Written By: Mariam (Subcommittee)
Exclusively for WIB.
Most of us have already experienced or are currently going through that pivotal peak of uncertainty and utter frustration in which we want to hit pause. For some of us, we may share the same frustration like securing an internship or graduate position at a top-tier company or deciding on a degree that’s right for us.
The truth is, we are expected to make decisions fast, have a clear sense of direction and attain a good position to sustain satisfaction and stability. Whatever the frustration is, there is always a way to turn a situation around and convert it into a fulfilling experience.
As for me, during my first year at university, I was completely lost. No sense of direction, no clear goals and I struggled to find something I was passionate about. By the end of the year, I became frustrated, hopeless and confused. But instead of dwelling on my situation at the time, I took the opportunity during the summer break to evaluate my short-term and long-term goals in hope to redirect my focus.
So what did I do? The following ten habits are the exact approaches I took and have found and continue to find helpful in guiding a clear pathway to a prosperous future and fulfilling experience.
- Setting realistic goals!
Goals are classified into two categories: short-term goals and long-term goals. Often we find ourselves setting a particular outcome we want to happen rather than setting the short-term goals, which will lead to achieving your long-term expected result. The best way to set goals that are realistic and achievable is to set your short-term goals that can be reached within six months to three years while it can take three to six years to reach long-term goals. It is also important to remember to frequently keep track of your goals and adding new ones, once you’ve attained a goal.
- Take the Self-awareness test
Essentially, self-awareness is a significant attribute of emotional intelligence, and skill to develop for both your career and personal life. Although developing self-awareness can be achieved in many different forms, I’ve personally taken a simpler approach by doing some online self-awareness tests. I’ve found that UTS Careers provide an extensive range of online career assessments that provide a detailed analysis of individual motivations, preferences and values which can help you become more self-aware. The evaluation includes but is not limited to, assessing one’s motivation at work, personal resilience, management skills and emotional control.
I’ve found that by doing a self-awareness test every few months, I can identify my key strengths and, understanding and overcoming my weaknesses. It is essential that you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, it is a common question asked during interviews.
- Invest your time on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has become the primary platform for recruiters to advertise job roles and seek potential candidates. I’d suggest ensuring that your LinkedIn account is frequently updated, remain active with your networks by following up or checking in and aim to post articles, or industry-related posts.
- Get a mentor
Signing up for the Women in Business (WiB) mentoring program in 2016 was the best decision I ever made! I was lucky enough to have an incredible mentor who shaped me into the person I am today. Mentors are there to share their invaluable perspectives and advice on university life, securing an internship/graduate job, tips for preparing for an interview and so on. I’ve had a positive and fulfilling experience with my mentor especially being able to overcome many of the weaknesses I had.
- Join a society
WiB were the first society I signed up for, and it was the only community I felt strongly connected to. It is essential that you join a society where their values and mission are aligned with your own. The WiB team inspired me and continued to do as they strive for equality in all areas of business. I then applied for the subcommittee role, and I’m in love with all the work I’m involved with especially the opportunities and new networks that come with it. I strongly recommend being part of a club, as it is also an excellent way to meet and interact with new people who you share a common interest with.
- Attend networking events
Attending networking events is a perfect place to strengthen your communication skills or confidence. It is also a great place to speak face-to-face with industry representatives and gain guidance for your prospective career path.
For me, my mentor advised me that the best way to become more confident was to attend networking events on a regular basis and aim to interact with as many people while participating in meaningful conversations.
- Always seek new opportunities
Don’t be afraid to explore new possibilities! Whether it be a volunteer role, an internship or becoming a society leader, always take the chance to take on new opportunities. Most likely you’ll find that taking new opportunities may lead to finding a new passion and creating new networks. Even if the prospect doesn’t turn out as hoped, ensure that you take what you can from that experience and learn from it.
I never thought I’d have an internship at Showpo (online fashion clothing store). By attending networking events, university workshops and interning at a not-for-profit organization, I realized my passion lies within the fashion industry and becoming an entrepreneur. By seeking a new opportunity and applying for Showpo, I’m finally able to do what I’m passionate about while working in an entrepreneurial space filled with ambitious and creative women.
- Seek ongoing development
It is significant that you seek development opportunities. You’ll find that university provides the best platforms for student development. I’ve recently been involved in the Young Achievement Australia program (currently known as the Junior Achievement program), and now I am currently participating in the UTS Hatchery entrepreneurial program. Both these programs have helped me develop and enhance my skills which are crucial to having a successful career.
- Surround yourself with good vibes
Eliminate negative energy!! Avoid being in an environment with negative people and energy. You want to surround yourself with like-minded individuals, and those who share a common interest, goal or career path. By changing your environment, you will notice you’ll have a lot more support, and it becomes less challenging to achieve your goals which will help you remain a lot more optimistic about the future.
- Whatever you do, do it for you!
My final advice for anyone is always to seek to do things for YOU. Don’t follow the crowd, or feel like you need to secure an internship at a top-tier firm because everyone else is. This is your career, and it is important to do what you love and what your passionate about. At the end of the day it comes down to what makes you happy, so never sacrifice that for anyone or anything!