Stuck on what to study? We asked a career expert for her top tips

what to study career expert QUT

Marine biologist, robotics engineer, or sports statistician? Deciding on your dream career is no easy feat when the possibilities are endless

While having an ever-growing list of career options may seem at odds with making a clear decision, casting your net wide could be the key to success down the line, says Kerri Laidlaw, a career educator with the Student Success Group at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

“Research by the Foundation for Young Australians says that the average 15-year-old today can expect to have 17 different jobs and five different careers,” says Kerri. “It’s not a forever decision, and it’s important to develop a range of scenarios for your preferred future.”

In a rapidly changing world, choosing the ‘perfect’ career and sticking with it for the long haul has become a thing of the past. Kerri says it’s wiser to consider job ‘clusters’, such as service or technical professions, rather than specific roles when narrowing down study options.

“Think about your values, knowledge, interests, and reflect on your personal attributes and qualities,” says Kerri. “Then you can start exploring which professions or job areas might be a good fit.”

Career advice tools and resources

If connecting the dots sounds like a daunting task, QUT has a wide range of smart tools and free resources to help prospective students decide on what to study.

Whether you’re fresh out of high school or thinking of switching careers, QUT’s free on-campus career workshops cater to all future students.

Kerri Laidlaw QUT career expert advice
Kerri Laidlaw is a career educator with the Student Success Group at QUT.

The workshops, run by QUT’s career educators, cover a huge range of topics, such as preparing for big life changes, making good study and career decisions, and developing the skills and mindset that will help you adapt to the demands of work life.

At the Real Decisions event, future students have the opportunity to talk with staff and current students about their options and what it’s like to study at QUT.

For online quiz fans, QUT offers Match My Skills to help students build their career profile. The free quiz asks a series of questions to help you uncover your true interests and what you envision yourself doing on a daily basis, whether it’s working outside or sitting behind a desk.

The quiz results point you to job areas that match your passions and relevant QUT courses to get you started.

If you want to take a deep-dive into career-building, the two-week Kickstart Your Career online course covers everything from how to get the most out of university to future-proofing your career.

Still struggling with your options? QUT also offers a free 15-minute phone call with a career educator to discuss your options and the pathway that suits you. Students and their families can also book an in-person appointment or request a call-back with QUT to chat about general course and admissions information. Search ‘Need Help Deciding’ on the QUT website to book.

While it’s easy to get lost in looming exams, big decisions and mapping out the future, Kerri says that coming back to your values and passions can guide you through the process. Getting involved in community projects or volunteer work is also a great way to uncover hidden talents and interests.

“These experiences can help you reflect on the things you like or do not like doing and what you would like to get better at,” says Kerri. “It’s all about getting to know yourself.”

This article is brought to you in partnership with QUT

Gemma Conroy

Author: Gemma Conroy

Gemma is a freelance journalist with a passion for making science accessible to everyone. Gemma has a degree in biology from Macquarie University and loves sharing amazing discoveries with the world.


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