Monday 19 May 2014

Five ways to enhance your digital footprint

Five ways to enhance your digital footprint
Your online profile can be a gateway to your career, so how can you use your digital presence to move swiftly into your next role? Here are five things you should know about your digital footprint.

A digital footprint is the trail of data that users leave on digital services. From websites to social media profiles, your digital footprint can be used to showcase your career – so make sure you know how to optimise it.

First ask yourself: how will people find me? Then follow it up with: what impression will they obtain from my digital presence?

1. Make your mark

Potential employers will almost certainly plug your name into a search engine, so make sure you have a digital presence in the first place. If you have a common name, try to distinguish yourself with your middle name or a creative tagline, e.g. ‘aspiring tax specialist’.

2. Leverage your presence

Having a digital presence can help you find networking opportunities as well as push your name into someone’s sights. A career-oriented social network like LinkedIn is excellent for showcasing your skills, education and experience in a professional manner and acts as a searchable résumé for when an employer is looking for someone just like you. Websites are now so accessible and cheap that you may also choose to build your own for this purpose.

3. Eliminate the bad and irrelevant

Growing up online has it benefits, but it also has some drawbacks. You need to be aware of all the not-so-good stuff that can pop up in a search, which may include everything from angst-ridden poetry from when you were 13 to websites where people may have posted rumours or insults about you. If you can’t delete or hide these, at least make sure the good things rank higher.

4. Curb questionable behaviour

Everyone acts differently at work compared to how they act around their friends. Online, this distinction is often blurry, so it’s good practice to behave as if future employers are watching. This is the same rule you should apply whether you are engaging with others on social media or commenting on blogs and news articles. This means no negative behaviour such as posting anything unnecessarily aggressive or defamatory in nature.

5. Be yourself

While you don’t want potential employers to stumble upon something embarrassing and get the wrong idea about you, having an immaculate digital footprint is also a little unnerving. Authenticity wins over ‘too good to be true’, so don’t be afraid to be human.

The web is a great tool used by employers to find and research potential employees. Make sure you’re on their radar and primed to give the right impression when they do.

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Monday 12 May 2014

Three ways to better use your university career centre

Three ways to better use your university career centre
Not sure how to begin your career? When thoughts start to drift, a university career centre can be your anchor.

For some undergraduates, their university career centre is worth only a passing glance in first year. However, as you approach the end of your degree, there are many ways you should be tapping into this valuable resource.

1. Find more opportunities

Online career websites are a great way to search for graduate roles, but don’t forget the staff at your university career centre have a depth of recruitment knowledge that will allow you to tap into areas that are not as accessible or widely advertised. Many universities have special partnerships with organisations, so ask around to find out if you’re suitable.

Professional career staff can tell you:

  • The employers who recruit from your discipline.
  • How and when particular employers recruit.
  • What to expect of the employment market today and where the growth areas are.

They can also find relevant work experience and volunteer opportunities.

2. Find your career direction

Career centres have resources that will help you plan your career, including the research you need to do to find the best career path for you. This involves undergoing a skills assessment and a personality test that will determine areas of suitability, including sectors you may not have considered before.

For a more in-depth look at your career direction, make an appointment with a career counsellor. They will identify your skills, knowledge and experience to assess which areas might be right for you, as well as take into account your own goals and aspirations.

3. Make a good impression

Career centres can help you develop professional-looking job applications and all the collateral, such as résumés, CVs and portfolios, that may need to accompany them.

Remember that staff have specialised knowledge of what works and what doesn't for particular organisations, and they are across all the required specifications for each employer – take advantage of this resource! They can also help you with interviewing techniques and strategies. Some may even run workshops to allow you to practise and hone these skills.

It’s a good idea to check in to the career centre at the beginning of your final year as many graduate programs for the following year close after first semester. This way, you can also develop your career building skills throughout the year via workshops and seminars, as well as form a relationship with the staff who are best placed to help you find a graduate opportunity.

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Monday 5 May 2014

What else can you do with your law degree?

What else can you do with your law degree?
A legal career will be hard to come by as a glut of law graduates struggle to fit into fewer graduate places. So what else you can do with your law degree?

Enrolment numbers provided by universities around Australia show that the number of students enrolled in law is on the rise. The bad news is that, according to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook, job openings in the legal profession will be low over the next few years. The number of graduate places has also shrunk correspondingly, according Graduate Careers Australia.

What to do with a law degree?

Whether you’re a law undergraduate or new graduate, the widespread competition will affect your chances of landing a role in the legal profession. Fortunately, many students undertake a law degree not to become a partner, barrister or QC down the line, but to expand their skill set and add value to another area of study.

Throughout their degree, law graduates acquire:

  • Analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Critical reading abilities.
  • Research skills.
  • Oral communication and listening abilities.
  • Task organisation and management skills.
  • Writing skills.

This means graduates can enter a broad range of industries, from education, journalism and finance to conflict resolution, advocacy and politics.

One industry that requires all the skills of a law graduate is the tax sector. Many graduates who have also completed a degree in commerce, economics or accounting may have already considered this path. The tax industry is diverse and the work more plentiful compared to roles in the legal profession.

Make your move now

If you’re looking to enter a complementary field, from tax to property, media to politics, identify what specialist education and training you will need. In some cases, your other degree, in tandem with your law education, will be sufficient to secure an entry-level role in your targeted field. Undergraduates in more general degrees, such as arts, science and history, should also consider how their majors may affect their career opportunities.

In some cases, despite having two degrees you may need to undergo additional specialist training. The Tax Institute, for example, offers courses in Australian Tax Law for aspiring tax specialists, while chartered accountancy is popular for aspiring accounting professionals.

If you have your heart set on a legal career but can’t land an entry-level role, look for a comparable position in another profession that offers similar work. If, for example, you’re interested in contract law, you may find it easier to secure a role in human resources and recruitment, or in the construction industry negotiating and drawing up project contracts.

Taking a holistic view of your law degree will give you many more opportunities outside the legal profession than within it, so embrace the broad range of careers a law degree can unlock.

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If you are a tertiary education student, The Tax Institute can help you progress in your career journey.

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