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5 transferable skills from university

5 transferable skills from university

by Gregor Gray

Transferable skills are skills that can be applied to any situation or workplace. For example, communication skills or problem-solving. 

When you go to university, you become an expert in your subject area but you also build on valuable skills that will help you in your professional career, and can make all the difference to your application when applying for jobs. 

Below, we’ve listed just a few of the transferable skills from a university degree. 


Time management

University involves a lot of careful time management and self-motivation. 

You will study multiple modules at once, each with their own assignments, and this is on top of attending your seminars and lectures.

It can feel like a real juggling act. 

University helped me develop as a person and readied me for the world of work. Balancing the deadlines and trappings of studying a degree, alongside social commitments and working a part-time job, forced me to improve my time management skills and prioritisation.

Matt, History BA graduate

By the time you’ve graduated, managing multiple projects at once in a professional setting is a breeze! 

And, especially during Covid-19 when there may be an element of working remotely, time management and self-discipline are really appealing transferable skills to employers.



Ever heard the saying 'it’s not what you know, it’s who you know?' 

Universities have future professionals, future business owners, academics and researchers all under one roof. 

Whatever your professional ambitions, there are countless valuable connections for you to build. 

For example, in your university halls alone you may have a future lawyer, an aspiring entrepreneur, a future author and more! 

Living and working with new people is a great way to build on your ability to communicate and network.

Who knows who will go on to become a future client, customer, business partner or colleague? 



Love it or hate it, presenting is a big part of the professional world. 

And for those who hate presenting, the only way to get better at it is to do more of it. 

Presenting at university can help you grow in confidence and learn how to communicate in a safe, constructive environment. 

For many students, by the time they’ve graduated, they’ve learned to love presenting. 

When you apply for job roles, you may have to present as part of the application or prove you have experience in speaking in front of people. If you don't have to present, you may be asked about your experience of public speaking.

With a degree, you will be able to tell your potential employers about times you presented, and talk through the criticisms you received from your module leader and how you’ve worked on yourself since then. 

Top tip: Many students feel like presenting is their biggest weakness, but there’s strength in having weaknesses and being upfront about them to potential employers. 

They’re the perfect opportunity to show self-awareness and say ‘yes, I’m still growing but this is what I’m doing to turn this weakness into a strength,’ and give practical examples.


Critical thinking and forming an argument

When you study a degree, you research the subject in great detail. 

You form arguments and persuade readers and your peers to your interpretation of the study material in your assignments. You translate academic texts into practical learnings. And so much more. 

“Breaking down my argument and communicating my ideas clearly were skills I didn't even realise I was building during my English degree. It was a really natural growth. Now, as a manager, if I'm trying to communicate something complex or deal with someone difficult at work, I'm able to communicate my way of thinking in a way that's persuasive, direct and clear. It's a skill I genuinely rely on every day.” 

Amy - English Literature and Language BA graduate 

As a result, graduates are not only quick, astute critical thinkers, they’re also impressive debaters and negotiators. 

They can digest counter-arguments, and argue their way of thinking clearly and persuasively. 

There’s no end to the situations where these skills are valuable. 



Unless you intend on working for yourself, all jobs involve teamwork.

Understanding other people’s abilities, diffusing conflict, collaborating and working towards a common goal; these aren’t easy things to do. 

Especially if you don’t have experience in them. 

When you study at university, it’s likely you will have study groups, group assignments and you may even live with others. 

"Working as a team can be a huge strength but it can also be a challenge if communication isn't solid. During my degree, it was crucial to make sure everyone was informed, organised and not left behind in the process. Now, as a Digital Marketing Executive, I am able to reflect on what worked and what didn't and apply my learnings every day."

Laura - International Marketing MA graduate

Throughout your degree, you will perfect your teamwork skills. And become someone who can be productive and make an impact in any group of people. 

Make sure you stress to potential employers how much you value the experience and skills of those around you, and give them real-world examples of when you’ve worked with others to achieve a common goal. 


If you're still considering university, but how a degree translates into a professional career is a sticking point for you - especially if you dream of being your own boss - read our blog on how to start a business at university. And remember, it's not too late to make your application for 2021 entry.