Professional Purpose program

Professional Purpose graphic

Learn to build a career that’s meaningful to you.

Become that person who springs out of bed every morning, charged with energy for the workday. Have a job that doesn’t feel like a job, because you’re adding value to the world and being recognised for it. Nurture a network of colleagues and mentors you also call friends. How’s that for a life goal?

Well, this tool will set you on the path to it. Swinburne’s Professional Purpose program runs alongside your bachelor degree and functions like a life and career planner. Its objective – to help you make the most of your university experiences and set yourself up for the sort of meaningful success others can only dream of.

How do I get started?

Just log in to Canvas with your student ID.

Tell me more.

What is Professional Purpose?

It’s a program that helps you align your study and career choices to your interests. It’s a compass that will keep your career on the right path to accomplishing your mission (with ‘mission’ being a fancy way of describing the things that resonate with you). It’s also a mindset that will help you nimbly navigate the world of work as it keeps evolving, and remind you to make choices that are true to you and the type of impact you want to make in the world.

Why is having professional purpose important?

Well, that’s kind of like asking Why are road signs important? Sure, you could graduate, knock on random doors, then take the first job offer that comes with a decent-ish wad of cash (nothing wrong with that), but at some point in the gig, you’ll start asking yourself, What do I want out of my career? Does this job make me happy? Where do I go next? Is this it??? (We’ve been there ourselves.) So, to avert the potential of a quarter life meltdown, we think it’s a good idea to start figuring out your guiding principles early, when the stakes aren’t as high and you have lots of time and space to find out what feels right, and what doesn’t. Hint – while you’re still at uni.

I have no idea what my purpose is. Does that matter?

Nope. In fact, that’s exactly why we created the Professional Purpose program. Whether you’ve known your calling since time immemorial, or openly admit to being a lost soul (or are somewhere in between), the program’s designed to kickstart and advance your self-discovery.

How will I know that I’ve found my professional purpose?

You’ll know you’ve nailed your professional purpose when you have a deeper understanding of yourself and your values. Also, when you feel clear about what you want to achieve and the sort of difference you want to bring to the world. And finally, when you gain knowledge of the professions that align with your purpose. Sounds a bit deep (it is) and mystical (it’s not … all you need is the motivation to know yourself).

Who is eligible to take part in Swinburne’s Professional Purpose program?

If you’re starting a bachelor degree in Semester 1, 2020 or later, and are studying on campus, then you’re in! The program is in its trial phase and we’ll be making improvements based on feedback we receive from our pilot cohort (those lucky ducks joining Swinburne in Semester 1, 2020).

Will this program be available to second year degree students? Those doing diplomas, certificates or postgrad study? And what about alumni and staff?

Not at the moment. But keep watching this space as we iterate and improve as we go.

What will I get out of Swinburne’s Professional Purpose program?

Greater awareness of who you are, so you can pick study and career opportunities that you believe in. The confidence to build your professional network. Insight into the world of work. A fluid and resilient approach to change. The list goes on. End result – a university experience that is unique; that you’ll look back on as the best years of your life!

What’s involved in Swinburne’s Professional Purpose program?

The program is designed to complement your academic units and work experience activities. It consists of online components and a workshop portion. The online bits are a self-paced series of quizzes, questionnaires and activities that help you crystallise your values, while the workshops* help you reflect on what you truly love and extrapolate a career blueprint based on your interests.

How is it structured? There are three stages in total, corresponding to each year of your degree. Each stage consists of three modules; two are completed online via Canvas, and the third is a workshop. Unlike the units in your course, there’s no grading involved. The work you do in the program is personal and confidential. Whether you share your discoveries (or not) is completely up to you.

* We highly recommend that you choose to do workshops in-person, but we understand that life can get hectic, which is why we also offer these as online webinars.

What’s Canvas and how do I access it?

It’s an online learning platform that lets you access study materials, watch your lectures and most importantly, find the Professional Purpose program. Current students can log on right here.

Is this something that could go on my CV?

Well, that’s up to you! Even if you don’t explicitly namedrop the program, following its recommendations will likely result in a high calibre CV that speaks for itself. (You’ll strategically be filling it with work experience, volunteer positions, professional bodies and clubs that align to your goals.) In the process, you’ll also be making important industry contacts and building that oh-so-important network!

Will this help me get a job?

Nope, this certainly won’t get you any run-of-the-mill job. This will help you truly know yourself, understand what you’re passionate about (and leave room for if/when this changes), create an action plan for pursuing said passion and have a professionally and personally fulfilling career!

What if I change my mind about what I want to do at university?

Tragedy. (Just kidding.) Change is about the only constant in life, so it makes sense that people change their minds about what they’re interested in. It’s a good thing … it means that you’re growing as a person. If, while going through the Professional Purpose program, you discover that your values have changed, and you want to adjust your course of study, get in touch with a student adviser for specific next steps.

Luckily, many of our degrees are built to be flexible, so you can change majors (or degrees) partway through. Some of our courses (like the Bachelor of Engineering), have a common first year, so you won’t even need to declare a major till second year. 

I’m in. What now? Who do I speak to? How do I get started?

Congrats for making the leap! Let the Canvas modules step you through your next actions. If you have questions, get in touch with a career consultant here or email