5 Ways To Gain Employable Skills at University

The end goal of university for most people is a good job and career. Employers are not only looking for graduates with good grades, but work experience and transferable skills too, so there is huge pressure on students to strive towards extracurricular activities to expand their CVs. I’m here to tell you 5 great ways to make the most of your time at university to gain these vital skills!

1. Represent your course

Within your academic department, each year group with have two student Course Reps, who are voted in by the cohort to represent their needs fairly and voice students opinions within the department. Getting involved with the department in this way will allow you to gain a whole array of transferable skills:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership
  • Initiative and enterprise
  • Planning and organising
  • Self-management

2. Join societies

York has so many great societies for students to join. Being part of a society is a great way to get actively involved with the University community, and help out at on-campus events such as freshers fairs to boost your society profile and membership. You will quickly learn team-working and communication skills!

3. Volunteer

Being at university is the best time to volunteer, particularly with all the opportunities that the Careers department Screenshot 2017-02-16 19.45.13offers. Volunteering doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time: just once a week will help you develop your skills.

You can volunteer in schools or museums, for local charities – there are even summer volunteering projects abroad, whatever takes your fancy! There are lots of great ways to get involved, all which look absolutely ace on your CV increasing your employability. The Careers department and Student Union have great volunteering opportunities for you to get a look at before you start university!


Image: University of York students volunteering in Uganda for East African Playgrounds 2016

4. Run for society and college positions

All societies are student-run. Getting involved in society committees and also college committees are a great way to develop further skills. Positions such as welfare secretary, social secretary, treasurer or even president of your society or college can be exciting and fun! Running socials, workshops and events will really demonstrate leadership and organisation skills. Employers want candidates who have these skills, so be sure to get involved as much as you possibly can!


5. Get work experience

Any part-time work, even if not degree-related, will look great on your CV when applying for graduate jobs, and is a good source of employer references! It’s a great way to demonstrate to employers how you have gained great skills, and put them to use in the working world. Gaining work experience will be something that will set you apart from other candidates in interviews, and demonstrating how you balanced work and university will certainly impress employers!


The University also does great awards, recognising students who have taken opportunities for personal development to enhance their employability! The York Award is a great way for you to get recognition for all your hard work so be sure to take advantage of this!


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I am a third year Archaeology and Heritage student at the University of York. Currently volunteering with organisations such as the York Archaeological Trust, and participating in a volunteering project with East African Playgrounds with schools in Uganda. I am also the PR representative for the Archaeology society (Arch Soc).