Build your employability

The most employable students and graduates have built a collection of experiences that demonstrate those essential workplace skills that build on the knowledge and skills of their degree. Employers look for key skills and personal attributes as an indicator that you are work ready and will thrive in their organisation.

Employability skills are transferable and can be taken from one work situation to another, which means you gain them through a range of experiences – both inside and outside the classroom. Discover more about these skills at our Career Essentials site.

You can also build your employability through existing life experiences and part-time work that is not directly related to your study. Gaining workplace experience, volunteering and spending time to plan your career is a great way to build your employability.

What do you value in your current role? What is your typical style of interaction? What characteristics do you display and how are you perceived in the workplace? Whether you are beginning your career, have many years of experience or are unsure of your career direction, reflecting on your motivations, preferences, values and working style can be useful when considering your current role and desired career path.

Our Career Assessments take 10-15 minutes each to complete. At the end of each assessment you can access your personal report, with practical, tailored, recommendations to apply to the workplace.

Career planning is not just about finding a job, it helps you determine your career direction and the steps you need to take. It is a journey that you will repeat several times throughout your life, so it’s a good idea to start planning from your first year of university.

Spend time building awareness of your strengths and weaknesses, and consider the range of jobs to which this would suit you. Spend time setting goals – these can be short term or far reaching – then put a plan of action into place.

A model for career planning


Self-awareness is about working out what motivates you and understanding your personal style.  Consider the range of interests, values and skills that you already have – they are part of your personal style and are an important indicator of the type of career that will allow you to feel satisfied and engaged with work.

Opportunity awareness

Opportunity awareness is about researching the employment market available to you. Your personal circumstances influence where and how you are able to work, as will trends in the labour market, typical degree-related career option, and the requirements of graduate recruiters. Time spent considering the world of work will help you make better plans.

Decision making and planning for career action

Decision making and planning for career action will happen regularly throughout your career. Contemplate and compare your options, write a priorities list, discuss your plans with family, friends or Careers, then consider the best course of action. Remember, you don’t have to have your entire future mapped, you are deciding what is right for you now and how to achieve that goal.

Implementing plans

Implementing plans by taking action can include enrolling in courses, joining in extra-curricular activities, applying for work or simply asking for support. If you would like to discuss your career plan, drop in to see the Careers Service.

Clubs and societies are a chance to be part of something fun, social, and rewarding, where you can make new friends, and stay active and social, all while you study.

Being a part of a club or society can also help enhance employability skills while you build a better campus experience for everyone. Get involved in the executive, or simply join up and contribute where you can.

The University has a large number of clubs and societies focused on interests that include, academic, sporting, cultural and artistic pursuits.

The iLEAD Plus Program is an experiential three-stage program designed to connect students with local, national and international networks. The aim of iLEAD Plus is to accelerate professional development and future career readiness.

Open to all students, it combines practical workshops, interactive online learning, personal mentorship, professional placement, and a range of global opportunities. Each stage has been designed to equip, test and demonstrate the skills and experiences that students will need to be effective and globally aware leaders of tomorrow.

Want to experience learning and working in another culture and gain insight into the world around you? The University offers a range of international development opportunities that are designed to add a global perspective to your career plan, as well as equip you with a unique skillset that can differentiate you in the world of work.

Study abroad

Studying overseas is an excellent opportunity to experience another culture and develop a global outlook on the position and future of your profession. The University facilitates international academic short courses, internships and placements, and semester exchanges within programs. Find out how to add this experience to your time studying by visiting the ‘Study overseas’ page.

New Colombo Plan

The New Colombo Plan is an initiative of the Australian Government which aims to enhance understanding of the Indo Pacific. Scholarships are awarded that support Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

For more information and to check your eligibility for this program, check out our New Colombo Plan information website.

Ma & Morley Scholarships

Want to change the world? Apply for the University of Newcastle’s Ma & Morley Scholarship program, which is aimed at educating and inspiring the next generation of globally aware and socially conscious Australian leaders. This unique program offers a range of scholarship opportunities for both new and continuing students. Find out more by checking the website.

Volunteering is a great way of giving back to your community, meeting new people, following your passions and enjoying new experiences. It has been found to improve health and happiness by encouraging a sense of belonging, and is an excellent opportunity to build employability skills.

Volunteering on campus

The University has an active community of volunteers on campus that contribute to a range of activities, including lunchtime BBQs, English language courses for overseas students, campus festivals, our community gardens, and so much more. The program is a great place to make friends, become involved with your University and learn new skills.

Sign up to volunteer

Volunteering in the community

CareerHub promotes a range of volunteering activities in the community.

Work experience

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.