Careers and Employability Centre

Building your skills and experience

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 flexibility, critical thinking, presentation skills, research, written communication 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.

The ability to analyse an issue and to determine the best course of action as a solution to the problem. This may involve: identifying the key elements of the problem; defining the problem; analysing the problem; generating possible solutions; analysing and evaluating the solutions; planning your next course of action.

You can evidence your analysis and problem solving 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

Instances when you have summarised key issues from your research or lectures and presented this. Coursework, projects or laboratory work when you have formulated and tested hypotheses. Problem-based learning, exercises or experiments where you have been tasked, as an individual or a group, with solving a problem.

Extra-curricular

In paid or voluntary work, have you been given a problem or issue to resolve by your managers? Are you involved in sport? have you overcome a problem in your training, or a team issue that has emerged? Perhaps you have sorted out an issue in your personal life that took some organisation to solve, and is suitable to disclose to an employer.

Action words for your CV

analysed, assessed, audited, calculated, challenged, clarified, collected, compared, concluded, conducted, consulted, decided, described, detected, determined, developed, diagnosed, discerned, discovered, discussed, documented, edited, evaluated, examined, experimented, explored, extracted, formulated, gathered, identified, interpreted, invented, investigated, listened, located, measured, organised, presented, prioritised, proved, queried, questioned, realised, researched, reviewed, searched, solved, summarised, surveyed, tested, traced

The ability to think outside the box, examining, evaluating and acting on information gathered. Developing your own ideas about perceived wisdom, and finding your own innovative solutions to issues.

You can evidence your independent thinkng 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

Analysing and debating topical and controversial issues such as stem cell research. Forming evidenced conclusions from your own research and experiments. Finding an innovative solution to an issue such as: a group project where your team was not working successfully together results of your laboratory experiments making you question your original suppositions and theories.

Extra-curricular

In paid or voluntary work, you may have come up with a suggestion to enhance the work of your team which was taken on board by the organisation. If you are part of a sports team, have you analysed your performance and found solutions to improve your results? If you have travelled for an extended period of time, did you experience difficulties for which you found solutions?

Action words for your CV

adapted, analysed, argued, assessed, calculated, clarified compared, considered, critiqued, debated, decided, developed, derived, discussed, evaluated, evidenced, examined, formulated, identified, informed, interpreted, investigated, measured, organised, reconciled, researched, reviewed, searched, solved, specified, summarised, synthesised, tested, thought, validated

The ability to conduct, observe, measure and record documented laboratory procedures involved in analytical work with due regard to health and safety issues.

You can evidence your laboratory skills through real examples from your degree.

From your degree

Laboratory exercises or experiments where you have: safely handled chemicals and biological materials, taking into account their physical and chemical properties including any specific hazards associated with their use and conducted risk assessments; accurately measured and recorded results of experiments; used evidence from your work of solving numerical problems and use of error analysis; presented your results clearly and concisely in the form a laboratory report.

Action words for your CV

adapted, adopted, aggregated, analysed, applied, assembled, assessed, collated, completed, computed, concluded, conducted, constructed, converted, co-ordinated, decided, deduced, designed, determined, developed, engineered, experimented, explained, generated, integrated, interpreted, investigated, located, measured, monitored, observed, operated, organised, planned, presented, printed, published, recognised, recorded, rectified, reported, researched, solved, standardised, studied, summarised, synthesised, undertook, utilised

Analysing and interpreting your research and its results, often using technological tools to assist you. Using mathematical and quantitative analysis, solving numerical problems and error analysis. Preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data using statistical programs and spreadsheets.

You can evidence your numeracy and data analysis 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

Coursework, projects or laboratory experiments where you have: evidence of using numerate concepts and arguments when solving problems; used statistical or computational tools to analyse and interpret your research and its results, and to solve scientific problems, including error analysis.

Extra-curricular

Analysing data using spreadsheets or statistical models in your paid employment or voluntary work. Fundraising or acting as treasurer for a USSU society or other group in your free time. This will have given you knowledge and experience of dealing with budgets, financial accounts, spreadsheets and databases.

Action words for your CV

acquired, adjusted, allocated, analysed, assessed, audited, balanced, budgeted, calculated, collected, computed, concluded, corrected, determined, developed, diagnosed, entered, estimated, experimented, forecasted, maintained, managed, mapped, measured, organised, overhauled, planned, predicted, prepared, printed, processed, programmed, projected, reconciled, rectified, reported, researched, retrieved, searched, solved, sought, summarised, surveyed, theorised, utilised, wrote

The ability to express your thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in words. Expressing your argument and ideas in a logical and coherent way. Using questioning techniques in order to elicit information or to seek clarification. Adapting your style for different audiences.

You can evidence your verbal communication 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 or electronic presentations you have given in lectures or workshops, for example an individual or group presentation of project work. Participation in group work tasks, clearly presenting your ideas and taking on board the ideas of others. Discussion and debate between peers and lecturers.

Extra-curricular

You may have given a presentation in your part-time or summer job, or shown prospective students around the university. Are you involved in Sussex University Drama Society or debating societies, or University Radio Falmer? Examples where you have had to persuade people - for example, to fund a charity event, or to adapt and improve working practices at your place of work.

Action words for your CV

acknowledged, addressed, advertised, arbitrated, arranged, articulated, challenged, clarified, collaborated, communicated, composed, conferred, consulted, contributed, conveyed, convinced, debated, defined, developed, directed, discussed, drafted, edited, elicited, enlisted, explained, expressed, formulated, influenced, interacted, interpreted, interviewed, involved, joined, judged, lectured, listened, marketed, mediated, moderated, negotiated, outlined, participated, persuaded, presented, proposed, publicised, questioned, reconciled, reinforced, reported, resolved, responded, solicited, specified, spoke, suggested, summarised, synthesised, translated, wrote

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. 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

Identified your own goals and the goals of the team, used negotiation skills and diplomacy, while recognising and respecting the views of other team members. Evaluated your performance and results as an individual and as a team member, and the overall performance of the team. Managing others during project or laboratory work.

Extra-curricular

You may be team captain for a particular sport, play in a band, or have organised a charity event on campus with some other students. How did you motivate and lead the others? What was the result? Are you part of a team in a Student Mentoring project, part-time or summer job, or a Sports Team? What role do you play? How does the team work together? If you supervise others in your paid employment, you will have examples of negotiating with them over their duties or details of their performance.

Action words for your CV

accommodated, administered, advised, agreed, allocated, analysed, arranged, articulated, assigned, assisted, attained, chaired, collaborated, communicated, confronted, coordinated, consolidated, consulted, contracted, contributed, cooperated, co-ordinated, counselled, delegated, demonstrated, developed, directed, discussed, encouraged, enlisted, evaluated, executed, explained, facilitated, guided, influenced, implemented, improved, increased, initiated, inspired, instructed, interpreted, led, listened, managed, mediated, mentored, modified, motivated, negotiated, networked, organised, participated, persuaded, planned, predicted, presented, prioritised, produced, provided, recommended, reconciled, represented, resolved, respected, reviewed, supervised, supported, summarised, valued, volunteered

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
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  • Search for jobs - use our jobs database
  • Applying for jobs - use your degree, personal skills and work experience to create winning applications