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.

What degree should I study?

Career planning is a lifelong process. It involves a series of decisions considered over time as your life priorities and opportunities change. For prospective and current university students, career planning is about choosing a career path related to your field of study and preparing you for employment. You can now explore your career options using the three steps below:

Step 1 - Career assessment

These career assessments will generate a list of careers and occupations that may be suitable for you:

* For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page

Step 2 - Find out about careers and occupations

The next step is to find out more about those occupations. You can use the myfuture website occupations list to do this. Be sure to also click on the specific information for each occupation to see the education/training required.

Step 3 - Choose the right USC degree

Once you have carried out the career assessments and checked the details of careers and occupations you may be interested in, you can then access our USC Career guide to discover which USC degree you need to study in order to achieve that 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.
  • With the EmployABILITY student starter kit, you can develop a profile which identifies your strengths and key areas for improvement.
  • 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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