Bringing together a diverse range of speakers from numerous industries, the Careers for Tomorrow Festival’s “I didn’t know I could do that with my degree” panel went some way to highlight that your current study discipline needn’t dictate your future career pathway.
All panellists’ careers have taken twists and turns in that they’ve perhaps ended up in different jobs than they envisaged. They stressed the importance of career management in times of change, and honed in on key messages for you to think about if you’re to have a successful career in the 21st century:
- Develop the right industry skills including – perhaps even more importantly – interpersonal skills
- Be proactive and strategic in changing direction
- Cultivate a diversity of thinking
- Maintain knowledge of emerging markets and trends
- Learn other methodologies quickly to ensure you are adaptable to new ways of working
- Establish networks
- Be tenacious – work smarter, not harder
- Undertake continual learning and professional development
Each speaker came from a different background and degree pathway – from engineering to commerce to arts degrees – but all now undertake a role that you might consider wildly different from their previous study disciplines. Their insights were valuable, particularly to anyone that may be considering taking their career in a new direction.
Putting your best foot forward
On being at uni: “Be assertive in all that you are going to do! Don’t wait for opportunities to come – they don’t come. Put yourself forward rather than just wait for what might be available.” Jordan Smith, Program Manager, nanoKnowledge and Mine Technician, Minara Resources
On how to succeed at networking: “If you just ask for a job nobody cares. You have to change your attitude in how you deal with people. Think about a value-add that you could offer e.g. how you would solve a business problem.” Nirmal Singh, Project Officer, City of Stirling
On making your employment work for you: “Have a job, enjoy a job, build on your skills and most importantly, say “Yes” to opportunities – even if they seem off track. Enjoy the journey than stressing about where you will be in the end.” Meredith Prior, Commercial Operations Advisor, Shell
On ensuring you’re organised: “Be tenacious. There’s a philosophy on 80/20 about 80% output by 20% input i.e. work smarter, not harder. For example, think about putting more time into industry experience over putting 5% extra into grades. Balance out your priorities.” Boyd Hauff, Digital Account Manager, Dapper Apps
All panel members agreed that community involvement and networking is a fantastic way to develop yourself and provide a basis for your careers:
“Just get talking to people, people won’t judge you but will be happy to meet for coffee and to listen to what you’re about. Volunteer your time. Try out new things. Nobody is going to hand anything to you on a plate – you’ve got to be prepared to make it happen.”
The general idea was that if you stay open to ideas and talk to people about your interests, other doors can open that you might not have thought about.
To find out more about the presenters, see our “I didn’t know I could do that with my degree” post.