Employers want you to be able to tell them why you are the right candidate for the job. You may have gained lots of skills through various work experience opportunities, but if you can’t articulate them through an application, your CV or in an interview then you may be overlooked in a recruitment process. Alternatively, if you haven’t got a lot of work experience outside of your degree, do you know how to best show off the skills gained from your studies? Articulating skills is something many of us struggle with.
The first step to success is being aware of your skills and what you have to offer. You will have a unique set of skills from various experiences that can prove your employability. For example:
Leadership can be shown through leading a group project within a module.
Teamwork can be shown through playing football.
Communication can be shown through a role as Programme Representative
Problem solving can be shown through dealing with difficult customers in a part time
Depending on the profession you choose to work in, there could be very specific job-related, technical skills, abilities and knowledge needed.
If you need help identifying the skills you do have, then please visit the Careers & Employment website: Identifying your skills
The way in which you articulate your skills in an application or interview processes is very important. You cannot state or tell an employer you have a skill and expect them to be convinced. You need to provide evidence. The STAR technique provides a useful structure to enable you to do this clearly.
Situation - set the context/scene
Task – briefly outline what you had to do
Action – spend most of your answer focusing on the action you took. What did you do, and how did you do it
Result - What was the positive impact of the action you took
“Throughout University I worked part time as a waitress. On a particularly busy weekend, we were short staffed and a customer complained about the wait for his food. I liaised with the kitchen and persuaded the chef to prioritise the customer’s order. I apologised to the customer, explained the situation and the amount of time left to wait. The customer calmed down and was soon enjoying his meal. He returned to the restaurant on a regular basis.”
In the following webinar, Natalie from Careers & Employment Service provides more advice on how you can evidence your skills clearly.
Employers place a lot of value on the skills, attributes and knowledge you have gained outside of your qualifications. Having a diverse range of evidence to draw from in a recruitment process makes you more attractive to employers. If you want more insight into how to gain experience alongside your degree, please refer to the page Gaining Experience.