Back when I was at university, I had no idea how the knowledge from my Psychology degree was going to help me get a job. I knew that I didn't want to go into a psychology-based career, but I was unsure what transferable skills I was developing from my degree; and how these skills could help me into employment after I graduated.
It was these problems that led my co-founder and I to develop Occumi . A tool that helps students identify and understand the transferable skills that they have developed from their educational qualifications and work experience.
Every Little Helps
At the end of the day, many of us go to university in order to improve our chances or eventually get a job after we graduate. However, with more and more young people choosing to study for degrees, it's more important than ever to get the most out of your university experience. Being a student offers you a great opportunity to develop skills that you have never had the opportunity to develop.
With the pace of change in the workplace making old jobs disappearing and creating brand new jobs that have never before existed, many employers are putting more focus on transferable skills.
But don't just take my word for it. Research has found that Employers are now putting a greater impetus on students showing that they have developed other skills while at university, related to skills that can be transferred realistically to the workplace (Donald et al. 2018). Furthermore, a report from multinational corporation Infosys (2016) went as far as to describe transferable skills as a 'universal priority'.
This desire for transferable skills makes it equally more important to make the most of your university experience. Aside from essays, exams, revision, and university nights out; there are loads of opportunities for students to get the most out of their time at university, many of which will allow you to develop and practice a range of transferable skills that employers will love.
There are so many things that you can get involved with at university that will help you stand out to employers.
- All societies, whether a sports team or a subject-based society need to be run by students. This means that there are opportunities in positions such as president, treasurer, secretary and even social secretary. Being able to land one of these positions will give you experience, in a number of sought after transferable skills such as organization and management. Furthermore, gaining one of these positions in a society will show employees that you are not afraid of taking responsibility, something that all employees value.
- Student ambassadors are often hired throughout the university to promote various departments or schemes being run by the university. For instance, often universities have a student ambassador to help make other students aware of the enterprise schemes within the uni. Becoming a student ambassador will mean having to communicate with a large number of students, and persuade themed to get involved with whatever you are promoting. These are skills that can be translated across most industries.
- I would urge any student to read this to consider getting involved in entrepreneurship while at university. Whatever your degree course, whether business related or not, most universities have competitions, and extracurricular enterprise schemes to help you develop your entrepreneurial skills. Not only can these activities be great for developing skills that employers are looking for, such as; creativity, teamwork, and problem solving, but in some cases, you may end up with a functioning business!
But wait ... there's more
Understandably, many students may look at the types of opportunities I mentioned in the list and think that they do not have time to commit to any of the above on top of the workload from their course among other things. But fear not, when it comes to developing skills that employers will value every little helps. Here are some more ideas that may not take as much time.
- If you are one of the thousands of students who have a part-time job to support your studies, great news ... you are developing a great set of transferable skills. Many students do not realize just how valuable the skills are developed from part-time work can be. Working part-time in a shop or bar, for instance, will you help develop a host of skills such as communication and conflict management.
- Many university courses offer modules in other disciplines. Exploring these modules is a great way to develop an additional set of skills that will help you to stand out from other students on your course. Dipping your toes into another subject area can help you develop a series of skills that are not commonly taught in your main course.
Being part of a society
- Even if you can't commit to a role or responsibility within a society, simply being involved with one can help you develop your skills. Whether it's a sports team, a subject society, or interest-based society, it's great to get involved. It shows an employer that you have active interests, which can be applied to the world of work.
Whatever you do during your time at university, make sure you make the most of it. If you want to know, university is expensive, so it's important to get as much out of it as possible!
Look out for Occumi at your university. Occumi helps students identify, understand and articulate the transferable skills that they have developed over the course of their education and work experience. Coming to universities 2019/20 academic year!
This article was written by Josh Clarke.
Donald W, Ashleigh M, Baruch Y. Students' perceptions of education and employability. Career Development International. 2018; 23 (5): 513-540
Infosys. Amplifying Human Potential: Education and Skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution [Internet]. 2016 p. 13. Available from: http://images.experienceinfosys.com/Web/Infosys/%7B8adf71d4-ce0c-48e1-829983e1d opportunity
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