Careers Advice

Setting off on your career journey…

"Definitions of career have changed over the last 15 or so years to keep pace with the rapidly changing nature of work. We often use the terms 'career', 'job' and occupation as though we are talking about the same thing. But your career is something much larger than a job or occupation.

Your Career is a variety of experiences of learning and work (both paid and unpaid) that you undertake throughout your lifetime. If you want to take charge of the development of your career, you will need to actively manage your learning and your work…. (Jobguide )"

How do I choose a career?

The first place to look is at yourself! What things are you good at? What things don’t you like doing? What experience and skills do you already have? What things will you most value in a job? Do some research and talk to people you trust.

A great place to start is with a career quiz. A useful one is can be found in the My Future website This will not tell you what to do; it will give you an indication of what types of careers suit might suit you. A much more intensive career quiz is called Career Builder. Much more information needs to be inputted to get a much more professional response (7-9 page report). You can access this program on College Library Computers.

What is the labour market?

 Do you know the job openings, skill requirements, salary work conditions, training requirements, future projections of employment prospects?  Have a look at the Bulls-eye posters. I found the “alphabetical search” the easiest to use. You can also look at specific Skill Shortages.

Tertiary Study

Everyone needs to keep learning/training.

If you decide to do Tertiary Study (University or TAFE study), you will need to begin exploring course options to get you where you want to go. Look carefully at issues such as:

  • What jobs do graduates get?
  • What does the course involve?
  • Have I covered the prerequisites needed?
  • Is there a good link between the course and the industry?
  • Are there alternative pathways to get me to my goal? Eg TAFE pathways, dual TAFE/University courses, upgrading options, alternative courses/universities etc

You can see me for more information on these topics.

Are there any special requirements eg Oral Health (eg dentistry) might require sitting of the UMAT test mid-year. Applications close in April.

Applications to such courses are made through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC). Whilst most people apply for admission for the beginning of the year, there are other intakes during the year. Applications are best made late term 3 online on the QTAC website. (be careful some courses do have earlier deadlines or require folios, interviews etc. Be careful also of the start dates of your choices.)

Applicants are able to choose up to 6 courses. Before doing this you will need to look at the approximate cut-offs of these courses. It is wise to keep the following in mind:

How to Successfully Plan Your Preferences

Each year many well qualified applicants miss out on a place at University, TAFE or College unnecessarily because they do not select and order their course preferences wisely.

Avoid this happening to you - use the following plan.

Course Preferences

1st
2nd
Ideal Courses These are the courses you would really like to study even though your chances of gaining entry may not be assured.
3rd
4th
Realistic Courses These courses are less competitive.  Realistically, they should provide another way to the career you want or to a second choice career.  They can be used to upgrade to your 'ideal' course.
5th
6th
'Foot-In-the-Door' Courses  These courses are the ones you are prepared to do if you miss out on all the others.  They should be courses that in the past have been quite easy to get into (especially the 6th preference).  They can help you upgrade.

So, Make Sure You...
  • use the correct course code
  • meet the course prerequisites for all the courses you select
  • list courses in order of personal preference i.e. from your most desired course preference down to your lowest course preference
  • seek professional advice immediately if you don't get an offer
  • would accept any of the courses you have selected
  • review your course preferences when you receive your year
  • 12 results
Consider also:
  • Talking to your parents and friends about your thoughts
  • Talk to someone who works in the area of your interest
  • Attend University or TAFE Open Days (see my article in the IPC Newsletter or my Careers webpage)
  • Go to a Careers Expo
  • Look through the pages of the Careers Section of the Saturday Bulletin or search through Career One, Seek, or Indeed for example. You can organise an ongoing search to email you updates on your interests
  • Make use of the “Email-a-student” and student Blogs - chat with a uni student who is studying your course at QUT (QUT courses only)
  • Look at the web pages of the various universities and TAFEs
  • Subscribe to the UQ e-newsletters
  • Talk to past students who are studying
  • You can also apply separately to universities in other parts of Australia using similar websites in relevant states.
Apprenticeships and Traineeships

You can get to start an Apprenticeship or Traineeship during grade 11 & 12 or after you finish school. It is a great way to combine training with working in a paid job.

There are far more types of Apprenticeships and Traineeships than you probably imagine. New Apprenticeships are competency based. This means that you can finish your training quicker.

If you are interested begin to prepare early.

  • Talk to Mr De Luca or myself about what ideas you have
  • Organise with us opportunities for work experience
  • Look at MyFuture Bullseyes for job prospects, pay rates, work conditions and employment rates of your area of interest (use the alphabetical list)
  • Email the IPC Careers Advisor to get a list of the many websites available on various career sectors
Gap Year

Some students choose to have some time to see what the world has to offer rather than rushing into a career path. Options include:

  • An organised Gap Year. You can be an exchange student and experience life and study in another country/culture
  • Get involved in a community organisation overseas eg teaching English or getting involved in community projects
  • Waiting until 2nd year Uni and getting an exchange to an overseas university that will work for you/add value to your resume/will not cost any extra for study fees!
  • Backpacking around the world
  • Many Universities have Mid-Year intakes so maybe a GAP 6 months?

There are many organisations with various focuses who can help this experience to be one which gives you the experiences you want, keeps cost down and supports you all the way. Have a look at:

Words of advice: If this is your choice then make it worthwhile
  • Do something that will help you grow and mature as a person and to add to your experience and knowledge. Add value to your Curriculum Vitae. Going overseas just for the sake of it is a waste of money and your time.
  • If you are planning on university – carefully consider the 2nd year Uni opportunity! Get EXTRA value on your trip!
  • Have in mind some goals/plans for what you want to do after your break (even if this changes)
  • Be safe – it is no fun getting sick, hurt or in legal problems when you are overseas. Be careful with the choices you make.
  • Going back to study after a year accumulating debts, living independently etc can be difficult to adjust to or afford. Keep this in mind before you buy that new car! Try to save some money.
  • Apprenticeships are easier to get before the age of 18! Sometimes it is wiser to travel once you have your trade or your degree. Skilled people are in demand all around the world. Working holidays can offer better and longer experiences.
I Just Want a Job

First place to start is getting together a resume. Put some time and effort into it. You need to SELL yourself to the employer. You can get some assistance to make one in the Job Guide.  Show it to parents, teacher and/or myself to get feedback.

The best ways to get jobs are:

  • Networking. Let friends and family know you are looking. A significant number of jobs are never advertised.
  • Register yourself with a job network agency. There are many and they operate in different ways with different specialties.
  • Commercial Websites like Job Search or Career One or Seek or Locanto Jobs or Indeed Jobs
  • Weekend Bulletin – Careers lift-out. See what is out there.
  • Directly approach employers. Find someone you want to work for and write or call them. Check the Practical Tips in My Future first to make sure you are well prepared.
  • Keep an eye on my E-Newsletters “THE END” and give me your email. Sometimes employers approach our college looking for employees.

See the IPC Career Web Page (Pastoral Heading) for lots of relevant Web Links.

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