Establishing Your Career Pathway
It is never too early to think about possible career choices for the future. While you are studying, think about how you can improve your profile as an applicant for the career you want.
Here are some points to remember:
- Don't be afraid to change the focus of your degree if your goals or interests change
- Take responsibility for getting the sort of grades and experience an employer will value
- Start getting organised for the job search before you have finished your degree
- Build up your CV by taking part-time or volunteer work in areas related to your career goals.
Tailor your programme of study towards a career
Research all careers that interest youWe've put together a list of some of the challenging careers that our graduates go into. You can also try the Career Services rapuara online which provides a comprehensive list of job opportunities. You will get information on what the job entails, entry requirements (i.e. Bachelors degree or postgraduate qualification), pay scale and related industries.
Monitor job listings
Find out what qualification(s), skills, experience, and abilities employers require for the kinds of jobs that interest you. Keep yourself up to date with what the market needs.
Some useful websites you could visit are:
- Career Jet
- New Zealand Government Jobs Online
- New Zealand Local Government Careers and Job Vacancies
- New Zealand Herald Jobs
- New Zealand’s University Jobs Website
- Trade Me
Talk to an Adviser
There is a wealth of support available to help you to achieve your career goals. Consult university student advisers or academic staff for their advice on which papers or subject combinations to take to meet your career goals.
Visit Career Development Services on campus to gain practical tools and strategies focused on your future success in the job market. It's a free service - so make the most of it!
You can also seek advice from a professional careers consultant. There are a number to choose from both locally and nationally.
Specialise or widen your scope
Broadly speaking, at tertiary level you have the option of choosing a professional degree, such as the Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Environmental Planning, or a more general degree like the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Social Sciences.
Some students will choose an arts, social sciences or tourism degree so they can keep their options open. Others may wish to focus on one area. One thing for sure though is that you should never underestimate the power of a good arts or social sciences degree: employers say we make excellent employees because of the skills we develop while studying.
Consider Graduate and Postgraduate Study
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences strongly encourages its students to think about studying a graduate qualification after they complete a Bachelors degree. This may be a graduate or postgraduate diploma (e.g., Graduate Diploma in Teaching, Graduate Diploma in Marketing, or Postgraduate Diploma in Second Language Teaching); or an honours degree, such as a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) or a Bachelor of Arts (Honours).
The reality is that some of the careers you are interested in will require postgraduate study. If you are unsure about graduate study you could start working and think about specialised postgraduate study a little bit later. Talk to a Graduate Adviser about your options.
Develop employment-related skills
- Build up your communication skills and confidence through class seminars, group work and presentations
- Include at least one good writing skills paper and at least one good research skills paper in your degree (e.g., Critical Reasoning, English Confidence, The Practice of Social Science Research)
- Add some career-focused papers to your BA or BSocSc (e.g., Introduction to Management or The World of Electronic Commerce) or a Work Placement at 200 or 300 level (see the Faculty Office for details)
- Gain practical experience through part-time and/or volunteer work
- Join a campus or community club relating to your interests or hobbies. (Skills acquired in many clubs are transferable to all kinds of careers even if the clubis not directly related to your study. For example, organisational skills, leadership skills, and the ability to communicate with a diverse range of people)
- Apply for positions in the Faculty or the wider University, because they do come up from time to time (e.g., Networkenrolment assistants over the summer break, tutoring positions and student ambassadors). This experience can lead to full-time employment.
- Speak with someone who is in your ideal job and ask them what qualification(s), skills and experience you need to be a strong candidate for a similar position
- Set up a research project as part of your degree (for example, many subjects offer Directed Studies at 300 level) or enrol in a Work Placement (see the Faculty Office for details), which will take you into an organisation you might like to work for
- Arrange work experience during the semester break or ask if you can shadow someone for a day to find out what they do on a daily basis.