Work backwards to find the right degree to get you the career you want, or find out what careers different degrees could lead to.
Know your mind
Making good decisions about your future starts with knowing yourself. Think about your skills, your interests and the values that are important to you. There are excellent interactive tools and resources available through Careers New Zealand that can get you started thinking broadly about careers that might suit you.
Thinking about degrees and careers
Choosing your degree and courses can be complicated. You'lll have a lot of questions and it's not a one size fits all approach.
Everyone is different—some people study a degree to help them get a particular job, while others want to keep their options open and study something they are fascinated with.
There’s no right way to approach this decision; make sure to choose subjects and courses that you’re really interested in and excited to spend time on—you’ll always do better at what you enjoy. If you haven’t worked out what you want to study yet, there are many different ways to get started.
If you know what job or career you want, try working backwards to find the right degree to get you there. If you don’t, then you can go the other way and find out what careers different degrees could lead you to.
Places to start
- Look at the potential careers information for each degree.
- Look at the career information under your subject.
- Watch the video for some suggestions for what to think about.
Explore the world of work
Once you have made a list of your interests, skills and values, start exploring the types of jobs that might suit you. Talk to people you know about their jobs and experiences. It’s also important to find out about the job opportunities for the careers you are considering.
You might have many jobs and even careers over your lifetime. Your university degree is the beginning of that journey. A university education at Victoria University of Wellington will provide you with a solid foundation on which to build your career path.
You will have opportunities to change direction and enjoy further education and training along the way. Use your new experiences, interests and skills to create your own career as you move through life.
What employers want
Employers look for enthusiasm and passion as well as good grades. They hire graduates who are able to explain why they chose their particular course of study and why they enjoyed it. Some careers, such as an architect or lawyer, demand a specific degree, but, increasingly, well-developed transferable skills and the ability to adapt are seen as important assets for today’s workplace. Successful people have a flexible outlook and take advantage of opportunities. Some careers will require you to have done postgraduate study.
The right attitude to life, study and work is what gives you the competitive edge when applying for jobs.
The statistics show that our graduates are employed in a wide variety of sectors. In 30 percent of vacancies advertised, employers did not specify any particular degree or subject area. There was strong demand for graduates across all disciplines.
|Subject||Employer demand percentage|
Humanities and social sciences
Any degree considered
Percentages do not total 100 percent as in some cases more than one type of degree was requested.
Careers and employment
The Careers and Employment team help current students explore career ideas, and the career implications of subject choices, as well as details of specific jobs, employers and postgraduate courses. It is run by experienced professional careers staff (all advisers are members of the Career Development Association of New Zealand).
Careers and Employment runs workshops and seminars on a wide range of career topics, including CV writing and interview preparation. Students can get access to a comprehensive library and internet resources.
CareerQuest is an online career guidance programme developed by Careers New Zealand for use by anyone exploring or planning their career. It is free to use and can be accessed via the Careers New Zealand website.
You can answer questions about your interests, and learn a bit about yourself. You may discover new jobs that you might not have thought about, or that you didn’t know even existed. You can also see which jobs matched your answers and find jobs based on your interests.
Usefully for your planning process, you can compare jobs—find out which one pays more, or what study is needed for each.
Other tools available on the Careers New Zealand website include:
View all Careers New Zealand interactive tools.