What skills does University really teach you?

University skills

In December 2013, the Annual Graduate Survey conducted by Graduate Careers Australia showed a slight decrease in the short-term employment prospects of new University graduates. Granted, the success of a newly minted University graduate depends on a many number of variables, including the degree undertaken and the demand in the qualifying area. But, it can also depend on the individual and their ability to capitalise on and package the newly acquired degree skills with the bonus personal skills picked up along the way.

If you find yourself  thinking about writing your professional resume, either to seek an internship or snag your first full time position, one thing has probably crossed your mind –  ‘what on earth can I offer a potential employer that I couldn’t before I started?’ This was exactly how I felt when I was about to graduate University with a non-descript Bachelor of Arts. I was overwhelmed with the fear I had just wasted three years of my life doing the wrong degree, and in retrospect I had. However, I was determined to make that wrong degree  work for me so I decided to focus on selling the skills I had picked up at University – without even realising it.
So, no matter what degree you undertake at tertiary level, these are the transferable skills you may not realise you have when you graduate.

Time Management & Juggling Deadlines:

There’s a lot to be said for juggling four units in one semester. Couple it with socialising, going to see bands and working part time and what you probably don’t realise is you are now the proud owner of superior time management skills that enables you to prioritise, schedule and juggle deadlines.

Team Work:

Group work might be the bane of your University life, but they really do give you great insight in how to work with a vast array of personalities and cultures. Which is exactly what you will face in your working life, a lot.

Report Writing:

Understanding how to craft a report and writing it in an easy to follow, understandable format is an underrated skill that some senior business people do not possess. Sell it and use it when you land the job.

Research:

Assignments, essay writing and case study analysis are the bread and butter of most University assessments and the up side of this is that it teaches you research skills. These types of assessment tasks fundamentally present you with a problem and ask you to solve it, to do this well you must do you research. Trust me when I say, this skill is absolutely invaluable in the work place.

Take time when crafting your first resume. List all the skills you think you have picked up along the way and assess them against the desirable skills listed for the career you are after – then select the one’s to highlight.

I landed my first ‘proper’ full time job with the answer to one question:

Future boss: ‘What did you learn at University?’

Me: ‘Time management skills and how to meet a deadline’

When I was told I was successful with my application the feedback specifically stated quite simply, that answer landed me the job.

 

Image Credits: City College of San Fransisco

About Zena Churchill

Zena Churchill is a Director at Max & Buddy Consulting. She has worked in senior level business roles across national and multinational corporations, as well as being a small business owner. Zena is a strategic thinker and brings a practical, straight-forward approach to marketing and social media. She has a passion for training & development running practical business workshops for small business. Zena is a Certified Practising Marketer (AMI), sometimes tutors in Marketing at the University of Wollongong and is a Senior Consultant with Trinity P3.

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