Careers Guide

Imagine: job applications close tomorrow. You have attended all your lecturers, done all your tute work, even bothered with the extra readings. Your WAM stands high and proud. Are you ready?

It is a great start, but an academic focus alone won’t deliver.

Your peers around you are all striving for academic excellence. So what is really going to differentiate you? Hopefully this guide will offer you some insightful hints as to what REALLY counts when applying for internship/graduate positions.

Employers are now seeking leaders, team players, innovators and well rounded individuals. Every good recruiter will demand that you have some level of extra curricular involvement. It is this sort of involvement outside the classroom that builds the sought after attributes.

How to get a job in the business world?

Nearly half of graduate recruiters expect their vacancy levels in 2011 to be similar to those recorded in 2010. some sectors have been affected more than others but there are definite signs fo recovery and many organisations are still recruiting graduates. In the current economy the same principles still apply as they do in boom times. The most important thing to concentrate on is differentiating yourself from your competitors. How can you do this? Below are some tips to help you stand out from the crowd.

1. Be Flexible!

There are not quite as many positions available as there have been previously so it is important to be open to a broad range of opportunities. Identify a few different sectors that match with your interest and think about the jobs within them where you can sue your skills. Don’t limit your application to only a few firms. Think outside the square! A search for jobs in both the public and private sector. Make sure you are always checking your uni’s Careers website and other job websites to see what is out there but don’t limit yourself to an online job search strategy! You need to take control of your job search and be directly in contact with the organisation that you would like to work for. Go to career events hosted by your university and don’t be shy to ask graduate recruiters any questions you may have.

Have you ever considered working interstate or even overseas? This could be a great way to kick start your career and gain highly sought after adaptability and cultural awareness skills. is a useful resource to find out the job prospect, visa requirements and current economic situation of various countries.

2. Do your research!

If you are reading this and thinking ‘ I don’t know who I want to work for’ or ‘I don’t know what I want to do when I leave uni’, it is time to start assessing your interest, skills and values and researching what is out there.

Almost all universities provide career and employment workshop which will help you with this process,, and are great for researching different job titles and industries.

Various societies within uni, e.g. Commerce Society and Business Society etc also offer workshops/industrial training for students, so make sure you become an active member of those societies and fully participate in these enriching activities.

3. Network!

Networking is simply meeting as many people as you can and making a good impression. A good approach to networking is to think about how you can help others that you meet, not how they can help you. Someone who you have helped will be more likely to return the favour when they hear about a job vacancy that might suit you. Identify as many opportunities as you can to make these connections, they may be through events run by professional associations or university clubs and societies, alumni, friends, family, volunteering, lecturers, tutors, fellow students, conferences and professional development events. If you want to impress at networking events, make your own business cards and take them along! If you don’t want to make your own, the mini cards at are great and pretty cheap too!

Online network such as LinkedIn and LinkMe, as well as your own website or blog, Face and Twitter (if used the right way) can be used to make connections and market yourself in a positive way. They allow you to build your online brand and make connections with professionals who may otherwise be hard to contact.

Once you have identified some potential job titles and organisations, identify the names of people in your network who could help you find out more about what it is like to work in that job or organisation. Contact them via phone or email and organise a meeting. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask, e.g. about their profession and advice on how to get into it. You never know, they may be aware of an available job or be able to refer you to someone who does. 70% of jobs are not advertised so you need to use these proactive strategies to tap into the hidden job market.

4. Market yourself!

Your resume and online applications are marketing documents. Their main purpose is to differentiate you from other candidates. Make sure your résumé is up to date and highlights achievements. Your resume should reflect things other than your academic achievements- have you been involved in any extra curricular actiivites, done volunteer work, joined a professional association or worked casually? Don’t be afraid to use this information to sell yourself. You can't be modest on your resume.

Tailor your resume and cover letter on each job you apply for. Use the Careers and Employment workshops and career advice appointments (within your uni) and other resources for assistance with this. Make sure your are contactable and professional. Emails like or are clearly not very appropriate and HR are not going to be very impressed by it. Also, make sure your voicemail message is professional.

When you are applying for jobs in the business world, it is vital that you think about your application from the employer’s perspective. What are employers looking for? Employers want people who are genuinely interested in working for their organisation, people who can demonstrate the key skills and criteria in the job ad. You must remember that organisations will spend a lot of time developing job descriptions and criteria for a job advertisement. Make sure you give them the respect of reading and understanding the job ad. Tailor your application to address those criteria. This is how you will be selected. Also pay attention to your application- read it through carefully or better still, get your friend to proof read it for you! There is nothing worse than having the wrong company name in your cover letter.

It is vital that you research the organisation and job you are applying for and use this information in your résumé, cover letter and interview. Before the interview, find out who will be interviewing you. You could even Google your interviewer to find out more about them (but don’t tell them you did this of course!). Make sure you are fully prepared for each interview. There are many websites which have great interview tips and common interview questions you can prepare for.

Below are some tips for graduate interviews.

  • show some personality, relax and enjoy yourself

  • understand why you want to work for the particular company/industry

  • know your CV

  • practice interview technique

  • dress appropriately

  • arrive on time

6. Stay positive!

The current economic situation is outside your control- but relax, there are still jobs out there and more opportunities will open up in the future as the economy recovers from the GFC. Remain positive and think broadly in your job search. Be proactive, target your applications and utilise your careers service. Remember that your first job out of university may not be your dream job but it is a step towards it. Your career path may change many times just as your interests and values change throughout your life. The important thing is to be flexible and be willing to take on new challenges, you never know where they might lead you!

Useful links




Quintessential careers

Great interview tips

How to pass graduate aptitude tests

Sample psychometric quizzes

Resume example directory

Get you started on writing your very first resume

Target jobs

Inside reports about graduate jobs & recruitment

Australian Computer Society

Some great tips and tricks


Great place to learn more about what differentiates the companies

HR World

What the recruiter is really thinking


Career Guide


This guide is structured as follows:

  • Each industry has its own sub section

  • There is about one page dedicated to the industry in order for you to learn more about the industry and opportunities available.

  • A directory of corporate firms in various industries and government bodies that may be researched further for the opportunity they may provide for internships or graduate opportunities.

The industries featured are not the only areas within the corporate sphere you could pursue. One could work ‘in house’ in areas such as finance, accounting or strategy in a company. There are also niche areas such as human resources, derivative trading and insurance that would be relevant for those who have those specific majors or interest.


What is it?

Accounting is mainly involved with the provision of information relating to how a company manages their economic resources and how this information is communicated. The benefit of an accounting career is that issues such as taxes, audits and bookkeeping are core essential functions within almost every business organisation. They are compulsory requirements not subject to the state of economic conditions. In other words, a well trained accountant will always be in demand.

So what do you do as an accountant?

This will depend on which area of accounting you may decide to specialise in. Besides dealing with financial statements, accountants will engage in computing costs of business process and may extend to developing tax strategy and ways to manage business quality.

Opportunities for advancement

A degree in Accounting does not mean a graduate is restricted to dealing with balance sheets and cash flow statements. Though the Big4 accounting firms are indeed a launching point, it is by no means the only path. The skills an accountant acquires, such as analytical, reporting and attention to detail are highly regarded by consultancy firms and well as various government organisations.

Useful links



BDO Kendalls

Grant Thornton


Assocition of Chartered Certified Accountants


Korda Mentha

Pitcher Partners

CPA Australia

Ernst & Young


PKF Australia

Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia

Ferrier Hodgson

Moore Stephens

WHK Horwath

National Institute of Accountants


Actuarial Studies

What is it?

An actuary is a business professional who analyses and manages the risks of financial contracts. An actuary’s work is intellectually demanding but greatly rewarding and actuaries often paly a key role in management.

So what do you do as an actuary?

Actuaries engage with risk, usually in a financial context, and assess how to manage and control that risk. As such, actuaries are in high demand for insurance companies, investment banks, and other financial institutions. The majority of the profession is split up into either corporate or consulting practices:

  • Corporate actuaries work in large corporations, such as banks and insurance companies. These firms constantly deal with risk, and employ actuaries to manage the risk they encounter and improve business performance.
  • Consulting actuaries perform actuarial activities for external clients- companies that don’t have an actuarial team, but have risks to be managed, such as airlines and pharmaceutical companies. >

Opportunities for advancement

Becoming a qualified actuary is an arduous but rewarding process. Three levels of qualifications (known as Part I, Part II, and Part III) must be obtained from IAAust before becoming qualified as a ‘Fellow of the institute of Actuaries of Australia’

A degree majoring in Actuarial Studies leads to career opportunities in many sectors of the workforce, as the skills learnt are relevant across a diverse range of fields. Furthermore, there is great potential for an international career as the qualification is recognised worldwide, with many graduates finding jobs overseas.

Useful links




Bain & Co

Towers Watson

The Quantium Group

Taylor Fry Consulting Actuaries

Deloitte Acuaries & Consultants Limited

Ernst & Young



What is it?

The concept of economics has existed since the dawn of times, because resources have always been limited. Now in its modern form, it deals with a variety of important issues such as: economic growth and development; causes and effect of unemployment and inflation; income distribution; industrial organisation; management of the environment; ways to improve overall efficiency and living standards.

What does an economist do?

Unlike other Commerce graduates who are mostly demanded within the private sector, economics graduate positions are readily available both in the private and public sector.

Being an economist require good research and analytical skills as well as excellent communication skills. Economists provide advisory services and forecasts for governments and business on issues such as unemployment, inflation, interest rates, exchange rates etc. within the private sector, economists observe the impact of domestic and international market movements on business and industries.

Opportunities for advancement

A reputable degree in economics is excellent preparation for a range of careers. Some graduates may choose to pursue careers in the financial sector, e.g. in banking and financial services, analysis and trading, mergers and acquisition. Others choose to join international organisation; become professional accountants and auditors, or to take up positions as economic or management consultant. A significant number choose to go on to academia, not only in economics but also in finance, management and development.

There are also international opportunities for Economics graduates. Economists can gain employment overseas throughout the world in a number of prestigious organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Useful links



Allen Consulting Group

NERA Economics Consulting

BIS Shrapnel

CRA International

Access Economics




Department of the PM and Cabinet

Productivity Commission

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics


Australian Fair Pay Commission



What is it?

In the post GFC world, a career in Finance might seem like a dangerous path- but fear not, stock market crashes and recessions have happened before and instead financial corporations grew larger and bonus compensation schemes became more lucrative.

A career in finance is usually quantitative. Positions revolve around financial markets and instruments, and the risk and strategies surrounding them. Even though financial positions usually suggest stressful long hours and no life behind the walls of the financial institution, most people working in the financial field find that these positions in the long run are extremely rewarding.

What are the fields of finance and what job await me?

  • Investment banking: involves with the more traditional rule of the investment bank which includes trading in securities and advising firms on transactions.

  • Corporate banking: managing different banking services that large companies, governments or other institutions need in order to function daily.

  • Stockbroking: regulated professional who buy and sell shares on behalf of clients for a fee. They may also offer investment advice regarding traditional investments.

  • Foreign exchange trading: involves hedging or speculating upon changes in the exchange rate of currencies.

  • Financial planning: this specialisation involves helping individuals plan their financial future. It takes into account their short term and long term goals in order to determine how to utilise their wealth efficiently.

  • Funds management: involves managing an array of funds including mutual, pension, trust or hedge funds.

  • Government departments: includes important roles in budgeting and collecting data in different fields and which require the worker to respond well to changing economic conditions.

  • Private equity: may be regarded as a type of hedge fund, which means that a private equity acquires a company, restructure it and either re sells it privately or sells it to public through an initial Public Offering.

  • Hedge funds: management of portfolio in order to provide return for investors

  • Compliance: implement policies for public and private companies that comply with related laws and regulations and monitor adherence to these policies. They also identify risks, provide guidance on the management of these risks and actively seek to mitigate legal, reputation and regulatory risks through preventative measures.

  • Investment consulting: advises trustees of corporate and public retirement plans ,pension funds and other organisations with a sizeable investment capital, on what to do with their money.

  • Insurance: main tasks involve helping individuals protecting themselves by identifying and managing foreseeable life threatening events

  • Risk management: assessing, quantifying and mitigating risks for the firm

  • Venture capital: raising money for firms that are at an early stage of inception with high growth potential but also associated with high risk

  • Corporate finance: about a firm’s decision of capital budgeting, financing and dividend policy- aims to harmoniously combine these decisions to achieve the greater goal of maximizing shareholder value whilst managing the financial risks of the firm.

Opportunities for advancement

There are a number of professionally recognised qualification that can be obtained with in the finance industry relevant to finance majors. Whilst professionally recognised qualifications are not absolutely necessary for employment, generally speaking they result in higher salaries and more positive employment outcomes.

Qualifications include: Chartered financial analyst Charterholder (CFA). Financial Services Institute of Australia (FINSIA), and Australian Securities and Investments Commission and Chartered Financial Planner (CFP).

Useful Links



ABN Amro

BNP Paribas

Credit Suisse

Investec Bank

Merrill Lynch


AMP Capital


Deustche Bank

JP Morgan

Morgan Stanley



Goldman Sachs



CFA Society of Sydney


ING investment management

Macquarie Group




Information Systems

What is it?

The Information System major is about the combination of people, processes, technology, and data. It is a blend of business and computer science which requires understanding of both areas in order to communicate the strategic needs of management.

What job awaits me?

Information system majors are versatile in many different sectors such as energy companies, hospitals, sport teams, government, consulting groups, and non for profit. You may also work in various functional areas such as marketing, sales, accounting, and finance.

In all of these jobs, you can draw form your business and technical training to help firms operate and compete more effectively. This is achieved through the strategic use of information technology in team based, project oriented environment involving high degrees of personal interaction with various stakeholders.

Useful links






Campbell Arnotts

Coca Cola Amatil


CSC Australia




News Limited



QBE insurance


Zurich Financial Services





International Business

What is it?

International business is a rapidly growing field dealing with the development, strategy and management of multinational organisations. With globalisation, business leaders and professionals of the future can almost inadvertently be expected to deal with the problems of doing business and managing organisations in a complex and uncertain global business environment.

The international business major provides you the opportunity to study:

  • Globalisation of business

  • Cross cultural management

  • Development and management of multinational enterprises

  • International business strategy for both large and small organisations operating internationally

  • International entrepreneurship

  • International human resource management

  • Business in the Asia Pacific region

What jobs awaits me?

Due to the versatile nature of the major, International Business graduates are employed across a spectrum of corporate activities ranging from manufacturing through to financial and professional services and government agencies.

Industries that have employed international business graduates in the past include:


Examples of companies

Management Consulting firms

Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc, McKinsey & Co

Australian based companies

Qantas Airways Ltd, Sydney Water

Foreign Based multinational companies

Protector & Gamble, American Express, Siemens AG

Telecommunication companies

Telstra Corporation Ltd, Optus

Financial and professional services

Citigroup, Deutsche Ban, HSBC, PwC, Macquarie Bank, Towers Perrin


Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Trade Commission

Travel and Tourism

Hilton Hotels Corporations


IBM Australia Ltd, Sony Australia Ltd


Management Consulting

What is it?

Management consulting involves objective professional providing advice and assistance across national boundaries in relation to the strategy, structure and management and operation of organisation in their pursuit of long term purposes and objectives.

What job await me?

Most consultancy firms have adopted the 4 and 1 model. Their consultants spend 4 days per week at the client site, working closely with the client and return to the office for a common ‘administrative day’. In this type of firm, you will get to work in a team which includes several consultants as well as employees from the client. Other firms tend to do a majority of work at the office, travelling to the client only when needed.

Most projects are between one and three months in length, however some may be as short as one week. No project will be the same as every client has a different set of needs and strategic issues.

Opportunities for advancement

Management consulting is a diverse and rewarding career for driven professionals. It is also an excellent starting point for graduates who want a career in business.

At top tier management firms, you work with some of Australia’s largest and multinational companies on their most important issues. You have the opportunity to really make a difference to their operations and to the Australian business community more generally. The skills you learn as an Associate Consultant will be valuable in any context form business, to government to the not for profit sector.

Management consulting gives you a foundation from which you can launch your career to pursue your own personal goals.

Useful links




Boston consulting group

LEK consulting

Pacific strategy partners

Institute of management consulting Australia

AT Kearney


Litmus Group

Port Jackson Partners

Bain & Co

Corporate Value Associates

Mckinsey & Company

Spectrum strategy consulting

Booze Allen Hamilton

Hub Consulting

Oliver Wyman

Watson Wyatt



What is it?

Marketing encapsulates diversity and this extends to the potential career paths that could be taken. Career paths can range from stopping traffic with billboards promoting the next designer fashion show, to stopping people in their tracks with the opening of the newest fast-food joint. It all comes under one umbrella of marketing.

Being a marketer, your responsibilities can vary; examples including the managing public relations by handling the media frenzy in the face of major events and design visual merchandise in retial outlets. Further examples include delivering products such as nappies and dog food to consumers and researching why exactly people prefer Starbucks to Gloria Jeans. The key aspects of marketing are understanding consumer needs and how to transform these into consumer satisfaction, value and profits to build lucrative relationships with customers, suppliers and distributors.

What job await me?

  • Advertising managers create, plan and execute advertising strategies by communicating with agencies to develop a product or brand.

  • Marketing managers coordinate the activities across all departments of the company that are directed towards marketing.

  • Marketing service managers provide supervision and support to the team of sale specialist by supplying sales material, processing customer enquiries and planning promotional events.

  • Market researcher try to unveil why customers buy the products they buy, by observing trends, products and market in an attempt to increase sale or improve customer satisfaction.

  • Sales manager: coordinate activities and tasks of the company’s sale team.

  • Electronic Commerce Manager: coordinate the marketing activities that project the company’s image over the internet and other electronic media.

  • Media planner/publicity officer: plan, organise, and purchase advertising space that strategically matches the company’s marketing objectives and reaches the intended target audience.

Opportunities for advancement

A major in marketing is a multifaceted and resourceful asset across a diverse range of industries and professions, from managing airlines and international hotel chains to marketing consulting and development at different government levels.

Useful links



Saatchi & Saatchi


BMF Advertising


Vertical Leap Marketing

Roy Morgan Research

Digital Cadet








Optiver Trading

Dun & Bradstreet



Grant Samuel

IMC Pacific

Pottinger Associates





Department of Finance and Administration

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade