> Emotional intelligence
If you’ve decided to pursue a business career, seeking out career advice early on is a great way to set yourself up with productive habits. Maybe you are interested in finance or analytics or managing large teams. Perhaps you have an innovative streak and dream of starting your own business.
Whatever your career goals are, studying or further studying business will help you gain foundational skills to fulfil them. However, studying is only one part of the journey. You must also take advantage of the student support and career services available and any industry events or networking opportunities.
Here, we’ve gathered expert advice and handy go-to resources to answer some of your top questions about how to build a successful business career.
1. Do your research: business areas, majors and specialisations
2. Make the most of your school’s career services
4. Take advantage of Internships
5. Grow your professional network
6. Be strategic with your job application
7. Create a strong personal brand
Studying a Bachelor of Business or a postgraduate Business Administration course will allow you to cover various subjects to develop and progress in a managerial career. You will learn analytical, high-level problem-solving, and communication skills.
You will graduate with a firm understanding of different business environments and effective ways to approach, create and execute operational business plans. Gaining industry knowledge by reading industry journals or listening to relevant podcasts can also help you stand out in your chosen field.
Whether you choose a general course, a specific branch of business or an MBA specialisation, ultimately depends on your unique interests and how sure you are of your career trajectory.
Here’s a quick rundown of a few business areas and specialisations that you can pursue at Kaplan Business School:
Accountants provide individuals and organisations with information relating to financial performance. They help manage their finances, tax credits and obligations and give advice on compliance and record management. All this can contribute to effective internal and external decision-making for a business.
Business administration is suitable for students who want to pursue a degree in strategic management.
A specialisation is an opportunity to gain industry-specific skills within a particular business brand.
We offer eight specialisations in our Master of Business Administration course, which are:
1. Project management
2. Health services management
3. Tourism and hospitality leadership
4. Digital management
5. Data-driven leadership
7. Women in leadership
8. International leadership
Think you might benefit from two of these areas? You also have the option to study a dual specialisation enabling you to graduate with two specialisations without having to complete any extra subjects.
Business analytics refers to the scope of roles that involve reviewing and analysing business processes and using data to problem-solve and create efficiencies for a business or organisation.
KBS blog: Becoming a business analyst
Student story: Meet a career changer: Payal Gidwani
Information Technology is using computers to create, process, store, retrieve, and exchange all kinds of data and information.
KBS blog: Should I study an IT degree?
KBS blog: 5 types of IT jobs in demand in Australia
At Kaplan Business School, Careers Central provides valuable career services, including:
While gaining industry-specific technical knowledge (hard skills) is critical, it’s important to develop ‘soft’ skills that are in demand by employers.
Soft skills, such as cognitive ability, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills, are character traits that relate to how you work and operate in the workplace.
According to LinkedIn, the top three areas of missing soft skills for candidates today include:
It goes on to list more in-demand soft skills, including:
> Emotional intelligence
Why do soft skills matter?
For employers, these skills are important because they demonstrate the characteristics that you will bring to your role. They measure your ability to:
Tips for developing soft skills
If you’re studying at KBS, some subjects will have various soft skills incorporated as part of your curriculum. For example, studying an MBA you will complete topics such as 'Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence and Diversity', or ‘Innovation and Creativity in Business Analytics’, as part of a Master of Business Analytics.
Here are our 4 TOP TIPS to start developing soft skills:
Whether you’re changing careers or industries, moving into an area of specialisation, or wanting to transition into a managerial role, an Academic Internship can offer you real-life experience and various opportunities to build invaluable employability skills.
It’s not just for those new to the workforce, either. Whether you’re changing careers or industries, moving into an area of specialisation or wanting to transition into a managerial role, an internship can be your way to get your foot in the door.
The key benefits of undertaking an Academic Internship include:
All business career advice highlights the value of being able to make industry connections. To make this happen, you need to take the initiative to research and join relevant industry group events and build your confidence in promoting yourself.
Here are TOP TIPS on how to network effectively from Brazilian KBS alumni, Giselle Machado, who is now the Lead Developer for a global technology consultancy called Thoughtworks.
Access work experience and volunteering opportunities through the school’s careers service to meet industry professionals. Join industry networking events/forums via Meetups and Facebook groups.
Before attending an industry event:
People are open to listening to you. Be yourself. Do not focus on selling yourself but instead engage in a conversation genuinely and ask people questions.
Business networking shouldn’t finish when the event does. Your end game is to follow up with (and nurture) the new contacts you worked hard to make. Connecting with them on LinkedIn can be a great first step to kick-off future interactions.
KBS blog: Business networking in Australia
1. Perform a job breakdown
When you read a job advertisement you want to apply for, take the information and break it down into three headings, based on what the employer is looking for:
a. Personal attributes
c. Work experience
Doing this will help you draft your cover letter.
2. Write a tailored cover letter
A cover letter is a one-page letter that you include with your job application. This is your sales pitch that will market your credentials so it’s very important to make each word count. Your cover letter should be well-formatted and broken into paragraphs, with plenty of white space and no spelling or grammatical errors.
Read on the dos and don’ts and key tips for writing your cover letter.
You can download our free cover letter template.
3. Write a clear and concise resume
Keep your resume simple and professional, with lots of white space. Tailor your experience to the role you are applying for.
Read on the dos and don’ts and key tips for writing your resume.
You can download our free resume template.
4. Interview practice
During an interview, 33% of bosses say they know within 90 seconds whether they will hire that person or not (source: Classes and Careers).
1. Research and prepare – when you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Make sure you research the background of the company and find out what the culture is like. If you know people working for the company, contact them for advice.
Look at the position description before the interview so you know what skills and competencies they are looking for and think of different examples you can use to demonstrate them.
Be prepared with answers to common questions, for example, ‘Tell me about yourself.’
2. Use the STAR approach
This approach can help you structure your answers for situational questions (specific questions about how you handle a real-life scenario on a job). For example:
‘Tell me about a time you’ve shown leadership on a project?’ or
‘Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge at work and how you resolved it.’
Asking thoughtful questions shows that you are genuinely interested in the company and proves that you have done enough research to seek clarifications on parts that you are unsure about.
Download our free e-book ‘How to find a job in Australia: A-Z guide for students’
KBS Blog: Top 9 job interview tips for success
Your personal brand means being clear on what values and skills you have, and your future goals, so that employers can understand and perceive the value you can offer them.
Once you can define it, you can include your brand in your cover letters, resumes, social media profiles etc. You can talk about it at job interviews, or whenever you’re pitching yourself or your ideas to employers.
According to Seek, if you want to create a professional brand for yourself or you’re looking to refine it, you should consider:
Our TOP TIPS to create a strong brand on LinkedIn:
Student story: Melodie Vignaud on building an online network.
LinkedIn article: How do I create a good LinkedIn Profile?
KBS Blog: Lifelong learning: 4 benefits to help your career thrive.
Student Story: Wakako Kiba – a lifelong learner
Find out more about our free Careers Central service at Kaplan Business School.