Developing your skills
During your time at university, you will find lots of opportunities to develop your skills through your studies and extra-curricular activities. Having a range of demonstrable skills improves your chances of securing employment or further study, and also helps you have a confident and capable approach to many situations in life.
How do I develop my employability skills?
You’ll already have lots of skills: as a student; you’ve adapted to new situations; communicated with your lecturers and fellow students; worked in or led teams; planned and organised your assignments; and much more. You can always build on these skills to increase your employability and stand out from the crowd. Have you considered:
- the HEAR activities and achievements - all undergraduate or postgraduate taught students will now have access to their Higher Education Achievement Report (also known as the HEAR). There are a number of University-endorsed activities to get involved with, and you can document your experiences and prove to employers that you have the skills they are looking for.
- working part-time - having a job alongside your studies has many potential benefits. It can give you the opportunity to earn extra money, enhance your CV, and improve your employability skills and prospects beyond university. Working part-time also offers the chance to meet new people and have a different social experience outside the university environment.
- volunteering - a great way to develop your employability skills and impress employers. As well as gaining experience, it’s also an opportunity to network, build your contacts and it may even lead to paid work.
- joining a club or society - Joining a club or society is another way of building up your employability skills, particularly if you take on positions of responsibility such as president, secretary, team captain, student representative or treasurer. Joining in also shows that you are reliable, committed and trustworthy. You can find a list of societies and sports clubs on the University of Bradford Student’s Union website.
- taking a year out - Some graduates decide to take time out after university. If you plan your time effectively, decide on your objectives and spend your time out productively it can be a good way of improving your employability for when you do decide to enter the job market.
- study or work placements abroad - there are great opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge in another country through the University (which are usually fully funded), whether it be in Europe with an Erasmus scheme or elsewhere in the world.
See each individual skills page on the menu below for more suggestions on how to gain specific skills.
When should I start thinking about my career?
In today’s job market, employers are looking for more than just a good degree grade, so you should take steps to improve your knowledge and skills to stand out from the crowd. It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want to do; below are our suggestions on when to start:
|First year||Middle years||Final year|
Apply for our Summer Experience programme.
Keep working on your skills.
Apply for our Summer Experience six week placements.
Make an appointment with a career consultant to explore your career options, get help with applications, refine your CV and practice your interview technique.
At any point during your studies (and afterwards), you can come to speak a career consultant to discuss your options, and you could also try the Prospects Career Planner.
Select from the menu below to see details of the specific employability skills and capabilities that employers are looking for, and how you can gain and demonstrate these.
We also run a mentoring programme which connects students with experienced professionals who can share their insights and knowledge of industry and provide one-to-one advice and guidance.
One of our goals in Career and Employability Services (and the University as a whole) is to equip all our students with the attributes and capabilities to be confident and capable in your life beyond uni.
Whether you choose further study, employment, entrepreneurship or any another avenue, these fundamental skills will help you to thrive and portray a positive and professional image.
Below are listed the graduate capabilities and attributes and their related employability skills - click through to find out more, including how to gain and demonstrate these to employers.
Employability and Professionalism
The Bradford Graduate is:
Aware of their own capabilities and able to manage themselves
Proficient at communicating with others through a range of media.
Effective at collaborating and respecting the opinions of others
Able to demonstrate appropriate professional values.
Able to identify their learning needs and take action to improve their performance
Enterprising and creative in their approach to study and work.
Digitally literate and able to manage information effectively
Able to demonstrate commercial awareness by relating their learning to a commercial or business perspective
Academic Development and Critical Thinking
The Bradford Graduate is:
Able to apply knowledge to solve complex real-world problems and show proficiency and creativity in decision making
An independent learner and a critical and creative thinker.
Skilled in research and enquiry.
The Bradford Graduate is:
Interculturally and internationally aware.
Aware of social and civic responsibilities.
Literate in sustainability