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February 27, 2024, by aayjr12

Beyond the books: discovering transferable skills developed outside of academia

By Josephine Ruffles, Politics and American Studies student

Often there is a misconception that you only learn from your degree during university. This blog uncovers some of the skills you learn outside of your studies, that you can apply during an application process.

Time management

This might seem like an obvious skill to develop but it is definitely not easy to acquire. Managing your time at university, for me, has gotten harder over the years, especially as the workload has increased. A key way to help with time management is creating a weekly planner, this could be a Microsoft Outlook calendar or a diary,  this helps me to visualise what needs to be done and sets clear deadlines. Then, I add in my co-curricular timetable, whether that’s sports or society events so that I can understand when I have spare time for anything else. It’s important to have good time management at university so that you’re able to juggle all aspects, and this is representative of life after university too! When applying for jobs, an employer might ask you to provide an example of when you have demonstrated good time management skills, so it’s important to keep this up.

Verbal communication

Verbal communication might not seem like the first skill that comes to mind when thinking of what you learn outside of academia but living with new flatmates and in a new environment strongly develops this skill. Having great verbal communication skills allows you to navigate tricky situations both during university and in your career. It involves the art of listening, speaking with confidence and empathy. This is an important skill to convey in interviews and within companies with your colleagues and managers. If you’re struggling with what to include on your CV, this is a really good filler to add in and explain how vital it will be for the job you are applying for.

Financial budgeting

Budgeting at university is increasingly difficult with the rising prices of rent and bills, alongside the cost of living. So, understanding how to budget is extremely important. This is also a really important skill to have developed by the time you graduate and start to get your first paycheck. Although you wouldn’t conventionally put this on your CV, it is a skill you will take with you throughout life. How I have coped with budgeting to the level university requires, is planning by month. Whether its student loan or your own job salary, it’s important to put the money required for rent and bills aside early on to know how much disposable income you have. Although the overdraft is necessary some months or continuously for a difficult period, it’s important to try your hardest to stay out of it, as it’s much easier to stay in it.

Other skills you learn outside of studies that you learn at university and can speak on in interviews or are just useful to have in later life are:

  • Independence
  • Prioritisation
  • Being dynamic
  • Innovation

Visit our CVs page on the Careers and Employability Service website and see how you can implement the skills you have learnt throughout your time at university. Do you want feedback on your CV? Make a CV appointment today or attend a CV workshop.

Posted in Applying For JobsCVs and Cover Letters