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Career Tips from Students

Students completing a first year module at Middlesex University were asked to write advice for students just begining. This file is based on their answers to this question:
    You are shown a range of modules that the new student can choose from. "What skills could I learn that might help me get a good job?" the student asks. Could you tell the student the skills you think you are developing at Middlesex University, and how they could relevant to future employment?
Analysis Attendance Authority Autonomy
Being a student speaks for itself Career Management Skills
Computers Communication Confidence
Confrontation Cooperation CV
Contributors Group Work Independence
Independent Thinking Interpersonal Skills Judgement
Learning Skills Listening
Lists of Skills Management Networking and Socialising
Presentations Research Self Management
Sharing Ideas Social Work skills
Theory Time Management
Transferable Skills Writing You can do it


a career skill

Since I have been at this university I have become a lot more confident. I have made loads of new friends and am generally very happy with my choice of university. It has also given me a lot of experience and a lot more independence not living at home. Now I would be confident enough to go in and ask for a job anywhere, whereas before I would have been too shy. University does teach a lot to a person before the studies even begin.

I am developing skills which allow me to be independent and work for my self. I am also learning how to manage my time, how to do presentations and how to put my views and points across. Such skills are important because, it helps develop what one needs for future work. Such skills will help develop confidence, self esteem, being assertive, aware of other peoples needs. They also help one with team work, responsibility and skills for management on certain things.

Being a student speaks for itself

Being a student shows any employer that you have the capability to study, that you are intelligent, diligent and a team player. University will teach you to undertake independent research and give you the ability to take control of your life.

Analysis and Theory

a career skill

I have learnt how to analyse theories and data and come up with a conclusion, which I can then debate. I have also learnt skills in group coordination.

Learning to theorise essays was hard but enjoyable. The ability to theorise may the most valuable skill I take into employment. I will also take self discipline (from studying, for example) and skill working in a group - doing presentations - just listening - putting across points of view based on my experience or information I read in the paper.

You can do it

The skills that I feel I am developing are, being able to cope with doing and thinking about several tasks at any one time. Working with people from many different backgrounds, some very different to my own. In turn realising that most people have something valuable to offer. The most important aspect that I have learnt so far at Middlesex, is that, no matter how insurmountable or daunting a particular task seems initially, with the right application it is achievable.

Sharing Ideas

a career skill

I believe the SHE module taught me not to be judgmental towards others, to share ideas and work in a team by communicating with each other. All these are very important and vital in any work force, but especially in the social care field of work. I learnt to understand the concepts needed for positive group work, and to enjoy it and to contribute. I now feel I can offer something new to any work force. New students need to understand the value of contributing any ideas or theories they have which seem relevant to the work being done. Every thing does have a point and there is always somebody who can learn from you.

I have learnt how to work with different groups of people in group situations and as individuals, listening to their ideas and adding some of my own. I have found that, just like life, education can be a cut throat situation were you share your ideas and some people just take your ideas and add their own, not sharing theirs but soaking up your information. The knowledge gained on subjects in Social Policy, looking at different policies and changes made and why, and how different policies effect different people will help me as a Social Worker.

Working in groups, listening to others, seeing different points of views, and patience.

Group Work

a career skill

Skills, which will help me in the future include the ability to communicate with other students in small and large group settings and being able to present work as an individual and as part of a group.

I am learning how to work as a group. Not only that, but I am working with a group of strangers. They do not know me and I do not know them. We all have to get to know each other very quickly, so that we work better together. I think that this is a positive point because if I had to work in a team at work I would not know anyone there either.

I think that the flexible mode of study is very relevant to employment because it teaches you to work in groups as a team and to form your own opinions and to be more self-motivated. These are seen as positive things by an employer. It also depends on what type of job you wish to go into. For example, if you are set on becoming a probation officer, then it may be helpful to choose more modules that are related to crime.

One skill I have learned here, is how to work in groups and how it is important to identify yourself as having a certain role within a group.Also, a very important skill for future employment, is being able to talk, or present in front of people. Many people including myself find this difficult, but I feel I have definitely improved just in one semester.

Some of the skills that most good companies are looking for it appears are IT in addition to the individual being what has been described as "a good team player." So, realistically, group work within college is an essential part of any students development as companies are more interested in someone who will not ony have the neccessary skills to do the job, but one who gets on with his fellow workers, and in the process becomes a valuable member of the company or team.

Networking and Socialising

a career skill

Networking and Socialising have helped a lot with my work and getting around a new environment. When I first came to Middlesex I did not know anyone. Now, nearly at the end of my first year, I find that I have made links with people that I would not normally talk with. I came to university straight from sixth from, but I have found that a lot of my links are with mature students who have been out of study for many years. I believe that socialising will enable me to make networks with fellow work colleges, so that I can, along with a team, climb up the ladder of success.

As I have had lots of voluntary and work experience with all types of people, I thought that I would not need to learn about people. I admit that this was wrong as I have learned a lot about people this year, through study and socialising. It is amazing how much people change in one year. The fact that I am more open minded about things should help in a future job.

Of course there is communication: You are faced with thousands of students not knowing anyone but eventually you make friends. For some students it is their first time away from home so it is a chance to be independent and self sufficient for the first time. This is daunting but also very rewarding. Studying for a degree takes a lot of hard work, determination, and, most importantly, staying power. It would have been very easy at times to pack it all in, but it is very self rewarding to have just about stuck it out.


a career skill

"Good communication skills and listening skills". "My communication skills have developed a great deal". I am learning to communicate verbally, visually, orally and through a number of mediums including paper, email, OHPs, power point presentations and with my voice.

At Middlesex University you can develop your communication skills by interacting with the lecturers and your study groups. Also the University is multicultural, which fits in with our society.

I have developed good communication skills through class presentations and socialisation with other students. Also I have learned different individual and team work skills which will help me as future job skills. I have learned how to cope under pressure and how to meet deadlines.

My communication skills have developed through presentation work. At the start of the year I was very worried about having to do a presentation in front of a lot of people I did not know. After learning a few techniques I am a little better at handling this.

The main skills I am developing at university are communication (which I think is very important), listening and how to be objective. I am also learning how to assess my own strengths and weaknesses and those of my peers. These skills could be relevant to future employment as they are needed to deal with people at all levels, that is to say, other professionals, colleagues and clients.


a career skill

One of my modules was all about self directed learning and being independent in my studies. These skills will be useful as I will need to work independently in employment. To get a good mark in a module, or a good degree, you need to be focused and determined to work whatever the circumstances. This focus and determination will follow you into your working life and hopefully land you the job that you want.

The skills learnt from studying at university is knowing how to be an independent thinker and worker. You will also know how to work effectively and creatively in groups which will then prepare for working within a company where you are expected to work effectively with your other colleagues.

Everything from your time, study, socialisation, deadlines, is left to yourself to organise. At Middlesex you are told what you need to know and are than left to complete what you have to on your own. This helps when you have to apply for a major job. You have to be dependent on yourself to phone for an interview, arrive there on time. All depends on one's own self discipline.

Autonomous learning is a good method of gaining independence, which is a key to a good job.

One thing that appears to be present in all social science courses is having minimum lecture time and working with groups of people, and from your own initiative. This is always going to be a skill that you will need as any job will require initiative and motivation, and the ability to interact and work with others.


a career skill

"University life forces you to become computer literate, which in today's world is essential". "I am developing computer skills that I think will make my life a lot easier in the future". "The ability to be able to use a computer to a sufficient standard is an important skill to take to an employer". "Computer skills are necessary for every job that I will find in the future".

Using the computer for wordprocessing and the internet are important in today's employment world. The use of the internet is developing everywhere outside of the university. With the fast development of computers, it seems that they will be in use in most of the professions students want to go into after university.

The University has good computer access and the modules require you to use them. Therefore, you gain a good knowledge of them. Students have to be familiar with computers before they join the workforce as almost all employment requires it.

Most of the skills learnt at University are transferable to employment, but none are more important than IT skills. No matter what your chosen degree is, computer skills are of most importance nowadays, for most companies and businesses rely on computer networking

One of my modules insisted that all students use computers to submit work. If any problems were experienced, the tutor was always available to run through them with you.

I have learned to use electronic mail, which as also been a form of communication with other students, this has been a great support. Other computer skills I learnt included use Microsoft Excel and cutting and pasting information. I think today it is vital to have a range of computer skills as computers are appearing everywhere in the workplace and I feel that future employers will be requiring people who are more and more computer literate.

My use of the computer has improved considerably in the last year because of being at university. I can type much quicker than what I use to be like.


a career skill

I am developing the ability to research which may be useful for me in the future as a qualified social worker who will need to keep up to date with new developments and also understand research and its implications for practise.


a career skill

"I am learning how to write a detailed fair piece of writing". "Developing your essay writing skills is important as report writing is common in employment". "Essay writing includes spelling and grammar". "Spelling and grammar are learnt in order to present academic work properly".

My essay writing skills were virtually non-existent when I started here. Reading and note taking were also new for me and I am really now able to pick out relevant information and make key notes from it. Finally having the confidence to speak up in a group and make presentations is a key skill that we are taught which will perhaps be the most important skill in future employment.

I have learnt to put my own views as an argument in the essays that I have completed. I have learnt to write well constructed essays.


a career skill

As much as I hate having to do presentations, I know that this is a skill I must acquire if I wish to pursue any sort of management position. I find presentations very difficult. Beforehand I am always very calm, but I shake all the way through it and afterwards. Another main skill that I would say is very important is learning to work alone as well as in a group.

"I have also skills on how to prepare and deliver presentations, which has also given me experience of speaking publicly". "I have had to do presentations in front of the group. This is good as it builds up confidence for job interviews etc". "Most people have a love/hate relationship with group presentations, but they are useful for integrating people together".

A skill that I feel is of major importance to me is being able to give presentations and generally having the ability to present yourself in a positive and confident manner to a whole range of people.

Time Management

a career skill

Developing my ability to work with others helps with managing my own time, problem solving and understanding issues. I am learning how to manage my time more effectively and prioritise what needs to be done.

The most relevant skill for employment in general is time management. Learning to work in groups, to work without supervision, and to do presentations are also very useful.

"Time keeping skills are learnt". "I have learned how to organise myself and my time effectively". "Being able to organise your time is a very useful skill". "One of the most important skills I have learnt is balancing my workload, keeping up with deadlines and becoming an autonomous learner". "I am developing organisation skills by means of time management". "You will constantly have to juggle your time and responsibilities to accommodate your job".

I have learnt the value of time. I have just got to learn to apply what I have learnt. Meeting deadlines and being able to work with others in small and large groups, as well as working by myself when need be, will count for skills when going out to work.

Self Management and Interpersonal Skills

To do your job more effectively you need skills in working within time-limits and skills in confrontation and the use of authority. You need an ability to create action. Some jobs require you to make your own judgement and to reach decisions in the light of accumulated evidence. Therefore an assessment skill is important for you to obtain. A workload management skill is important. If, for example, you have to handle complex pressure from a variety of conflicting directions, then you have to organise your work carefully. Communication skills, writing skills, and interpersonal skills are all very relevant ones to obtain.

At University I learnt to cooperate with other people. I also developed my communication and presentation skills. Finally I feel that I have gained further sociological knowledge and I feel more confident about myself.

Learning Skills

My learning skills are improving which is surprising, but I am adapting to new teaching methods which I believe will make me more flexible to new management styles etc. in the future. My listening skills have definately improved, as well as my concentration, which will help you in any jobs. Doing presentations at University has definately improved my confidence and public speaking skills, which will come in use in a lot of jobs in the future, especially high-power jobs.

Transferable Skills

The many skills learnt in one course or module at Middlesex University can all be applied to other modules and to employment. For example, there is a lot of emphasis on learning independently and working in groups. Both will be useful to students going into employment. Presentation skills are also encouraged as well as getting the most out of computers and being able to use them for the many purposes that they serve today. For example, communication, a source of information, etc.

Transferable skills for Social Work

I believe all aspects of my studies provide me with relevant skills which can be transferred to my future practise as a social worker.

My experience of presentations will be useful when attending meetings as a social worker. I will, on some occasions, be required to feed back vast amounts of information about clients to other professionals in these circumstances.

Student life in general often means coping under pressure. I regard coping under pressure to be a requirement needed in social work. Social workers often have large numbers of cases allocated to them and are expected to provided services in order of priority. There are also elements of dealing with paper work in home visits. I am quite sure that this work load can be described as pressurized, like student life.

I think the development of my writing skills is relevant to my future career. As a student I am still developing the skill of writing in different formats which is also a requirement of social work. For example, report writing is different from writing an essay. In my future career I will be expected to write using different formats such as reports and letters.

Learning to become familiar with the use of computers and the internet is vital for my future work as a social worker as this form of technology may be compulsory in the work environment by the time I qualify.

Transferable Skills for Management

As I am doing a degree in Criminology I also have to study the social sciences along side criminological aspects. I have also become skilled in computing. Therefore I have skills which would definitely help me towards a future career that would involve management, IT skills, team effort, social skills and competitiveness.

Lists of Skills

The skills I feel I have learnt so far at University are related. I was never very good at drafting or planning essays, so I generally would not do this. But in most modules here you have to produce a draft and, once you do, it is so much easier to write an essay or a report. This may come in handy in a job. I have also learnt presentation skills which are definitely relevant for employment. I have learnt to use the facilities available to my advantage. Note taking is another key skill I have learnt which is essential. The biggest skill I feel I have learnt however is how to manage myself. I now know how to plan my time and my work so that it is all completed on time and without rushing.

The major skill that I am currently developing at University is the use of computers. I also believe that independence is a second required skill, which I have gained from university. Finally I feel that networking and socialising skills will help me to climb the ladder of success.

Skills gained at University that are transferable into a working environment include:

  • Communication
  • Computer skills.
  • WordProcessing
  • Knowledge and understanding on how to access the internet
  • Competent reading and writing skills
  • Report writing
  • CV preparation
  • Research skills
  • Statistical skills
  • Working autonomously
  • Interaction skills
  • Listening skills
  • Preparing and giving presentations
  • Presentation Skills
  • Working under pressure or within designated boundaries
  • Time management
  • Organisation skills
  • Self organisation
  • Team work
  • Working in groups

    • Presentation skills are useful to build your confidence and for attending interviews.

    • Essays and other forms of academic writing are useful for writing C.V's, doing exams and expanding your vocabulary.

    • Examinations help you to cope with pressure.


Having a good attendance record is very useful if a reference is required from the university, many of the modules at Middlesex require a minimum of seventy percent attendance and so this prepares you for holding down a steady job. With regards to modules that do not require attendance, purely by attending you are demonstrating commitment to your studies, this is another quality that prospective employers look for. It is often required to present your work orally to the class, this prepares you for the skill you will need to work at a professional level.

Career Management Skills

One of the skills we learnt was how to put together a CV. We had various seminars on careers and interviewing techniques.

The contributors to this page include:

Shama Abraham, Omenebele Achuka, Hibo Ahmed, Shamima Akhtar, Shaena Akther, Kellie Auld, Saba Bahta, Tom Bayman, Anna Beckett, Shumi Begum, Scott Brown, Deirdre Cathline, Samantha Chase, Vanessa Christian, Baliktsioglou Christos, Melissa Claydon, Donna Daley, Emma Dalzell, Joanna Davidson, Natasha Davy, Camelia Ellis, Rachel Evans, Carole Ferguson, Dawn Forrester, Redempta Friday, Alexandra Glyde, Mandi Goldberg, Deborah Goulden, Jolene Greeves, Tariq Hameed, Georgina Haynes, Michelle Jones, Arzu Kaya, Bahareh Haghighat-Khah, Tim Knight, Linda Kumah, Joan Langley, Danny Liecier, Suzanne MacDonald, Lucy Martin, Anna McGilvray, Allison McLaren, Sinead Murray, Sarah O'Callaghan, Sally Palmer, Garreth Thomas Phelan, Joelle Ripper, Charlotte Rose, Mandy Sabaroche, Leanora Smith, Juliet Swinerd, Marcella Amado-Taylor, Maria Ward, Louise Warriar and Kerry West.

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