites and read all the information you can to learn more about areas of employment you are interested in.
  • Over 200 career planning resources are available on Student Hub.

Talk to people

Other people can provide valuable, objective advice, ideas or a much needed reality check as you progress your plans. Try the following:  

  • Ask friends and family for advice—they sometimes know you better than you know yourself!
  • Find people who do the job you are interested in. Ask them what a day on the job is really like. They may even let you shadow them for a day.
  • Develop your professional networks by attending meetings, volunteering or joining relevant associations related to your areas of interest.
  • Current students can book a careers guidance appointment on Student Hub.

Do your research

Deciding on a career is an important decision. Make sure you do your homework.

  • Research occupations:
    • What experience and education is required?
    • What are salaries at entry level and with more experience?
    • What are the skills needed?
    • What is the potential growth in the career field or industry?
    • What are the future trends?
    • What are the common application procedures?
    • What are the job titles that those in relevant occupations hold?
    • Is it what you want to do?
  • Research industries
    • Look beyond the duties, skills or company to the industry behind it.
    • Look for jobs that might fit under several industry banners, some of which you may be better suited to than others. For example, a marketing graduate may seek work within a marketing company (marketing services industry) or may seek employment in a marketing role but within the sports industry, manufacturing industry or tourism industry.

Next steps

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