Recognise your skills

How to identify and understand the skills you have gained from your time at university and from the commitments and activities you are involved in around your degree.

Recognising your skills and being clear about what you have to offer helps you make decisions about what type of work suits you, and to demonstrate your suitability to potential employers. It will also help you identify which skills you would like to work on through your time at University.

Whether you arrived at the university from school, as a mature student, or you are returning to study to change career, you will have brought skills with you, developed through your various experiences, and you will be developing more all the time.

Don’t discount any of your experiences - everything counts. Part time work, caring responsibilities, volunteering, societies, interests, internships, previous careers in a different industry, international experiences or travel, personal experiences – they will all have built the skills that you have now. We often take our skills for granted. To help you identify them, look at your experiences and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did you feel at the end of each experience? What did you learn along the way? What are you more confident in? 
  • When have you really enjoyed yourself and what skills were involved in your success? What has been more of a challenge and what skills got you through? 
  • When have you had good feedback? Others often notice and appreciate things that we don’t see in ourselves.

If you find this difficult, try talking it through with someone you feel comfortable with, perhaps an employer or a friend, or book an appointment with a Careers Consultant.

To get a clear idea of the skills you’re developing in your degree studies look at the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study (DRPS). These outline the learning outcomes and skills you will develop as a result of the courses you are taking. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) has produced benchmark statements which summarise skills gained in studying different subjects.


QAA Subject Benchmark Statement

This analysis of graduate skills will help you understand skills, how to develop them and how to demonstrate them. When you are considering them, think about all the scenarios in which you have developed them.

TARGETjobs - Skills and Competencies

Looking for ideas of ways to develop your skills?

Build experience: develop your skills