Securing a graduate job with the skills you developed at university

5 minutes

If you think you lack the experience required for a graduate level job, then think again. The many transferable skills you've gained from university will allow you to kick start your career as a graduate.

If your university career is now a thing of the past, you’ve probably been submitting job applications in pursuit of a graduate job. Even if you think you lack the experience required for a graduate level job, you'll be surprised at the amount of transferable skills you’ll have picked up during your time as a student. A good place to start with this is to pick out skills from the job description and outline examples of when you’ve previously used them to complete an assignment. Equally, you can use an example of a time when you volunteered or took part in an extracurricular activity where you achieved a positive outcome. Of course, the specific skills you need will depend on the type of job you’re aiming for, but the following list is a good starting point for a role in any industry. 


Before anything else, employers will want to know that you have the organisational skills needed to handle a varied workload. Fortunately, this is something you should have in abundance after earning yourself a university degree. To successfully juggle a number of assignments at the same time, you would have needed to manage your time accordingly. Also, with deadlines looming at different points throughout the year, there would have been a need to prioritise tasks to ensure each assignment was completed on time. By outlining examples where you have successfully prioritised tasks and managed your time accordingly, you will be able to prove to the employer that you have the organisational skills needed to work in a fast paced environment.  


Whether you're interacting with others in a group exercise, answering questions in a formal interview or presenting in front of a group during an assessment day, your communication skills will be tested in a variety of ways throughout the application process. 

It’s important to note that communication skills come in many forms and aren't just about how well you can get your ideas across. In fact, it's about actively listening to the views of others and engaging appropriately whether in a written or verbal format. With all the group projects and presentations you’ve likely completed at university, your communication skills should translate fairly well to the demands of a graduate job.


Resilience, motivation and persistence are all words that employers want their graduates to be associated with. There are quite often bumps in the road when it comes to completing projects. Therefore, employers want to know that their graduates can handle setbacks and keep moving forward. 

In order to be prepared for an interviewer who’s quizzing you on your resilience, try to think of a time when you have overcome a pressurised or uncertain situation. This could be anything from finding a solution to client complaints in a part-time job, to bouncing back from a low university  assignment grade and making a considerable improvement. 


Collaborating with a selection of different people from a variety of teams is an essential part of most graduate jobs. If you were involved in any student sports clubs or societies you would have naturally been refining your teamwork skills during your time at university. Even if you don’t think your experiences will directly correlate to the workplace, knowing how to communicate and work with others effectively are transferable skills that will make you a valued member of almost any company. 

Simply, being able to explain a time when you have worked with others to achieve a common goal will show employers that you have the teamwork skills needed to excel. To go one step further, you can think of a time where you have practised using your leadership skills. Knowing how to be a leader that can motivate and engage others puts you in good stead for future promotion opportunities. 

Problem solving

Knowing how to identify and then solve problems is crucial for those looking for their first graduate job. Some graduate jobs might require you to solve problems on a daily basis. For example, you might be in a customer facing role where you’re handling complaints and then taking the best course of action to solve them. On the other hand, you might be in an operational role where problems occasionally arise. Here, you will have to think outside of the box to find the appropriate solution. 

To ensure you’re fully prepared for interviews, it can be helpful to list a few examples of times when you have solved problems. To go one better, you can explain how these experiences would help you overcome issues in the new role. Equally, you might have to work within a group during an assessment day to collectively solve a series of problems. While these concepts might seem daunting, you probably overcame a number of problems during your time at university. For instance, you could have used your degree subject knowledge to answer a question, resolve an issue, or help other students to improve by mentoring them. 

IT skills

If you’re not applying for an IT based role then your IT skills won’t be make or break. However, having a certain proficiency with technology is useful for those entering the working world as a graduate. With many companies now offering hybrid working schedules, it’s important that you have the basic skills needed to work in a remote environment. This might mean asking about a company’s preferred communication methods, so you can figure out any issues before your start date. You’ll also need to be able to adapt to the right digital devices, applications, software and know how to handle data appropriately. 

Understandably, some roles require a more specific set of digital skills. For example, design and video editing roles will require an advanced understanding of specific computer software. You’re likely to already have experience of using these in university projects. Therefore, you should be able to put together a portfolio of your best work to show to employers.  

Remember, your time at university will have granted you an endless list of transferable skills. 

Therefore, to put yourself in a position to get a graduate job, think about how your skills will allow you to perform each role to a high standard.

As a leading graduate recruitment agency, we know how to match talented graduates with industry-leading companies. So, if you’re ready for your first graduate job, Pareto can help.

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