I was recently asked to help proof read some of our career view publications. One section was particularly hard to proof – the graduate profiles. Far from error ridden, this section was coherently and interestingly written in the graduates’ own words. I found it difficult to not get pulled into their experiences rather than view them as constructs of spelling, punctuation, capitalisation etc.

What these experiences highlighted for me was that the path from study to work often contains unexpected opportunities which are sometimes provided or better grasped due to skills gained in supporting subjects; that is, subjects which hold a personal interest but which are considered less viable as a career option.

In the words of one of these graduates – Sam Daish (Strategic Planning Manager, National Bank of New Zealand) from the Classics Career View

Doing something at university that you’re interested in has the great advantage that you don’t spend three or four years of your life being bored. I think that not being bored has a lot going for it. Particularly when it comes to learning… I believe that having done something you enjoy gives you a definite edge in the job market. Employers love someone whose eyes light up when they talk about what they’ve done. They like to be able to see what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.

Another graduate, Mamari Stephens (a Law Clerk with Russell McVeagh) had this to say.

My advice would be to find a way to study what you love, whether that’s Etruscan artwork or Jamaican reggae. You may have to combine fulfilling that love with doing other things to survive, but don’t let mere survival keep you from what you love .

While both these graduates studied in the areas they now work in they also followed what they love and found the skills they learnt in those areas gave them an edge in interviews.

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