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Figuring out what you can do

You already have some skills employers are looking for - you just need to show them off

When applying for any opportunity, such as placements, jobs or further study, it's important to understand and explain the skills you have and how you can contribute.

Identifying your skills can be a straightforward process. This guide will help you assess what skills and supporting evidence you have and what skills you might be missing or need to improve.

Identifying your skills

A good way to identify your skills is to use our key skills audit (PDF). It helps you compare your skills against those in a job description and gives you a handy reference to see examples of your skills in action.

It's useful to keep an ongoing record of your skills and evidence. This makes it easy to make changes, update records and select evidence to suit specific applications.

Matching your skills to job roles

Employers look for different skills. Many roles require specific qualifications, experience and knowledge. Find out more by taking a look at our career guides.

If you're applying for a specific role, put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. Analyse the objectives, roles and tasks and identify the criteria for a successful candidate. List all the skills, qualifications and experience required and compare it with your current portfolio of skills.

You'll also need to demonstrate that you have transferable skills and general competencies (which are the abilities to do certain things). TargetJobs has advice to help you understand the different skills and competencies graduate employers expect and tips on how to develop them and show your abilities.

Key skills

You use different skills in everything you do at work and in your studies. Even a relatively simple activity like presenting a report at a meeting involves using a range of competencies at once.

Skills often wanted by recruiters

  • Teamwork
  • Communication in speech and text
  • Negotiating
  • Networking
  • Presenting information
  • Overcoming objections

  • Being proactive
  • Taking a lead
  • Generating ideas
  • Innovation
  • Analysis
  • Research

  • Commercial awareness (understanding business context)
  • Customer/client service
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Understanding business etiquette

  • Use of specific software
  • Use of hardware
  • Creation of a portfolio, website or showreel
  • Working on live projects
  • Relevant work or volunteering experience

Your personal qualities

As well as specific skills or competencies, other qualities are important for success in work, entrepreneurship or further study.

Personal qualities that recruiters generally look for

  • Motivation
  • Tenacity to complete tasks
  • Use of initiatives
  • Dealing with criticism
  • Overcoming weaknesses
  • Bouncing back after disappointment
  • Perseverance (not giving up when faced with difficulties)

Developing your skills

To enhance your employability or learn new skills, the University has teamed up with LinkedIn Learning, an online course website. As a student, you get free access to the whole library, and you'll keep this access for 5 months after you graduate.

Use LinkedIn Learning to improve your skills, learn a new skill or just get some tips about a new hobby. Log in using your University login details.

Our recommended courses

Below are our recommended courses to get you developing your skills.

Our recommended courses

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