Careers and Employability Centre

Writing about your skills

It's important that you can articulate your skills. Recruiters look for examples from your studies and work experience during the application and interview process

Identifying your skills

Start by reviewing the skills you’ve gained from volunteering or work experience. You can also use examples from your academic life.

Common skills include:

  • Communication - eg. presenting in seminars, writing essays
  • Interpersonal - eg. working with peers on presentations, mentoring
  • Self-management - eg. planning your time effectively, meeting deadlines
  • Planning and organising - eg. organising events for a society, planning an essay
  • Creative - eg. developing new ideas, designing and creating images or plans
  • Cognitive - eg. solving problems, observing and analysing information
  • Digital - eg. selecting and assessing appropriate information, protecting yourself online

See our skills list for more detailed examples and read Top 10 skills that will get you a job when you graduate.

Understanding and translating your skills

Once you have identified your skills, you need to show how you have used them. Think about where you developed particular skills and what you did.

Example for communication skills:

  • Wrote demanding essays at university and achieved a consistent 2.1
  • Compiled reports for a summer job as a business analyst intern and presented to the Board

Do a skills audit to review your skills and think about how you have demonstrated them. Use the finished audit to help you write applications and to assess whether you’re suited to a particular role or career.

Using your transferable skills

Just because you haven’t done a particular job before, it doesn't mean you aren't suitable for it. You may already have the transferrable skills required.

For example: You may have worked at the University bar during your studies and are now applying for a graduate role in HR. You will have gained interpersonal, communication, self-management, planning and organisational skills from working at the bar. These skills will also be useful in an HR role and you can use your work experience to show that you have them.

Developing your skills

You can develop your skills further through:

  • Work experience - eg. part-time job, internship
  • Volunteering - eg. working with particular client groups
  • Your academic life - eg. presenting, writing essays, using specialist software
  • Attending careers and study skills workshops
  • Joining a society, club or band
  • A personal hobby - eg. crafting, sports