Employability Essentials for Students


Employability Essentials for Students

Applying for a job

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Writing your job application

When you apply for a job, you will usually need to send a résumé and a cover letter.

In most cases, you should deliver a unique set of documents for every job application. A résumé and cover letter tailored to a specific position and company is more likely to be successful.

Improve your Employability by consulting our Career Consultants.

These employability tips take you through creating a professional application for employment or internship. It provides information on resumes, and cover letters.

  • Resume
    Learn how to create your resume using the sample. Click here to download.
  • Cover Letter
    Learn how to create your cover letter using the sample. Click here to download. Click here to download cover letter for internship purposes.

The quick tips also help you to prepare and perform your best at interview, and creating a LinkedIn profile.

You can also book a free appointment to undergo a more formal career assessment with our career consultant by email to Career Centre.

Career Management

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A career includes all the paid and unpaid work, learning and life roles you undertake throughout your life.

The term ‘Career’ was traditionally associated with paid employment and referred to a single occupation.

In today’s world of work the term ‘Career’ is a seen as a continuous process of learning and development.

A successful career allows you to try new and varied experiences, manages change and includes different paths than you originally planned.

Career is a major life investment and impacts on many aspects of your personal life including personal satisfaction, psychological wellbeing, financial stability and interpersonal relationships.

Career planning is important so that you can find a job which suits your personality, respects your values, is based around your interests and will not restrict your growth.

Therefore, you need to reflect on the types of work environments that you work well in and the tasks that you enjoy doing.

Career Management Step 1 – Self-Reflection and Self-Awareness

  • Clearly reflect your interests, values, skills, knowledge, needs, attitude, and preferences in enjoyable and satisfying career opportunities.

Career Management Step 2 – Research

  • Research different career paths and roles and consider:
    1. Key work tasks
    2. Qualifications / training / experience required
    3. Skill sets
    4. Values
    5. Employment prospects
    6. Pay and benefits
    7. Pathway and career development
    8. Lifestyle
    9. Good and bad side of the career
  • Network and conduct informational interviews
    1. Use professional associations’ and social networking sites such as LinkedIn to identify and network with professionals in careers you are exploring.
    2. Consider conducting informational interviews where you meet with industry professionals and ask questions about the realities of working in their industry, pathways and explore foot in the door opportunities such as volunteer work and work experience.

Career Management Step 3 – Make decisions

  • Some students find it useful to evaluate the costs and benefits of each career or study pathway and rank their options.
  • Be true to your own interests and passions but also seek help from family, friends, academics, employers and Swinburne Sarawak Employability team.
  • Adapt to change – make decisions, but reflect and adjust in response to changes in interest and your circumstances, as your knowledge and experience expand or employment trends change.

Career Management Step 4 – Develop a Career Action Plan

  • Plan realistic short- and long-term goals
  • Look at training and education options
  • Develop skills
  • Assign timeframe
  • Identify your supportive peers and family members
  • Regular review periods

Employability Roadmap

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The employability roadmap is a guide for your development, through each stage of your student life cycle. It suggests activities for you to plan your career and enhance your employability throughout your studies.

Use the steps below to create your own map along the road to developing employability skills. Consider how this employability roadmap can be best adapted to suit your needs.

Don’t attempt everything – take responsibility for your own career and make your employability roadmap work for you.

At the start of your journey, take time to reflect on your priorities. Ensure you have a balanced plan that enables you to study, work, socialise and above all, enjoy your Swinburne experience.

Step 1 | Orientation and transition into Swinburne

In the first few months of settling into study and life in Swinburne Sarawak, start developing your employability skill set. Learn about what employers want, determine priority areas for your development and start some career exploration.

To do:

  • Volunteer on or off campus, e.g. Student Life Volunteering Program
  • Join a Swinburne club
  • Work on your English language and employability skills
  • Get to know our Career Consultants at Employability unit
  • Visit our JobStreet Career Lounge at studentHQ
  • Participate in employability expert series.
  • Find a part time or casual job (during study break)

Tip: Study is important, but also focus on getting involved in activities that will make you feel part of the community. This will help you develop skills important to your long term career.

Step 2 | Transition through

Mid-course is time to increase your employability focus. Start to clarify your professional purpose. Explore your options and start to gain professional experience. Become aware of your strengths and areas for development. Put together an employability action plan. Keep working on developing the vital soft skills in demand by employers.

To do:

  • Participate in employability expert series
  • Participate in the Swinburne Emerging Leaders Program.
  • Join a professional association, attend events and get involved
  • Participate in professional projects
  • Network with professionals
  • Undertake an internship
  • Enter study related competitions
  • Get involved in on-campus professional projects
  • Explore your own small business
  • Get a part time, casual or contract job – generic or related to your studies
  • Take on a leadership role in a Swinburne club

Tip: Don’t wait until final year to focus on employability, it is an important part of your career journey. Active involvement now in a range of activities will enhance your career options.

Step 3 | Transition out

Moving toward the end of your studies is time to engage with employers, continue to build your skills and gain more industry experience. Ensure you have a professional job search kit including resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and work portfolio.

To do:

  • Complete a capstone project
  • Undertake an internship
  • Complete practical assignments using industry case studies
  • Undertake mock interviews
  • Find a professional mentor
  • Develop a professional resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and professional work portfolio
  • Join business groups and associations to expand your network and develop skills
  • Attend employability events.

Tip: Networking is a vital job search tool – make useful contacts while you study. Invest in some simple networking (business) cards to encourage those you meet to connect with you.

Step 4 | Transition onwards

Building your career and employability needs to be ongoing. Today’s careers will require constant adaptation to change and continual learning and growth. It is important to be proactive and keep reviewing your career plans.

To do:

  • Continue to attend employability events
  • Develop a clear career vision and job search plan for the next stage in your career
  • Become an active Swinburne alumni
  • Consider a professional year program
  • Continue to be active in your professional association
  • Join business groups and associations to expand your network
  • Keep working on professional and soft skill development
  • Focus on putting together tailored, quality job applications.

Tip: Your first job won’t be your last – keep thinking forward about the next step in your professional career. Research options, make contacts, give back to others and keep focused on your ongoing professional development.

Employability Skills

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Knowing How to Improve your Employability

Employers equally consider experience gained from skills polished from time invested in learning what it takes to prepare yourself career ready.

We invite you to take the first step by knowing how to use STAR through this guidance video.

Use STAR or Situation, Task, Action and Result to demonstrate employability skills by giving specific examples of how and where you have used these skills, or how you plan to develop them in the future.

Skills Employers Are Looking for

Employers value real-world professional experience, and look for employees who will fit in with the culture of their organisation.

In addition to the academic qualification you will receive through completing your course, employers value graduates who can demonstrate skills which can be developed through activities you undertake alongside your studies such as:

Ability to tackle unfamiliar problems (problem solving)

  • Ability to understand and accept change within a workplace e.g. creating a new process to effectively perform a task.
  • Ability to implement a process to solve a problem you have never been faced with.
  • Ability to analyse problems and find solutions.


  • Owning up to idea formulated and presenting it in a fair manner.
  • Approaching communication in a respectful way through active listening and focus on problem-solving.


  • Verbal – listening, understanding and speaking directly and clearly.
  • Written – reading, writing, understanding and interpreting information to meet your audience’s needs.
  • Interpersonal – connecting with people, working in a team and building rapport with others.


  • Formulation of solution to any challenges or problem.
  • Understanding the creative process to ensure most effective solution.

Critical Thinking

  • Identifying the problem and working towards a practical solution through trial-and-error, or a range of strategies.
  • Having creative ideas and using critical thinking to tackle unfamiliar or complex problems.

Cultural-Awareness and Cultural Fit

  • Understanding of the working culture suited for each industry.
  • Preparation towards being in the culture of a desired company or organisation that it operates in.

Data Literacy and IT Skills

  • Skilful in using computer software such as spread sheet, or office equipment like a photocopier.
  • Mastery in social media handle and basic design editing knowledge is an added advantage seen in current employment trend.


  • Laying out layers of processes in leading towards creation of solution, and this may exist in a process flow diagram.
  • Ability to scrutinise details laid out in presenting and idea or project.

Independent, initiating and proactive (self-directed)

  • Showing independence and being proactive in your approach to career and life
  • Adapting easily to new situations, change is not seen as a barrier, but as an opportunity for growth and development
  • Innovation and creativity to generate new ideas or alternative perspectives that may be useful in solving problems, improving communication, and entertaining or inspiring others.

Industry knowledge and learning

  • Willing to learn in any settings, in and out of University and on or off the job.
  • A lifelong commitment to learning and seeing the value in past experiences and recognising new opportunities to grow.
  • Being prepared to invest the time and effort to gain more knowledge and develop new skills.

Initiative and enterprise

  • Creating solutions to better improve any processes or work-scope.
  • Proactive approach to take on task without being asked.


  • Ability to influence others toward the achievement of a goal.
  • Making use of self-reflection to review your strengths and weaknesses and to set clear goals and responsibilities.
  • Knowledge and confidence in your own ideas and vision, and not being afraid to show leadership potential.

Planning and Organisational

  • Ability to develop work to be done and creating a timeline to accomplish any project.
  • Identifying and organising resources and knowing when to deploy such resources.

Research and analysis

  • Collecting and summarising data into a manageable form
  • Analysis to determine what happened and why it happened
  • Having proficient generic IT literacy to use digitally based technologies, systems and communications equipment
  • Understanding concepts and language associated with the digital world and the capacity to understand and work with emerging/accepted etiquette and risks associated with online environments.


  • Adapting positively to a situation despite facing adversity.
  • Coping with stress and adjusting to challenging circumstances.
  • Ability to rebound from stress in the face of challenge.

Strategic Planning

  • The ability to provide solution which gained maximum output with minimum input.
  • Identifying tasks to tackle from higher to lower level of priority.

Teamwork and collaboration

  • Working cooperatively and collaboratively with others in a group, to achieve a common goal or outcome.
  • Individuals or organisations working together to solve problems and achieve outcomes that are not easily or effectively achieved by working alone.

Time Management

  • Ability to structure how to utilise time effectively.
  • Prioritising tasks at hand to better manage amount of time spent for each project.

Be in contact with our Career Consultants (careercentre@swinburne.edu.my) to advance your knowledge to be a career-ready Swinburne Graduate.