Here’s a 6 step process you can use for career planning during your studies.

1. Start  with self-awareness

Think about your current study and/or work situation. What’s working? What would you like to change? Where are you headed?

Reflect on what makes you who you are. What do you know about your:

  • career values?
  • interests?
  • skills?
  • decision-making style?

Activities

Find out ‘Why a satisfying career depends on your skills, interests and values‘.

Complete a free online interest quiz at Job Outlook.

Identify your goals, interests, values and skills using the Your Career and You: Self-Assessment for Students and Graduates booklet produced by Graduate Careers Australia.

Use La Trobe University’s free Career Architect to create a personality  profile  that lists your  strengths and identifies compatible courses.

Try some free online tests to evaluate the values and skills that motivate you.

Make a list of your skills.

Note: You may wish to see a Careers Consultant to discuss and interpret your results, which may be very general.

2. Develop ‘opportunity awareness’

This is about seeking out current,  credible information about study and career options and having the skills to make use of opportunities as they arise.

It involves gathering, organising, and analysing information to determine your possible options around:

  • general career options related to your degree and interests
  • specific occupations and the skills and qualities they require
  • the skills that employers look for in graduate and other roles
  • labour market information and trends
  • pathways into the field that interests you
  • key dates and timing.

The research and analysis skills you develop at uni will come in useful here.

Activities

Try these online resources as starting points.

Career information booklets

What can I do with a degree in…?

Graduate salaries

Job Outlook

Graduate Opportunities

Unimail (for current graduate and vacation employment opportunities)

CareerHub

Industry Associations and Contacts

LinkedIn – use the advance search to see what jobs people with your qualifications have held

Find out about the 8 essential employability skills.

Review and update your skills list. Identify your strengths and areas to develop.

3. Review options and make choices

Self-awareness and an understanding of your career options provide strong foundations for decisions and taking action.

Activities

Review your research into career options and narrow down your choices. Decide on one to three possible career options to focus on.

Choose the best option based on information you’ve uncovered about yourself and your opportunities. A simple way to help make a decision is to list all the options on a piece of paper, write down all the positive and negative reasons for each and choose the one where the positives outweigh the negatives.

Read ‘A quick guide to… making career decisions‘.

4. Create an action plan

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to take action. What do you need to do? Which key dates you need to  take into account for applications or closing dates and so on?

Activities

Learn how action goals can bring luck to career planning.

Create a Career Readiness Plan,

5. Generate opportunities and develop job applications

You’ll need to be familiar with different job search methods and decide on a job search strategy.

Don’t forget the importance of networking as a tool for sourcing opportunities.

  • Have you developed your networks?
  • How could these networks help you in your career planning?

Activities

Take a look at ‘A quick guide to… resumes‘ and ‘A quick guide to… effective cover letters‘.

Shape up your resume and a sample cover letter so you can tailor them to meet the requirements of specific jobs and send them promptly to contacts or potential employers.

Get your resume checked (by a professional).

6. Gain experience

The 5 steps outlined above will help you to get first-hand knowledge of skills, occupations and workplaces that are related to your career goals. The 6th  step is about following through with what you’ve decided to do, based on that information, to develop your skills and find paid or other work experience.

Activities

Read up on 3 ways to boost your employability skills while you study at La Trobe.

Use your Career Readiness Plan, new-found knowledge and networks to look for opportunities such as:

Questions to help you research and plan your work experience

  • How does the work relate to your interests?
  • Are there opportunities for your interests to be further developed through work in this field?
  • How does the work and the environment relate to your stated career values?

Questions to help you review your work experience

  • Has the experience confirmed your choice of career values or changed what is important to you?
  • Which employability skills did you use during your work experience?
  • Were these skills you enjoy using?
  • Which skills would you need to further develop to be successful in a career in this field?
  • How has this experience helped develop your networks? What steps do you need to take to build on this?
  • How has this experience confirmed (or changed) the career decisions you have made so far?