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These Are Your Priorities For The New Semester



Semester 2 has kicked off across universities in Australia. So WHAT are your priorities and goals from now to the end of the year?


Planning is important with any endeavour, and this is especially true for your professional career. With the increasing competition in the Australian job market, it’s very hard to fall into your dream role or ideal company.


Here’s a quick article on where to focus your efforts, whether you’re in your first or final year.

Priority Snapshot

Let’s cover these three priorities in more detail:

1. Experience


You’ve heard this a million times, so I’ll be brief. Two types of experience count in this game:


Professional:

What is it?

  • Relates to any work-related experience in a business or official organisation

  • Includes formal and informal internships (such as early look programs and work experience at workplaces)

Where do I find it?

  • Job boards: Look on your university careers portal (usually exclusive to students) and online job boards (facebook groups covering part-time jobs, Seek and Linkedin as well as grad specific ones like GradConnection and GradAustralia)

  • Your networks: Hit up your friendship and family groups to find out if there is anyone who knows a manager, recruiter or employee at a business that is relevant to your desired industry. The market is quite small and so you’re bound to know someone (or someone with contacts)


Extra-curricular:

What is it?

  • Involvement in non-professional roles including student organisations, other associations, volunteer programs, sports, special interest and other groups

  • In these roles, you ideally want to get involved in a position of some responsibility and not just a generic member or attendee to events

Where do I find it?

  • Noticeboards: University, library and community noticeboard are good places to start. For student organisations, you can research all the groups on your university website or facebook, then get in contact with them.

  • Job boards: Websites like Seek and Gumtree also have volunteer opportunities listings and many of these are not very competitive to get (it’s just the reality)

  • Meetups and Eventbrite are also a great hidden gems for opportunities. There are local investing, finance, entrepreneurial and business-related groups that you can join at no cost and network your way to a leadership / organiser role


2. Grades


  • I wrote a prior post on what grades mean in the bigger scheme of things, in short, you really only need to get above a certain level to get your foot in the door for most places, then the attention will turn your other experiences and achievements

  • If you’re in the first or second year of your degree, you want to ensure that you establish solid marks to help you clear this hurdle. This will make things much easier for you come graduation and saves you from playing catch up later on

  • If you are later in your degree and your grades aren’t great, you can either:

  1. Settle on the best possible role you can get that is relevant to your longer term goal (and use it as a stepping stone). I have seen plenty of people do this and it definitely works in practice for those who are patient and can demonstrate their value in the workplace, or

  2. Consider a postgraduate (masters or honours) degree to give yourself more time to lift those grades (and push the lower ones further back in time and out of employers’ minds).


3. Networks


What is it?

  • It’s simple - the more contacts and relationships you have with professionals in the market, the better chance you have of getting the job you want

  • These contacts can open doors, connect you with people, give inside tips, share valuable advice, remove roadblocks and even advocate for you as part of the application process

  • Starting early will not hurt, but it’s most important to get serious with networking when you’re going for internships or graduate roles, usually in your penultimate and final years

Where do I find it?

  • Existing relationships: Leverage your existing relationships for a warm introduction to relevant second or third degree contacts

  • Approach: I have previously written a post that covers plenty of tactics for professional networking in a Careers Fair context (but is relevant for other formats), and we have a killer guide on this very topic available

  • Events & Communities: Leverage university, student organisation or company events, communities and networks that have partnerships with relevant companies or industry contacts

  • Online: You can try the cold outreach to contacts, though not highly recommended, in some cases can work. For this, I’d recommend only using Linkedin or email as communication channels.


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I hope this article helps you identify where and how to focus your energy this semester so that you’re well prepared to shine when it comes to recruitment season.


Be sure you check out our Applications Series and future posts.


Best of luck!