The idea of a ‘dream job’ is something that is pushed into our minds from the day we hit kindergarten. We are often asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, a question that by the time you reach 18 turns into one of expectation. By the time we reach university everybody wants to constantly know “what do you want to do with your degree?” or “where do you see yourself when you finish uni?”. These questions are perfectly normal, but they place on us an expectation that we must have it all figured out from day one. It also fosters false thoughts that we may walk out of university and straight into our dream position or ‘end goal’.
University is an incredible experience, it helps us to grow and to learn to become critical thinkers, knowledgeable in our field and we mature into adults, ready to face the real world. If you use your time at university wisely, it will become an amazing starting point on the journey to your dream job; whether you know exactly what it is or haven’t quite figured it out yet.
Personally, I have had the most amazing experience at Griffith University. And after four years of hard work and dedication to both my studies and extra-curricular activities and a vigorous recruitment process, I was offered a role in the Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Policy Futures Program as a Graduate Policy Officer.
Get yourself out there
It is important to know straight from day one that the job seeking market has shifted massively in the past decade. Once upon a time people could go to uni, get a degree and get a great job. This is no longer the case. A piece of paper to certify your knowledge is no longer enough. You need to spend your time collecting evidence that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to get the job you want. Just think – how many people are sitting in your lecture theatre right now, add in people from other disciplines, and then students at every other university in the country who will all be going for the same positions when you graduate. Most graduate programs have anywhere from 500-5,000 applicants for 1-30 positions.
Start by going online and seeing the careers that exist for someone at a graduate level. What are they looking for? Then, start building your resume by volunteering, engaging in leadership activities, working, apply for sponsorships and completing internships. Every little bit counts. These experiences are what will make up the bulk of your resume and will help you shine in an interview. All you have to do is just sign up to one activity to get started.
Finally, make people know who you are. It might be scary to meet new people, to go along to activities where you know nobody or to attending networking events. But trust me, it is so incredibly worth it. People often say, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. I think that the days of who you know are gone. Now it is more about who knows you. You want people to know who you are, what you’re good at and where you want to go. So many opportunities can arise just from making yourself known to key people. Plus, you’ll make tonnes of new friends and interesting contacts.
Don’t be the person who just goes to class, does the bare minimum and then regrets it when they don’t get an amazing job come graduation. Challenge yourself to get out there. If you do, there is no limit on what you can achieve.