Nearly a month ago, I went along to the HASS (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) Industry Networking Evening at my alma mater, The University of Queensland. I try to go to at least one student-alumni event each year, if I can. It’s interesting to talk jobs and careers with students. With all due respect to the academics who taught me, academia is just plain different to the job market that the majority of students will go into.
2019 HASS Industry Networking Evening
I appreciated that there was a realistic portray of the quantity of work that is now contract based. It was a nice bit of reality that I hadn’t expected. Previously I had found that UQ is a bit too focused on those who have a linear, very corporate career path. Seeing as that matches literally no one that I can think of from my time studying there, I was glad to see the realism.
Here are some of the tips, thoughts and general “stuff” that I remember talking about:
- A humanities degree means that you are adaptable and able to learn new skills. Make sure you find a way to highlight this on your resume, in your job applications and/or in interviews
- It is uncommon to find a job title that is your major. For example, my major was anthropology. I’ve never had a job title of anthropologist. Jump on Seek and have a look, there aren’t many. Use your research skills and apply them to job hunting. Focus on key words and skills that you can find in your unit outlines.
- Government job titles can be vague. My research job was “Program Officer”. Start reading the position descriptions to learn more about the job and what the titles may mean.
- You do not have to go straight from a bachelors into honours or further study. I know that many academics want you to do this. In some ways, it is easier for both you and the university if you do it. But you have to decide if it’s right for you.
- I chose not to do honours because a) I already had a job using my skills from uni and b) because I couldn’t see how honours would progress my career when I didn’t want to become an academic.
- It’s ok to be sick of living on student money want want a job that pays well.
- If you want exposure to a number of areas, a graduate program might be suitable for you.
- You don’t have to graduate to look for a job. Start searching now. It’ll help you get a sense of what’s “out there”.
- Many students in other study areas don’t start focusing on journals until postgrad. If you’re an anthropology graduate, you are WAY ahead of most students in academic research skills.
- Network with people! Keep in touch with your fellow students and your teaching teams.
- If you want to reach out to someone for career advice, do so. Be polite and remember the worst they will do is say no.
If there’s anything you wanted to ask, but forgot to on the night, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email (vanessa AT normalness DOT com). Obviously I don’t speak for the uni and can’t help you with study related queries, but I can answer the post-uni job/career side of things as best as I can.
Also, if you heard me talking about my book, Fuck Should, jump on my mailing list here. I’m looking to publish late June, if all goes well!