It pays to know yourself before heading into careers events - but that doesn’t mean you have to know what you want right now. Universities see every type of student walk through the door, from rigid planners to permanent improvisers. Everybody has natural strengths, we’ve put together some tips and questions to help you make the most of yours.

Art of Deciding - Icon (target)  1. THE STRAIGHT SHOOTER

You’ve got your degree and career picked out—but watch out for tunnel vision.

It’s important to leave yourself room to be surprised, so try and find a uni where you’ll be exposed to new and unexpected things. This can mean going out of your way to get involved in projects that aren’t obviously tied to your career goal.

Broad perspective, courage, the ability to make real connections with people: these are what recruiters and entrepreneurs call soft skills, and others might call life experience. Hone these skills at university and you’ll find the path to your goals will be a little smoother. 

Questions to ask.

Make friends, push yourself. Remember: mastery isn’t everything, so find out how you can get involved in uni life. Life experience could be the edge between one job candidate and another, or the reason one person’s business succeeds and another fails.

Get your hands dirty. Ask about chances for mixing work and learning (including corporate-sponsored scholarships), and ask employers about their grad recruitment programs. Want to be your own boss? Ask unis about entrepreneur support like UOW’s iAccelerate.

The Art of Deciding - Charlie inline (medium)

I have to be my own boss one day. I want to be a lawyer, but if I am responsible for running a law business on top of that, I know I will be happier. Before I ‘go out on my own’ I need proper training, and a diverse set of skills. Even though the UOW law school is giving me a solid foundation of legal, analytical, and deductive skills, I make sure I never miss an opportunity to do more. This Uni has everything under the sun—grab everything, try everything, be involved in as much as you can.

What to do now?

Find out what skills employers want—ask them about their recruitment processes. Ask unis about co-curricular learning like UOWx.

Art of Deciding - Wink Face (target)  2. THE HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

You know yourself and what makes you happy; the trick will be getting someone to pay you for it.

Knowing what you love is a bigger head start than you might think: uni lets you do your thing like never before. Do it as much as you can, get excellent at it, and this mastery will be your biggest advantage when you graduate.

You’ll still need to put effort in to make opportunities happen, but you have at least three years at uni to focus your interest, tailor your degree and figure out where you want your career to go. 

Questions to ask.

Have it your way. Find a uni that will respond to your interests—and your talents. Ask about options to combine different major and minor studies, degrees with lots of elective options, or double degrees.

See where it can take you. Ask about employment support and career guidance (particularly for later in your degree). Search for graduate interviews on university websites, and look for chances to hear graduates speak at information events.

The Art of Deciding - Caitlin inline (medium)

I have always been keen on nature and science and enjoy creative problem solving. I have found my skills in both these areas come together in spatial science—mapping data to help people answer questions about how the world works and how we live in it. I completed an internship in spatial science while I was studying, so I knew that I liked it. Now I’m excited to be moving to New Zealand for my new job as a GIS Analyst where I’ll be working with clients anywhere in the world, developing my skills and exploring a new home. And if it turns out I don’t like it—I’m still having an awesome experience living overseas.

What to do now?

See where graduates goLinkedIn is a great starting place. Check out life from a student's perspective through #ThisIsUOW, look for inspiration or hit us up on our UOW Future Students Facebook page.

Art of Deciding - Cloud  3. THE DREAMER

You know what you want to do (eventually), but you can’t quite pin down what job or degree is going to get you there. 

The good news is your biggest problem is a knowledge gap, which is easily filled by asking questions. 

You’ll need to be diligently curious: ask questions, try lots of different things. If details get in the way, cut through them and ask what things mean, why they’re important. Your big advantage is motivation, so once you find that thing that feels right, you’ll quickly rise to the top.

Questions to ask.

Look for skills, not subjects. Figure out the essential skills or behaviours behind your dream job, and find a course and university that can give it to you. This applies to everyone, but it’s especially important for Dreamers. Look for extracurricular programs that reinforce skills beyond the classroom, and ask about flexible study choices that will let you redirect your degree as you go.

Find out what a university stands for—talk to uni reps at events and see if you can arrange to speak with their academics (open days are a good shot, or maybe even a campus tour).

The Art of Deciding - Jess inline (medium)

I often struggle with the idea of what job I might take up at the end of my studies, so I think of three things I most enjoy, and then try to come up with a job that involves all these! For me, it would deal with helping others, working on leadership and working outdoors. I can imagine myself managing sustainable projects in developing countries, or leading a foreign aid team into a natural disaster zone—maybe as a teacher, helping inspire younger generations to dare to create change. The perfect job is always changing, based on where you are in life and what challenges you are seeking.

What to do now?

Talk to us! Book a UOW campus tour. Before you get here, ask about chances to meet academics, and when you get here, quiz your tour guide.

BONUS: Peter's UOW story...

The Art of Deciding - Side Tile (alternate image)

    UOW Bachelor of Laws
    UOW Bachelor of Creative Arts / Bachelor of Science
    UOW Bachelor of Engineering / Bachelor of Commerce