How to enhance your employability while you're at university


As the global job market becomes increasingly mobile and competitive, university graduates need to do even more to stand out from the crowd. Employers expect graduates to not only have the knowledge and skills that they have gained through their degree studies, but also the personal qualities that guide workplace performance.

At The University of Queensland (UQ), we are committed to preparing students to become adaptable, critical thinkers, with the ability to reflect on and learn from their experiences. Our dedicated UQ Employability team offers training, resources, and structured opportunities for students to make the most of their time as a student, and gain a competitive edge before they enter the workforce. The UQ Careers Service team were awarded the Most Popular Careers Service in Australia award by the Australian Association of Graduate Employers. The UQ Faculty of Business, Economics and Law won a prestigious 2016 Australian Financial Review Higher Education Award for enhancing employability.

What is employability?

Employability is more than just getting a job. Employability means having the skills and mindset to successfully gain, create and maintain work, making you able to perform effectively within a work environment. Having these skills allows you to secure a job, manage your career and adapt to new work situations, and make a powerful, positive impact through your work.

Student and mentor sit at table at lakeside cafe during mentoring session.
Mentoring session at St Lucia campus

So how do you enhance your employability?

At UQ, we believe it’s never too early to start planning your career. Here are our top tips to set yourself up for success:

  1. Get global experiences
    Global experiences help you develop independence, maturity and other important life skills that enhance your professional and personal life.
    UQ has agreements with 200+ universities in 41 countries around the world and has a generous scholarship program for students going on exchange.

  2. Gain practical skills through internships
    Internships allow you to gain a competitive edge in the job market, building your interpersonal skills and exposing you to a new professional network.
    Many UQ faculties offer course-based internship programs, and the UQ StudentHub lists a range of opportunities online which students can apply for.

  3. Volunteer
    Volunteering is an ideal way to build your skills and extend your professional and personal network while contributing to a worthy cause.
    UQ can assist you to access unique opportunities at UQ, with organisations in Australia and worldwide. Plus, you can apply to be a UQ Volunteer or even represent UQ at events.
    Every volunteering experience widens the range of experiences and knowledge that might just be what your employer is looking for.

  4. Find a mentor
    UQ offers a number of mentoring programs that provide valuable leadership and guidance through all stages of your time at UQ and beyond.
    From supporting new students in the transition to uni life to fostering positive cultural, social and professional connections, there’s sure to be a mentoring community to support and inspire you.

  5. Get research experience
    In our knowledge-based global economy, in-demand skills include the ability to think and reason critically, develop innovative ideas, analyse data and clearly explain results.
    UQ coordinates a range of programs which enable you to build these skills through early research experience, so you can test drive research even as an undergraduate student.

  6. Reflect, and learn from your experiences
    Just having an experience is not enough to develop your employability. You need to reflect on these experiences to understand what skills and attributes you drew on, and how you can use them again to best effect in a work context.
    UQ has created a structured process of self-reflection (SEAL process) which steps you through your experience and helps you to identify the skills and attributes that you have developed.

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