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- About Deakin
Bachelor of Arts majoring in women's studies and sociology.
Organisation that you are currently working for:
Directorate of Rights and Responsibilities, Fairness and Resolution Branch
Policy Officer - Indigenous and Gender, Office of Women
What was your first degree-relevant job and how long after you graduated did you secure this job? How easy/difficult was it to find work?
When I started studying I was a single mum working at a newsagency in a country town in Victoria. My aim was to get to the Office for Women and work in the policy area. From the newsagent job, I moved to Nowra, NSW, and worked at the Community Health Centre, in administration. Then I moved to Defence (still in Nowra), working as an Executive Assistant for the Commanding Officer. I continued to study and then moved to Canberra to pursue my goal. After working in a number of administrative positions in Canberra, in 2005 I was overjoyed at being successful in gaining a position as Policy Officer with the Office for Women. I was told by the recruiters that although I didn't have policy experience, my interest, skills gained from study and steady progress toward my degree assisted me greatly in being successful. In 2006 I then moved to Defence as a Policy Officer in Indigenous and Gender Issues, where I am currently working. I am supported in my studies here as my employer sees that it is relevant to my current and future roles in Defence.
What skills from your course were most valuable in getting and undertaking your job? What were employers looking for?
Writing, researching, analytical skills, strategic thinking, interviewing skills, understanding of the theoretical context in regard to the social world, and ability to meet deadlines. Employers look for people with broad skills in all areas. If you have the ability to write well and communicate well with others, you will go far. University has developed and honed my skills in many areas, and I would have to say that without them I would certainly not be in the job that I am in today. Employers don't care if you are doing anthropology, architecture, sociology, history or archaeology, as long as you can communicate, formulate and present ideas.
What advice would you offer current students in relation to graduate employment?
Hang in there. Do lots of different kinds of study such as research proposals, reports, interviews etc., as this shows the application of study skills to an employer. Apply to a range of different places, because the path leading to where you really want to be might be completely different to the direct path. Follow the opportunities, and don't be too worried about having the next two, five, or ten years mapped out. Enjoy the journey.