How to develop transferable skills that employers are looking for - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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How to develop transferable skills that employers are looking for

10 Sep 2021

When speaking with industry representatives, they tell us they’re looking for potential graduates who have developed and can effectively communicate their transferable skills to accompany technical skills gained throughout their study. These skills make employees more adaptable and successful in the workplace.
What are transferable skills, and how do I get them? We hear you ask.
 
At USC, there are a number of transferable skills embedded in your coursework, we call them Graduate Attributes. They include six skills such as communication and six qualities like critical thinking. You will develop these skills during your student journey, but here are our top five tips on how to build the transferable skills employers are looking for!
1. Join a Student Guild Club

Joining a student club or group while studying helps you make connections with other students in your field. It also highlights your motivation and passion for your discipline to employers by getting involved in activities relevant to your industry.

Skill development includes: Communication, Collaboration, Problem-solving, Organisation, Engaged

2. Register for the Student Leadership Award or Students as Partners program

Show your motivation to make a difference through programs such as Students as Partners. Future employers like to see that you've volunteered your time in the community and utilised professional development opportunities.

The program also gives you the chance to widen your social network with students and staff across USC campuses and disciplines.

Skill development includes: Knowledgeable, Sustainability-focused, Collaboration, Ethical, Empowered

Join or start a USC Student Guild Club that suits your interests

3. Explore USC's Mentoring Program

Get insider knowledge with the USC Mentoring program. You can connect with industry professionals who also studied at USC and learn from their experiences. The key is to do some planning first and identify your key questions.
 
Questions you could ask include:

  • What was your career path into your current position?
  • What do you wish you had known as a student?
  • How can I make myself more competitive for jobs in this industry?

Skill development includes: Information Literacy, Knowledgeable, Communication, Engaged, Empowered

4. Research your industry

You might not know what you want to do once you graduate but it's still important to develop an awareness of your industry. This will help you find future possibilities and opportunities.
 
Set aside a small amount of time each week or month to research employers, occupation types and media articles. As a result, you'll gain information to develop your career strategy or ‘action plan’.

You can also reach out to people in the industry on LinkedIn or attend a Careers Fair or iEngage Event. If you need a hand on where to start with this, take a look at the Industry Research Toolkit on Student Hub.

Skill development includes: Information Literacy, Applying technologies, Collaboration, Problem-solving, Organisation

Keep an eye out for iEngage events throughout the semester

5. Gain industry experience

Most degrees at USC offer formal workplace learning courses but did you know that USC also offers the Work Experience Scheme (WES)? This scheme empowers students to contact organisations and negotiate a work experience placement. You can arrange work experience at any time during your studies. While it's not counted as course credit, it is a valuable add-on to your resume for both experience and connections.

Search for internships and clerkships advertised through websites like Seek, Grad Connection, Student Hub Jobs and the USC Careers Directory. You can also take up online work experience opportunities such as LaunchU or virtual work experience.

Skill development includes: Applying technologies, Communication, Organisation, Engaged, Empowered

Why is developing transferable skills important? 

Develop your soft skills to showcase your initiative and drive, your understanding of your industry and your employability. These, together with your qualifications will help meet the expectations of your future employer.

If you need some direction, USC Careers and Employability is here to support your journey to land your dream job - connect with us.

Meet potential employers at USC Careers Fair