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 to add to your graduate CV), 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.
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7 Skills University Teaches You
1. Independence ⭐
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.
2. Self-motivation 💪
It’s often said 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.
You have to take it upon yourself 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.
So, if you can add to your CV that you’ve gained self-motivation skills from your university degree, you’ll be making yourself more employable.
3. Time management ⏳
When asked the question ‘What do you learn in university?’, many student would answer with ‘Time management’.
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.
For many different graduate jobs, 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.
If you’ve balanced other things alongside your degree, you could also add time management to your skills gained from work experience.
4. Teamwork 🤘
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.
This is something you can utilise in many different graduate jobs.
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 it’s working with others on a particular project, or liaising with customers or clients.
Adding to your list of work experience skills gained, teamwork is something that will be valuable to every employer!
5. Taking criticism 💬
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.
6. Communication 📢
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.
7. Resolving conflicts 😮
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 were 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 – and you can add these to your graduate CV.
As you embark upon your graduate career path and look for graduate jobs, these are all skills that will be valuable in your day-to-day work – now, and in the future.
Find more career advice on our Careers Advice Blog – or check out the latest Graduate Jobs!