Here at Campus Jobs we liaise with hundreds of students on a weekly basis and frequently we see common CV or application mistakes where students fail to sell their “Transferable Skills”.
Frequently student’s undersell their part time jobs when it comes to applying for graduate job opportunities. But if we think about it in more detail, there are a huge amount of skills that can be transferred from your part time jobs whilst at university to assist you in hitting the ground running in a Graduate Development Scheme or Graduate Employment.
Identifying your Transferable Skills
“But I don’t have any interesting skills?!” – False
“Future Employers don’t care about my part time job in the bar” – False
Break it down and consider the individual responsibilities and aspects of your part time job or perhaps even the summer internship you’ve just completed.
- What were my day-day responsibilities?
e.g Did you provide campus tours? Or perhaps you have to handle money or being able to complete a stock take?
2. Who did I regularly come into contact with?
e.g Did you speak with prospective students? Were you in regular contact with academics? Or perhaps you answered the telephone and spoke to clients.
3. What extra activities did I get involved with?
e.g Did you get to take part in any additional training? Or perhaps you got to work during an influencial event where you met some VIPS and had to work under pressure?
4. What was I given recognition for?
e.g Did you give a presentation and get good reviews from colleagues or your manager?
Writing about them
Now that you have identified some areas that your transferable skills will stem from you can write about them. Target your transferable skills within your CV and also tailor them to suit any applications you make for graduate roles.
In your CV consider utilising a skills section or alternatively mention the skills under the relevant employment history headings.
Here’s an example:
August 2018-Present – Bars Assistant – Campus Jobs, University of Reading
- Providing excellent customer service to customers including serving drinks and food.
- Handling cash and utilising the digital till system.
- Cashing up at the end of the day and making sure the till is up to date.
- Handling queries and areas of complaint from customers and making sure they are solved in an appropriate manner.
- Carrying out stock checks for all drink and food items.
- Making sure to adhere to licencing, health and safety and food hygiene regulations.
- Verbal Communication/ Public Speaking
- Prioritising Tasks in a busy work environment
- Working under pressure
- Ability to pick up and learn online systems in an efficient timeframe
- Conflict Resolution/Complaint Handling
For application forms you may wish to delve into more or alternative detail about your work experience, it is key to provide clear and concise examples within your application form or supporting statement. Employers will be checking off their Essential and Desirable criteria from your full application so make sure to include as many specific words from the Job Person Specification as you can.
” We are looking for a motivated and driven individual with excellent task prioritisation skills, who can handle presentations and public speaking effectively and who is able to work under pressure”.
An Application Form Example (see where the key words have been factored in):
“My part time job on campus during my time at University has helped me to develop my task prioritising skills, as a Student Ambassador I regularly have to prioritise my time and make sure that I complete all tasks required of me prior to events commencing as well as at the end of each day. Often I have to work under pressure as there are occasions when staff , team members and prospective students all require my help or action at the same time. Another aspect of my Student Ambassador work allows me to carry out Campus Tours and Student Life Talks to local school children, this has enabled me to become confident at public speaking and I can create and give dynamic presentations.
I think that having a part time job as well as studying at University shows that I am a very motivated and organised person and I am driven and committed to developing my knowledge and skills and would be an assset in your workplace.”
Speaking about them
Don’t forget to draw on your experiences in both your student life as well as your part time jobs at university or home when you are at your interview. Plan in advance of an interview to make sure you have examples in mind of key topics that you might be asked about.
Example: If you are going for a sales role you may get asked about a time when you have shown excellent customer service, or gone out of your way to solve a problem, or alternatively any examples of times you’ve dealt with clients or customers.
Considering how you can develop them further
- What skills have you already started developing?
- How can you develop them further?
- Are there workshops or extra classes at University or in your local area?
- Are there other job roles you could pick up on a part time basis that may help you to develop the skills in more detail, or perhaps even gain new skills?
- Is there a way to progress in your current role or show your intiative and commitment by asking about carrying out more responsibilities?
Thanks for reading!!
Rachel Jeans, Campus Jobs Deputy Manager, 2019