Your university degree will play a big part in helping you get a job; but it is possible to add more skills to your
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Your university experience offers a lot more than the degree certificate you end up with – in fact, it teaches a number of soft skills that will be valuable to you long after you graduate.
When you’re on the hunt for graduate jobs (and especially if you don’t have a lot of work experience), the range of experiences and skills gained at university will help you to stand out in what is an increasingly competitive pool of candidates.
And once you’ve actually landed a graduate job, many of the transferrable skills that you learnt outside of your degree will continue to offer value – now, and as you progress in your career.
You'll no doubt remember the nerves you experienced on your first day at university. It might not have felt like it then, but if it was your first time living away from home, paying rent, or even managing your own time, you were learning a valuable life lesson – how to be independent. This is something that will come in handy in any job, when you’ll be required to use your own initiative and work autonomously on different projects and tasks.
Although we always advocate asking questions during your first few weeks of your job, (and never being afraid to ask for help!), demonstrating the ability to work alone will show your new employer that you are confident in your work, and that you will ultimately add value to their company. Moving forward, being able to work independently will prepare you for more responsibilities, and possible managerial positions in the future.
It’s often claimed that college and sixth form students are spoon-fed – and it’s true that many students will notice a big jump when they make the move to university. Unlike at school, where it will have been compulsory for you to attend classes and your homework will have been closely monitored, at university you’ll have learnt to self-discipline – to attend your lectures, complete assignments on time, and to cook, clean and take care of yourself.
In all graduate jobs, the ability to motivate yourself to complete tasks will prove useful – because when no-one constantly pushes you to do well, it’s important to exercise self-discipline every day.
University forces you to manage your time effectively - especially if you’ve juggled a part-time job, participated in societies or played a competitive sport on top of your degree.
Whatever graduate job you end up doing, time management skills gained at university will be valuable – as when you’re given many different responsibilities, the ability to prioritise and balance various projects and time frames will be key to your success.
Remember those group projects you resented so much at uni? As stressful as co-ordinating a group might have been, they will have taught you an invaluable skill – teamwork.
Learning to listen to others, articulate your ideas, and work collaboratively towards a common goal are all values that will be useful in many different work situations – whether its working with others on a particular project, or liaising with customers or clients.
If you ever didn’t do as well as you expected on an assignment you’ll probably remember feeling deflated and demotivated. But this will have taught you a very valuable skill – the ability to take constructive criticism and use it to better yourself.
Being able to take feedback on board, rather than letting it demotivate you, is a great skill to have, whichever sectors or graduate jobs you work in throughout your career.
Throughout university, you’ll have had to communicate with a range of people - whether it be through flat shares, group projects, class presentations, or involvement in university societies. You’ll have learnt how to communicate with different kinds of people, and articulate your ideas in a way that can be clearly understood by everyone.
Learning how to converse with many different kinds of people you come into contact with will stand you in great stead at a graduate job – where your communication skills will be put to the test when you speak to colleagues, clients and customers.
When you meet different people at university, there will be many you naturally click with, and some you don’t. If you lived in university accommodation in your first year you won’t have had a choice about who you lived with – equally, if you were ever put in groups for a class project, the likelihood is that there was people you didn’t see eye-to-eye with.
University will have taught you to resolve conflicts effectively and remain civil – something that will equip you to deal with difficult people in the workplace. Learning to resolve conflicts and express your points clearly and directly at university will help you to maintain professionalism in your new graduate job.
Besides the skills gained from university degree, you’ll have gained a number of highly transferrable skills from your university experience. As you embark upon your graduate career path, these are all skills that will be valuable in your day-to-day work - now, and in the future.
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