Careers advice for first years

Making the most of your UQ experience: Employability advice for first-year undergraduate students

Careers advice for first years

Making the most of your UQ experience:
Employability advice for first-year undergraduate students

Welcome to the University of Queensland’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Law! We are so excited that you are here – and have already found this page to start exploring your career journey with us.

Whether you have a clear career path in mind or are still exploring your interests, our team of careers and employability specialist is here to support you create your unique future, whatever that might look like.

Graduation may still seem a long way away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about your career and how to prepare for it even outside the university classroom. Here are a few things to get started on during your first year to help you make the most of your UQ experience.

You may also like to download our first-years Career Checklists as a handy guide to your early university experience

Be curious and enjoy the journey

students collaborating in a workshop

University – as life in general – will be an exciting, and sometimes unpredictable journey full of different experiences and lessons. Often, we avoid getting started on something because we don’t know what will come next. Just remember, that is normal.

Studies have shown that the way we think about things plays a significant role in whether we take action or not. Therefore, a curious mindset is important to get the most out of your experience. Being curious means that you are continually asking questions and remain open to exploring new ideas, engage in experiences, and make the most of opportunities as they arise.

  • Visit BEL Careers and Employability. Discover what careers and employability support is available to you during your studies, and stay informed by following us on Facebook.
  • Start to explore potential career pathways. Attend our careers and professional development events and stay abreast of other, UQ-wide employability initiatives, to get insights into the industries and careers that interest you, build your employability and grow your networks.
  • Seek out opportunities for continuous learning. Check out our CareerHacks Podcast to get access to exclusive interviews and conversations with industry leaders, UQ alumni and current students, and tune in to other podcasts related to career development or your chosen industry. Explore LinkedIn Learning courses to develop the tools and understanding to start your career on the front foot; these can be accessed for free using your UQ student login.
  • Maximise your study plan. Find out what experiences you can fit into your study plan and use your electives for a Work-integrated Learning placement or consultancy project course, our Employability Capstone course or a global experience. Contact the BEL Student Centre for advice.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the challenging questions. Do you know what career pathways are available after your graduation? Do those pathways align with your values, unique strengths and career goals? If not, or you have doubts, that is okay and you don’t need to figure it out alone. Book a BEL Careers Consult for a one-on-one chat to find your career direction.
  • Know your working rights. Develop an understanding of your rights at work and your employer’s obligations so you know that you are being treated fairly. For more information visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.



screenshot of linkedin learning
Login to LinkedIn Learning as a UQ student for free online courses that earn badges for your LinkedIn profile


Get involved and try things out 

For most people, passion and clarity in their career only come after they try something, discover they like it and over time develop mastery in it – not before. It’s very normal to experience uncertainty early in your degree, the important thing is to get involved, start trying things out and develop an understanding of how you can apply your degree knowledge to create your unique pathway. Remember, you get out what you put into your career.

  • Get ready to apply. Create a professional resume and cover letter so that when an opportunity arises, you can take advantage of it quickly by tailoring your application to the role. Complete our online Employability Essentials modules to learn the basics, then upload your resume to VMock, our smart resume checker, for detailed feedback and to ensure it meets industry standards.
  • Build your experience. Whether it be casual work, work shadowing, volunteering, our Student Work Experience Programentrepreneurship programsstudent societiesStudent-Staff Partnership Projectsvirtual internshipsmooting or other activities, your first year is the perfect time to engage in a broad variety of experiences.
  • Develop your knowledge and capabilities. Attend our Career Development Workshops and regularly check our events page to not miss our careers and networking events.
  • Register for the Employability Award. This is a program designed to help you engage in a variety of experiences, maximise your learnings and effectively communicate their value to employers.
  • Learn from your experiences. Think about what skills and attributes you used during your experiences, and how you could use them in future work contexts. What did you find challenging and how can you bridge any skills gaps? Try using the SEAL process to unpack your experiences and articulate your value proposition.



BEL Buddies - group shot inside UQ Centre
BEL Buddies getting ready to welcome new students at Orientation 2021


Embrace collaboration and learn from others 

Remember you are not alone, many of the best ideas and solutions will come to you through collaboration with others. Most people enjoy helping others by sharing their knowledge or experiences, bouncing around ideas, or pointing you in the right direction – often all you need to do is ask.

  • Get to know university staff. Your tutors, lecturers, and career advisors have a wealth of knowledge and professional networks, and their jobs are to help you achieve your goals, so make use of these resources.
  • Build your networks. Approximately 75% of job opportunities in Australia are never advertised; instead, they are filled through personal networks. Set up a LinkedIn profile and explore who to connect with based on where they work, what they do or what they are interested in. Check out these top tips for building your student profile. Your networks will not be limited to your study and work; they may include your friends, family, social connections, sports teammates, fellow volunteers and more. Relationships are not built overnight, so it’s important to start connecting early.
  • Seek out mentors. Early in your university journey, look for peer mentors, and later in your degree engage with an industry mentor or career coach, e.g., through our Career Mentoring Program.
  • Join relevant student clubs and societies. UQ has over 220 affiliated clubs and societies with over 35,000 students taking advantage of the chance to learn new skills and connect with like-minded people.
  • Become a student member of a professional association. These organisations act as communities for professionals working in the same or similar fields, so are a great way to learn more about your profession, access opportunities and be a part of the conversation.

We look forward to seeing you on campus or online and can’t wait to support you on your journey towards achieving the career outcome you want.

students in a career skills workshop
Collaborating with other students in a 'Peers and Careers' workshop


Download a Careers Checklist

For domestic students (PDF, 63.7 KB)

For international students (PDF, 62.2 KB)