Yesterday’s Careers Expo at the university drew a wealth of experience from Illawarra’s business community to discuss Illawarra’s working world and the challenges and opportunities for students and graduates expecting to enter. We grabbed some of the highlights to share with those who missed it:

It’s like a magnet

Those were the words of the Illawarra Business Chamber’s CEO Debra Murphy on the Illawarra’s career environment. She believes the Illawarra is perfect for offering a good work-life balance, and that ability to balance career and family is great for students and grads, but also means many people are moving to the Illawarra to do so. She says as our population ages we should also expect it to have a significant effect on the industrial landscape.

These are the qualities employers want

Presentation, experience, initiative and enthusiasm.

“The skills gap is leaving many graduates at a loss. No experience is a bad experience,” says Debra Murphy. She says entering the workforce for the first time can have graduates blossoming in a new environment or cracking under pressure, and for employers, graduates with practical experience and their university degree will have higher employability prospects than graduates with just a degree. Yes, it means doing that dreadful deed: internships.

Don’t make these mistakes

One of the biggest oversights graduates can make is leaving a poor impression on social media. NSW Ports Executive General Manager Dom Figliomeni addressed the need  to present yourself appropriately on the Internet – employers can and will research prospective employees: “If there is something not favourable to the employer you could risk missing out and compromising your career”.

Here are six more tips from the Illawarra Business Chamber’s CEO Debra Murphy, and Regional Development Australia Illawarra’s CEO Natalie Burroughs:

Words: Katarina Stefanovic
Video: Trent Thomas