Careers and Employability Centre

Building your skills and experience

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Build your skills and experience while you are at Sussex. You will gain transferable skills and it will help you with your career decision-making. You will develop many new skills from your course, but you can also look outside your degree. The Careers and Employability Centre advertises lots of part-time, vacation and summer internship opportunities throughout the year. And there is the chance to take a placement year as part of your course.

There are many other extra-curricular opportunities at Sussex, such as volunteering or getting involved with student societies. Having a broad range of experience can also help you when it comes to filling in application forms for graduate jobs and having interviews.

Skills from Your Degree

Here are some key skills developed on your degree and how to use them in applications and interviews. You may also be developing numeracy, problem solving, verbal communication, ethical awareness, teamwork and more. Skills may come directly from your degree or from extra-curricular activities while you are here. You can develop your study skills through a range of workshops, tutorials and online resources.

Use Skillclouds in Sussex Direct for a more detailed exploration of skills you are developing.

Being adaptable in changing circumstances, able to work competently and achieve goals despite upheavals. Accommodating other people's views or strategies.

You can evidence your teamwork through real examples from your degree. Think about all the things you do when you are not working on your course, too.

From your degree

Adapting your research when things have not gone according to plan, or when new research findings are published that have a bearing on your theories or results. Showing flexibility in accommodating other students' views, ideas or shortcomings during group tasks. Achieving your academic goals despite changes to your course structure or staffing.

Extra-curricular

If you are taking part in the Student Associate Scheme or the Sussex Plus Schools and Colleges scheme, perhaps you have demonstrated your flexibility in working with groups of students in a classroom setting. If you have a part-time job, have you examples of being flexible in your job? For example: when working with clients or the public, particularly if this involves customer service. when working with colleagues.

Action words for your CV

accepted, adapted, adjusted, advised, agreed, approved, arbitrated, arranged, attained, chaired, changed, communicated, developed, directed, discussed, enabled, expedited, explained, generated, guided, informed, initiated, listened, mediated, multi-tasked, negotiated, obtained, organised, persuaded, pioneered, prioritised, reconciled, resolved, restored, spoke, spearheaded, succeeded, understood, solved.

The ability to be self-disciplined and meet deadlines. Setting priorities for your university work, anticipating needs, setting and achieving targets for your academic development.

You can evidence your teamwork through real examples from your degree. Think about all the things you do when you are not working on your course, too.

From your degree

Working under pressure and meeting tight deadlines as well as team projects, practicals or fieldwork. Having to reorganise your work plans and take a new approach to make a project work. How you successfully planned and executed an individual piece of work.

Extra-curricular

You may be juggling part-time work or family commitments with your university course. How have you managed conflicting deadlines? Have your organised others in a sporting or work context, or through your volunteering work? How did you allocate tasks and ensure things happened on time? Describe a situation where things did not go according to plan on your placement or summer job and how you re-planned your strategies.

Action words for your CV

approved, arranged, catalogued, categorised, charted, classified coded, collected, compiled, corrected, corresponded, distributed, executed, filed, generated, incorporated, inspected, logged, maintained, monitored, obtained, operated, ordered, organised, planned, prepared, prioritised, processed, provided, purchased, recorded, registered, reserved, responded, reviewed, routed, scheduled, screened, standardised, submitted, supplied, systematised, updated, validated, verified.

The ability to put forward your ideas or research in a group setting, often using visual aids. Being an effective public speaker. Adapting your material to suit your audience. Explaining your points clearly and concisely. Making your presentation interesting and relevant.

You can evidence your teamwork through real examples from your degree. Think about all the things you do when you are not working on your course, too.

From your degree

Oral, audiovisual, electronic or poster presentations you have given in workshops or seminars. Lectures or sections of lectures that you have presented to other students. Formal or informal conference papers you have presented.

Extra-curricular

You may have given a presentation to staff or the public in your part-time or summer job, or to prospective students you were showing around the university. You may act in SUDS or another drama group. You may have given talks at meetings of groups in which you are involved.

Action words for your CV

acted, adapted, addressed, advertised, arranged, articulated, clarified communicated, composed, concluded, condensed, contacted, conveyed, convinced, debated, designed, developed, discussed, displayed, edited, elicited, encouraged, entertained, explained, expressed, formulated, illustrated, incorporated, influenced, integrated, interacted, interpreted, introduced, involved, lectured, listened, marketed, modified, negotiated, outlined, performed, persuaded, planned, presented, promoted, proposed, publicised, reconciled, researched, responded, revised, shaped, solicited, specified, synthesised, wrote.

The ability to express your thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in writing. Developing your argument and ideas in a logical way. Gathering, analysing and arranging data logically. Being able to summarise the content of your work succinctly. Adapting your writing style for different audiences.

You can evidence your teamwork through real examples from your degree. Think about all the things you do when you are not working on your course, too.

From your degree

Written work such as project proposals, assignments, surveys, research reports or a dissertation, including appropriate use of subject specific language. How did you summarise all your research to fit into your final piece of work? Give examples with grades received, and comments from your lecturers or peers about your work if appropriate.

Extra-curricular

Have you organised an event for which you needed to put together a written proposal to gain funding? Describe a written proposal, data collection and dissemination exercise or report you have completed for a part-time or summer job. Perhaps you have contributed to The Badger or Pulse at Sussex, or to another magazine or journal.

Action words for your CV

analysed, assessed, cited, clarified, compared, conducted, critiqued cross-referenced, determined, drafted, edited, emphasised, evaluated, examined, experimented, explained, explored, expressed, extracted, formulated, gathered, interpreted, interviewed, invented, listed, located, organised, persuaded, publicised, published, quoted, researched, reviewed, searched, surveyed, summarised, tested, translated, wrote.

Having the ability to work independently, using your own initiative to seek out new opportunities for learning and development.

You can evidence your teamwork through real examples from your degree. Think about all the things you do when you are not working on your course, too.

From your degree

Think about real examples of: planning and managing tasks; being creative in your research, identifying your own resources; undertaking extra research on a subject not previously studied in depth; proactively seeking feedback from peers and lecturers; reflecting on your own learning and constructive criticism.

Extra-curricular

hink about additional courses or training you may have done, like IT or language courses. Or part-time work or volunteering you have undertaken to gain experience and build new skills. Have you put on events as part of a student society?

Action words for your CV

analysed, appraised, assessed, attained, consolidated, co-ordinated, created, decided, developed, directed, established, evaluated, executed, generated, implemented, improved, increased, initiated, judged, led, managed, mentored, motivated, offered, organised, originated, planned, prioritised, produced, questioned, reassessed, recommended, reflected on, reorganised, replaced, scheduled, searched, set up, suggested, supervised, surpassed, took responsibility for, voiced, volunteered

The ability to relate well to others, and work successfully with them in a team or as their leader. Negotiating with others. Managing and leading people. Being open to ideas that are different from your own. Networking and maintaining contact with people of relevance to your degree.

You can evidence your teamwork through real examples from your degree. Think about all the things you do when you are not working on your course, too.

From your degree

You may have used negotiation skills and diplomacy as part of a team. Recognised how your studies have helped you to acknowledge the validity of different points of view. Managing others during group work or field work. Delegated tasks or shared responsibility on group tasks. Encouraged and supported others.

Extra-curricular

If you supervise others in your paid employment, you will have examples of negotiating with them over their duties or details of their performance. If you do any structured or informal counselling through your volunteering or employment, you will have dealt in a sensitive, caring way with clients or other staff.

Action words for your CV

accommodated, adjusted, advised, agreed, allocated, arranged, assisted, consulted, contributed, cooperated, counselled, directed, discussed, enlisted, facilitated, guided, influenced, initiated, inspired, managed, mediated, modified, motivated, negotiated, networked, organised, persuaded, provided, questioned, reconciled, represented, respected, supervised, valued.

See Also

  • Skills typically developed at Sussex [PDF 92.05KB] - Having a clear idea about the skills you have developed at Sussex will help you find work that suits you. It will also help with your CV and at interviews. Think about how you have demonstrated these skills in different areas of your life, too
  • Why Study Geography? - includes a useful overvew of skills developed on a geography degree, from Royal Geographical Society