CAREERS BLOG: Finalists – add to your skills

If you’re planning for life after university (whether it’s further study, a job or time out) have you got the skills in demand for your next step?

The Careers Spotlight on skills (Weeks 2 – 5) is all about highlighting those much-needed skills and offers ways in which to gain and enhance those skills.

As well as specific, subject-related knowledge, there are general skills employers and admissions tutors will be looking for in applicants. Here are just a few. How many have you got and can you give examples from your own experience?

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Organising
  • Problem solving
  • Self-awareness
  • Motivation
  • Innovation
  • Enterprise
  • Delegating
  • Negotiation
  • Presentations
  • Project management
  • Networking
  • Time management
  • Creativity
  • Foreign languages
  • Social and cultural awareness
  • Commercial awareness.

You can find out what sorts of skills you should be gaining from your academic studies and what sorts of skills are needed for certain types of graduate jobs.

There are a wide range of activities, which can help you develop valuable skills:

Work experience

Part-time work, internships, vacation work – all familiarise you with working life, as well as giving you skills and knowledge. Have a look at the Look for work web pages for further information about vacancy sources and things to consider.

The Career’s Student Internship Bureau advertise project-based internships, offering challenging, high quality work experience – search the Interactive Careers Service for opportunities.


Not only a chance to gain experience and skills, but also to show your motivation, commitment and social awareness. Careers’ York Students in Schools (recruitment for Summer placements starts Week 3) and York Students in Communities offer the chance to volunteer in local schools and in community projects. YUSU and individual colleges also run volunteering programmes, so there’s plenty of opportunities to get involved.


As well as helping those interested in setting up their own business, Enterprise offers lots of chances to gain those important commercial awareness, innovation and problem solving skills. Check out Enterprise events and competitions running this term.

Careers events and skills courses

Attending events can help you increase your knowledge, as well as your skills. Networking events (such as the Professional Connect events and recruitment fairs) give you the chance to talk to those working in a variety of job sectors. So, you can find out more about certain types of jobs and industries, as well as boost your networking abilities.

Skills courses tend to concentrate on specific areas, helping you to learn about a new skill, fill your skills gaps or simply develop yourself further.

All events and courses are listed at – so find out more.

York Award

Whether you’ve attended any of the skills courses or not, you can still gain University recognition for skills, activities and experience you’ve gained while at York through the York Award. Final year undergraduates can apply for the award in the Spring Term.

  • The application form is available to download from the York Award pages
  • This year the deadline for submitted applications is 5.00pm on 25 January – you will need to submit a paper-copy of your form in person at Careers
  • Read further information about the assessment process or book an information appointment, if you want to discuss any issues about the York Award.

Make the most of your time

Have a look at the Make the most of your time at University web pages for more ideas of how you can enhance your skills or call into Careers for further help.

So don’t delay – make sure you have the skills to succeed.

Irena Zientek, Information Resources Manager, Careers