Kylie: How a mentor can help you through a career change

USQ blogger KylieKylie completed a Bachelor of Social Science degree (Behavioural Science) and is working towards a career change from travel agent to either disaster preparedness or recovery… or maybe both!


After working in the same industry for almost 20 years as a travel agent, I felt stale. I wanted to expand my knowledge base, learn new things (I hadn't even done a PowerPoint presentation until I started uni!) and contribute to society.

I found out about USQ’s Career Mentoring Program after speaking with the Careers & Employability Team. It was fascinating to find out about jobs that weren't around when I first left high school, and this inspired me to explore several different study and career options based on my interests, skills and passions.

It has been my experience that once you become an adult, you are expected to know what to do with your life. After making decisions for myself and other people during most of my adult life, it was a wonderful feeling to have people guide me through the steps associated with a career change.

I was incredibly lucky that through the Career Mentoring Program I found a mentor in the disaster management field I was interested in. My mentor was interested to hear what I was studying, what ideas I had about my new career and how he might be able to help me decide whether it was really for me. It was fantastic to have somebody outside of my family take an interest in my new career goals!

My mentor and I were able to meet at his office most weeks and, on a few occasions, he took me to meetings with his colleagues. This allowed me to hear a slightly different view of the industry than I would from uni classes, expand my network and gave me a good indication as to whether it was really what I wanted to do. These informal meetings also allowed me the opportunity to ask lots of questions and find out all sorts of ‘insider’ information about the industry and jobs I might not be able to find out otherwise. Sometimes, I didn't even know what to ask, as everything was so different to what I had known in the past. Luckily, my mentor was able to guide our chat sessions so I didn't feel overwhelmed

In addition to being a source of incredibly helpful information, my mentor also became a key source of support during the mentorship. For example, when I had uni assignments due, my mentor would send me encouraging emails to help me stay focused.

I can't speak highly enough of USQ’s Career Mentoring Program. Being able to see how the industry I'm interested in really works, being able to speak with people working in different roles within the industry (after being introduced to them by my mentor) and having a person who, I feel, genuinely wants me to succeed at uni and beyond, are all tremendous benefits of the program and have helped me become more confident in my decision to pursue a career in this field.

If you’d like more information about USQ’s Career Mentoring Program or other ways USQ can help support and develop your career, please contact the Careers & Employability Team.


Related:

Gavin: From Corporal to carer: my natural career progression

Michelle: Industry changes like the tide; don’t get stuck without a paddle

Daria: How I engineered a great work opportunity