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February 16, 2021, by Benedict Watson

How To Use Your Studies To Demonstrate Skills in an Application

Benedict Watson – Student Blogger

Work experience is often mentioned in advice about applications. This can be very frustrating, as often it may feel that you need work experience in order to get work experience in the form of spring weeks and summer internships.

While work experience is useful, internships and graduate roles CAN be secured without it! This post will show how to use your studies to demonstrate key skills that are often asked about in interviews or application forms. These are teamwork, resilience, creativity and leadership skills.


Many courses involve group essays or group presentations. This is a great experience to talk about on an application form. How did you ensure that everyone in the group contributed? Were there any issues in the team dynamic that needed to be resolved? Make sure that when talking about team projects in an application, use ‘I’ rather than ‘we’ because the application reviewer is interested in what you did, rather than what your team did.


Was there a time when you fell behind on your work, perhaps due to illness or part-time work, but then worked hard to get back up to speed? Or maybe you received a bad mark on one of your submissions, but then you learnt from the feedback and ended the year on a much better mark? These are great examples of showing resilience to recover from tough positions to succeed, a trait which employers value greatly.


Showing creativity skills may be easier in more practical courses such as architecture and product design, but creativity can definitely also be shown in more essay-based and numerical courses. Any instances where you come up with ideas displays creative skills. Was there a time in your economics course where you had to think of a new government policy idea? Or a time where you approached a problem in an innovative way to find the answer in your maths course? These are all great examples of creative skills.


Many courses involve delivering presentations in front of the rest of the seminar group. This displays public speaking skills, a key component in a good leader. Other components of a good leader include organisational skills and compassion. Did you organise study sessions for your course friends? Or did you support your course friend when they were struggling with work? These experiences can all be linked to leadership in an application.

So now you know that there’s no need to panic if you have no work experience – you can use your studies to display key skills in an application.

If you’re looking to develop your skills, take a look at magpie, our online learning platform. It will identify resources based on the skills you want to develop.

Also take a look at our work experience pages for the range of opportunities open to you including our online work experience page that highlights online courses to develop your skills. And, of course, don’t forget about our employability award, the Nottingham Advantage Award. 

Posted in Applying For JobsInterviewsStudent BloggersWork experience