March 14, 2017, by Carla

How to Identify Employability Skills in Your University Life

By Charlotte May, Direct Bookings Coordinator, Unitemps Nottingham

There are opportunities everywhere to gain employability skills, and the reality is you often acquire them without even realising it. At university, the skills you gain are implicit within your studies and engagement with university life. So how, when applying for jobs or undertaking any self-reflective exercise, do you explicitly identify just what these skills are?

Employability skills are embedded within the work that you do every day at university. Articulating these skills during interviews and applications is the tricky bit. Remember that your module convenors, lecturers and tutors design the material they deliver with you in mind. In fact, universities are increasingly encouraged and held to account for ensuring that their students can thrive successfully in the world of work, both during and after their studies.

So what employability skills do you learn – and demonstrate – during your time here?

Becoming awesome at admin

You may not feel as though you are an administrator. However, think practically about what you do on a daily basis. You organise your schedule, prepare for seminars and lab demonstrations, and write up ideas and reviews of what you have learned.

Just think about it. Taking accurate yet succinct notes, listening to ideas, recording ideas, and compiling information are integral parts of what it is to be a student, and also what it is to be a successful administrator.

Essay writing essentials

Your PhD thesis, your dissertation, and even your mid-term essay are examples of inquiry-led research. Shaping your hypothesis and using evidence-based techniques to work through complex intellectual ideas is the basis for most of your coursework. When it comes to careers involving project-management, there is simply no better experience than having undertaken your own independent research.

That essay you wrote about Shakespeare might not seem like the perfect fit to prove your interest in a management position, but it might be your ticket to a top job. If you can successfully articulate the process of compiling your work and take account of the variables which made your research challenging, it’s a great example to demonstrate your workload management and prioritisation skills.

Handling feedback like a professional

Taking on board feedback and critically applying it is a huge part of being a student. It can also be the most frightening. However, being able to take on that feedback and apply it successfully is a crucial skill.

When you receive verbal feedback, remain calm, listen intently, and ask appropriate questions. This will help you to digest the information. Similarly, those ‘suggestions’ or ‘next steps’ on your written feedback form are crucial.

The very reason your tutors write this information is so that you can apply it to your future essays. They want you to receive even better marks next time. Think about how you can use this feedback when writing applications and attending interviews too. Feedback often considers how you have structured your work or your writing style, which you will use when both applying for and undertaking future work.

Extra-curricular? Extra employable

Companies and workplaces thrive from dynamic and diverse work forces. Stating your extra-curricular activities on your CV gives you a unique identity, and is a brilliant ice-breaker for employers to ask you about during an interview. Furthermore, the extra-curricular events you participate in really do hone your employability skills.

Do you belong to a society? Event management is crucial to the very survival of a society. Marketing your society to attract new members, organising that end of year of ball or just running and attending weekly meetings, contributes to your skills as an organiser.

Looking for further information on what employability skills are, and how they are integrated into your studies? Book an appointment with one our team. Make your experiences work for you during the application process so that employers can understand just how well you will thrive in their work environment.  

Posted in Applying For JobsCareers AdviceInterviewsWork experience