By the end of this module, you will be able to locate
- information on career planning.
- potential employers.
- job opportunities.
- sources of project grant funding.
Career planning will assist you to find the right job after completion of your studies. Future employment opportunities include:
- a postgraduate or postdoctoral fellowship.
- part-time, casual or contract positions in higher education.
- a full-time academic position.
- a public service career.
- work in the non-profit or private sectors.
Finding information at UNE
Talking with your supervisor and other UNE academic staff is often a useful first step in career planning. However, this is only the beginning. Career Development runs a range of career programs to assist graduates in finding appropriate employment.
Finding information from other sources
There are a number of online sources of career-planning information. These include:
A good piece of your advice is not to begin by looking for a specific position. Don't expect to find a job which dovetails exactly with your thesis topic.
If you have just completed a thesis, say, on the population genetics of Litoria caerulea (the Common Green Tree Frog), you probably won't find an advertisement for Green Tree Frog Conservation Officer. Think more broadly. For example, look at positions relating to faunal conservation, genetics or even medical research (the Green Tree Frog being the original source of the drug Caerulein).
Decide what skills you have to offer. These are not limited to your knowledge of a specialised topic, but may include analytical skills, database management, writing skills, experience in teamwork, or knowledge of lab techniques. Then, determine which fields interest you and identify potential employers. If an organisation is working in a field that interests you, it is very likely that they will employ people with your type of skills. It is much easier to target employers than search for specific job titles.
Finding potential academic employers
Employment opportunities in the university sector are usually advertised on the Web sites of individual universities. The Universities Australia site has links to the sites of Australian universities.
Another approach is to scan the weekend classified sections of the major Australian dailies, including the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times and the Courier Mail. The Higher Education Supplement in each Wednesday's Australian is a particularly useful source of employment prospects in the tertiary sector.
Other research bodies
There are dozens of Commonwealth agencies engaged in research, including the:
- Australian Antarctic Division.
- Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).
- Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).
- Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).
- Geoscience Australia.
- Ionospheric Prediction Service.
There are more than 70 Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) at Australian universities offering employment opportunities in a wide range of areas, including manufacturing, medical research, information technology, environmental management, mining and agricultural technologies.
There are also many research institutes outside the CRC scheme. Some major employers in this area include:
- Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics.
- Australian Genome Research Facility.
- Australian Proteome Analysis Facility.
- Institute for Molecular Bioscience.
- Australian Research Council (ARC).
- National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
- Department of Health and Ageing.
Most government departments have graduate recruitment programs. These programs typically aim to attract specialists from a wide range of disciplines.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is a good example. The Department is not just looking for science graduates. Rather, it is also seeking graduates in the humanities, social sciences, business and law.
Find information on graduate recruitment programs for any State or Commonwealth departments that interest you.
Vacancies in the Commonwealth Public Service are advertised widely in the newspapers and on the APSjobs site. The APSjobs site allows you to search for job opportunities across the Commonwealth Sector. You can create your own account and set up alerts, so that you receive an email when suitable jobs arise. In addition, the site contains helpful advice on making applications for positions within the APS.
Information on current job opportunities in the State public sectors is available from these sites:
- Australian Capital Territory (ACT Gazette).
- New South Wales.
- Northern Terrritory.
- South Australia.
- Western Australia.
Become familiar with the Web sites of government and semi-government research institutes in your area of expertise.
Private sector employers
Private sector employers of graduates are too numerous to list. The Graduate Opportunities site provides detailed profiles for over 180 major companies. Each profile includes the company's vision, its national and multinational activities, specific career choices and further contact details.
Many peak industry bodies provide portal sites which link graduates to employment opportunities in their sector. An example is the careers site MiningCareers.com.
Making your own opportunities
One aspect of successful networking is becoming familiar with key researchers in your discipline. These people are sometimes in a position to provide employment after your studies have ended. Established researchers often require qualified personnel for ongoing work or research projects.
Another option is to work with other researchers to generate new employment opportunities in the form of grant-funded positions. Consider if the results of your research might lend itself to further developments, either in the form of commercialisation or a specific project. A number of government and private bodies provide funding for promising research.
There are also a range of funding arrangements possible under schemes administered by State government agencies. See the module on grants and scholarships for more information.
This module dealt with the following:
- finding information on career planning.
- locating potential employers.
- finding job advertisements.
- making your own employment opportunities.