Preparing for work

Career planning is an essential part of preparing for work and finding a job. You can find our online careers toolkit in Learning Hub. It has many helpful resources, including:

  • resume builder
  • career assessment
  • interview skills and practice
  • self-development.

Good strategies to plan your career include:

  • self-assessment - considering your skills, interests and what you value in a job
  • researching available jobs, industries and employment trends
  • making decisions and setting career goals.

Job hunting: Do your research!

Before you start looking for work, it's important to do your research. We've listed some common questions to get you started:

  • employment market - what are the growth industries employing in your field? Which organisations seem to be hiring regularly?
  • industry you’re interested in - what’s the latest news and gossip? Which organisations are the key players?
  • companies you would like to work for - which companies are growing? Which have a culture or mission that appeals?

You can find answers to these questions and more from:

  • organisation websites
  • annual reports
  • professional associations.

Jobs for VU students

Log in to Learning Hub for the latest job ads specifically targeting VU students.

Non-advertised opportunities

It is estimated that 80% of jobs are never advertised, so it is essential to explore as many options as possible and develop your own strategies. These could include:

  • networking
  • direct application (when there is no advertisement).


Many jobs are never advertised - they’re filled through word of mouth, internal recruitment and direct applications to employers. This is known as the "hidden job market".

Networks can play an important part in job hunting and the ongoing development of your career. Your network might include:

  • friends & family
  • acquaintances from recreation activities
  • workmates and employers from part-time jobs, work experience or volunteering
  • members of associations, clubs and community groups
  • people you meet at career or industry events
  • students and staff from VU.

Professional associations are particularly useful.

Professional associations

There is a professional association representing most industries and occupations - sometimes more than one. They perform many functions, including:

  • promoting and providing professional and career development activities
  • providing a forum for networking
  • promoting the profession in the community
  • providing career information to prospective students
  • assisting graduates with career planning and job seeking
  • producing regular newsletters or journals
  • maintaining a professional library for members.

We strongly recommend you join a professional association and get involved. Student membership is usually offered at a reduced rate. Being a member means you can:

  • develop networks with professionals already working in your chosen field
  • increase your knowledge of the profession and industry you’re interested in, which will help you to decide if it’s really for you
  • develop skills through participation in professional development activities.

Graduate Careers Australia has produced a great list of Industry Contacts and Professional Associations across multiple industries.

Graduate & career-transition programs

Graduate programs

Graduate programs are:

  • specially designed for graduates
  • usually last 1 to 3 years
  • offered by organisations with an interest in developing and training graduates for management roles.

Successful applicants work in various areas of the business, in blocks of time known as 'rotations', to foster a better understanding of how the whole organisation works.

The application process can be quite competitive, as graduate programs are in high demand. Applications open begin early in the year around February to April for positions starting in the following year.

Specific information about graduate programs can usually be found on employer websites, including application open and closing dates, and eligibility requirements. Positions are generally advertised online.

Job-ready program: Talent Connect

Students in their final semester can join VU's Talent Connect program.

You'll develop job-search and networking skills through a combination of:

  • career coaching
  • recruitment masterclasses
  • industry mentoring.

Advice for applicants in their final year

Final Year students, who are applying for graduate programs that start the following year, can get advice on preparing their online and written applications.

Take part in VU's Talent Connect program for help preparing your resume, applying for jobs, and making connections in your industry.

Need more help?

Pick up a copy of Graduate Opportunities or the Unigrad guide from the careers office on your campus.

Know your rights

Employees in Victoria (and Australia) have certain rights in the workplace. These include the right to:

  • basic rates of pay and casual loading
  • hours of work
  • annual leave
  • personal/carer’s and compassionate leave
  • unpaid parental leave.

Sadly, some employers don’t recognise your basic rights as a worker. The websites below have detailed information about your rights and who to contact if you think they are being breached.


Jobwatch is an employment rights legal centre which provides assistance to Victorian workers about their rights at work. This includes issues such as unfair dismissal, ending your employment, harassment, wages, exploitation and other work-related issues.

Fair Work Ombudsman

Call a Fair Work Adviser on 13 13 94 or visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Fair Work Commission

If you are covered by the federal workplace relations system, visit Fair Work Commission website to find information on your current wages and conditions.

Additional resources

Check out these websites for more information about self-assessment, job titles, industry profiles, graduate salary information and employment rates: