More than just a qualification - the skills I didn’t know I’d gain at university   

Cait, one of our Student Engagement Assistants and a soon to be graduate of Sociology and Social Policy, shares with us the skills she has gained through her time at university.   

When coming to university I was excited to learn more about my chosen subject (Sociology) but what I didn’t know was how many skills university life would teach me outside of that!

Here are the top skills I’ve gained:


This skill always seemed daunting to me but networking is largely about getting on well with people and having fun with them. By making friends on my course and through societies, I made connections and networks which I will have going forward into my career and can build upon adding professional contacts as well as social.


Through university I have learnt how to work in teams, listen to other views and take these views on board in actions.  Group work can take place not just in academia even if it means doing something with your best mates.  For example, during third year I joined the British Sign Language committee as a general member. Through this role, I developed my teamwork skills in teaching classes as a group, fundraising and leading within social events.


Again, confidence is not simply gained through, for example, presenting in a classroom. For me, university helped me to be more confident to speak up in a group setting and believe in my own ideas and opinions. I have also become proud of my own achievements which has helped me to sell myself better to future employers.

Making arguments   

By researching and developing arguments in my essays and other assignments, I have gained the ability to reason and create arguments that go beyond my studies. This has influenced my own thoughts and ability to create convincing arguments during conversations with others.

Building initiative

With university being more hands off than school I had to learn how to take the initiative quite quickly. What did I want to achieve and how could I find my own ways to do it? If that question sounds overwhelming don’t worry – I meant more along the lines of ‘what do I want to eat tonight?’ I would google a recipe for flatbread pizza.

Time management  

You can learn time management by juggling hobbies, your studies and possibly for some a part-time job. But, with all the opportunities provided at university, a big-time management skill I learnt was how to prioritise. More importantly, that it is ok to say ‘no’ if you do not have the time e.g. not going out if I have not finished an assignment.


Ok, it is true that I have not learnt how to budget in a business setting but through living independently I can budget my student loan around what food I buy, my early morning coffees (which are the only way I got through 9am lectures/tutorials), my nights out and my adventures with friends.

We hope you can also spot some of these skills (and more!) that you might have gained at university.  

This other post, explores key skills which will become increasingly relevant in the future of work. 

 If, like Cait, you have graduated or are soon to graduate this summer, remember you can still use the Careers Service up to 2 years after graduation.  To see how we can support you, have a look at our graduate support webpage.   

Use Platform One to network and connect with former students. 

University Chaplain, Revd Dr Harriet Harris, has written a fantastic blog on “Finding vision and purpose when the future is so uncertain”. It offers some key messages for our summer 2020 graduates from a different perspective during these unprecedented times. 




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