5 Career Personas… What Career Stage Are You In?

Posted April 1, 2019, by Elesha

What career persona are you? Whether you’ve just landed your first job, returning to work after a sabbatical, ready to step into leadership or somewhere in between, we’re all at different stages in our journey.

Let’s take a look at 5 different career personas, success tips for each one and see where you may sit.

Career Starter

You’re brand new to the workforce, a graduate or still trying to land your very first job. Getting started in your career is an exciting and important time!

Every successful person started out somewhere. The job you begin with might not be your lifelong career but the key is to get your break into the workforce and maximise every opportunity in your early roles.

Create Your Career Action Plan

If you’re a ‘career starter’, it’s a smart idea to set some mid-term (3-6 month) and long-term (6-18 month) professional goals for yourself.

These goals form your career action plan and are a key part of successful career progression. Remember, for each goal you should come up with the steps you need to take to get you there, including relevant professional development. If you don’t know where to get started on your career action plan, reach out to a career counsellor for guidance. 

Get Your Resume Sorted

We’ve got a few tips for making writing your first resume less daunting! Highlight any experience you’ve had in volunteer roles, internships or clubs and the skills you learnt that will apply to the workforce. Check out resume and cover letter templates for inspiration and where possible, incorporate the keywords and phrases into your resume from job ads you’re interested in. 

Landed The Job? Take On New Opportunities

Congrats! You’ve landed your first job! Squeeze all the experience out of the role you can by raising your hand to volunteer for any opportunity that comes up. Get involved in that new project, attend those seminars, meet new people and get involved in extracurricular activities with your team.

New challenges will open doors to areas of the industry you might not have realised existed.

Career Starter

Career Upskiller

After working in your industry for a couple of years, you’ve decided it’s the right career path for you and now you’re keen to get some formal qualifications.

Upskilling is the smart way to take your career up a notch, prevent a career plateau and make a good impression with your employer.

Upskilling shows you’re dedicated to moving forward in your industry and create the stepping stones to take you to the next level.

If the ‘upskiller’ career persona sounds like you, here are a few tips for getting ahead.

Invest In Your Professional Development

Formal qualifications to boost your experience and CV credibility.

Investing in your professional development doesn’t always mean you’ll need to foot the bill yourself. Here’s how to ask your boss to pay for your course or you can research government study loans you may be eligible for.

Know Your Niche

Successful upskilling isn’t just about completing any old course or padding your CV with training workshops. Identify the right type of professional development for you and get clear on how it fits with your career goals.

Check out job descriptions in your industry for the type of role you’re aiming for and note the qualifications employers are seeking.

Based on the Australian Qualifications Framework there are 10 qualification levels from Certificate I (Level 1) through to a Doctoral Degree (Level 10).

Choose The Right Study Mode

Professional development, whether it’s a one day workshop or an MBA, is a commitment of time and money so you want to make sure you choose not only the right course but the right study mode too.

An online course is great if you need to fit study in around a busy schedule but you need a fair amount of self-discipline to keep yourself on track when you’re managing your own study time.

Maybe interactive learning is more your style, engaging with your fellow students and the instructor about course material. This type of learning includes workshops, face-to-face courses and seminars.

Career Shifter

Change is in the air. The shift isn’t just about a new job at a different company; you’re ready to embark on a totally new career in a completely different industry.  A bold, exciting move! 

If you feel like your career persona is a ‘career shifter’, there are a few ways you can make the transition to your new industry as smooth as possible.

Get Help From A Career Coach

A great career coach can help you navigate the steps to take you from where you are now to where you want to be. Your career coach will come up with new perspectives in relation to your career which you might not have considered. They’ll help you identify your strengths, training you may need to open up new opportunities and your transferable skills.

Identify Transferable Skills

‘Transferable skills’ are the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired through your current role that can be applied to various jobs across different industries.

The key to shifting industries is to get clear on the transferable skills you have to offer.  This provides a good starting point for your job search and determining your suitability for the new industry you’re interested in.

Keep An Eye On The Job Market

You’re up for a change but you’re not quite sure where you’re headed next. Taking the leap from office management to HR seems like a smart move, but you’ve always thought event management could be your thing too.

Check out job boards for vacancies in the industries you’re considering.  Are there particular roles that seem to be in demand? How might your current skill set fit the requirements of these positions?

If your career persona is a Career Shifter, craft a few versions of your current CV to fit these position descriptions with your transferable skills using the same keywords in the job ad.

Career Accelerator

Moving on up. It’s your time to shine and you’ve set a goal to step up into a leadership role.

You’ve got more than five years experience under your belt and feel committed to your organisation. Even if you feel ready, transitioning to a management role might not be as easy as you think so it’s time to get your strategy in place to accelerate your career.

Talk To Your Boss

You might be excited to take the next step but does your boss know about your leadership ambitions?

Book in time to have a chat about your career goal to advance and ask for feedback on how your plans might align with the organisational structure. Ask them for input and put their advice into practice.

Act Like A Leader

Now your boss knows about your ambitions, volunteer to head up smaller projects or take on some managerial tasks. Putting your hand up for more responsibility and doing what it takes to get things done is the best way to demonstrate your commitment and put yourself in line for a management position.

Find A Mentor

Don’t underestimate the role a great mentor can play in your career success. A mentor is someone who has already reached the leadership roles you’ve got your eye on and can teach you a lot about the skills and mindset it takes to get there. 

A real mentor will provide you with honest feedback about the skills you need to hone and suggest management training courses to make your mark in a leadership role.

Career Upskiller

Career Returner

Career breaks. Sometimes they’re carefully planned like maternity leave or a travel sabbatical but other times they come unexpectedly, like taking time out to care for a sick loved one.

This career persona is all about getting back into the workforce after months or even years. You might be feeling a little overwhelmed about getting back into it and feel like your skills may have become a little dusty in your time away from the workforce.

Don’t panic, landing a dream role after a career break is totally possible.

Take A Refresher Course

If you’re worried your skills aren’t up to date, dive in a take a refresher course to put you back on top. Social media, for example, moves at lightning speed so if you’re a marketing manager who’s returning to work after a few years, you may want to brush up on your digital marketing knowledge.

It freshens up your CV, shows potential employers you’re invested in your professional development and of course, will give your confidence a great boost knowing you’ve got your groove back. 

Work On Your Online Presence

LinkedIn provides a wealth of virtual networking opportunities to reach out to both old and new contacts and let them know you’re open to new opportunities. If your career persona is a ‘career returner’, spend some time updating both your LinkedIn profile and CV. Be sure to account for the period you’ve been away from the workforce but keep it concise.

Get Over Interview Nerves

Interviews can be nerve-racking. Especially if you haven’t had one in years. When you do land the interview, get super prepared before the date. Spend time on the company website, write down at least 3 questions to ask, role play interview questions and answers … the list goes on. 

What Is Your Career Persona?

Which career persona do you identify most with? No matter where your are on your career journey, we’ve got the right tips, resources and expert advice to help you get to where you want to be.


Academy Xi
ACBI (Australian College of Business Intelligence)
AIBI Higher Education
AIM Business School
ALC Training
Australasian College of Health and Wellness
Australian College of Physical Education
Australian Institute of Business
Australian Institute of Management Education and Training
Australian Institute of Personal Trainers
Billy Blue College of Design
Builders Academy Australia
Building and Construction Training Australia
Celtic Training
CG Spectrum
Collaboration Learning
College for Adult Learning
Demi International
Ducere Global Business School
Ella Bache College
Endeavour College of Natural Health
Foundation Education
Gateway Training Academy
GROW Training Group
Hader Institute of Education
Hammond Institute
Health Courses Australia
Industry Skills Training
Insight Training
James Cook University Online
La Trobe University
Lumify Learn
MCI Institute
Melbourne City Institute of Education
Melbourne College of Further Education
Monarch Institute
Monash College Future Skills
National Business Institute of Australia
Nepean Industry Edge Training
Onfit Training College
Open Colleges
Original Campus
Outsource Institute
Parker Brent
Pet Stylist Academy
Phillips Institute
Plenty Training
RMIT Online
Sero Institute
Serve It Up
The Hotel School
The Institute of Applied Psychology
Torrens University Australia
University of Adelaide
University of the Sunshine Coast
UNSW Online
UTS Online
Victoria University Online
Torrens University Australia
Torrens University Australia
University of East London
Southern Cross University