Skills You didn’t know you had: A guide for effective applications

Posted on: 7 November 2023 by Aditi Gupta in Hints, tips and advice

When working as a Career Coach, I often find myself in chats with students who possess a wide range of transferable skills, yet they remain unaware of their own potential.

Whether it's a matter of lacking self-awareness about our own abilities or facing the ever-present imposter syndrome, downplaying our strengths on applications serves no one. There exists a ton of soft skills within you that you may not even realize you possess. Unfortunately, these remain hidden, never making it onto your applications.

If you're seeking guidance on which general skills to integrate into your CVs, application forms, or cover letters, this blog piece is for you. Below, you'll find a list of skills along with contextual examples of when you may have demonstrated them in your past experiences.

Communication Skills

This is your ability to write clearly and concisely to convey meaning to different readers or your ability to verbally express ideas in a way that’s understood by other people for informing, discussing or persuading. In a classroom environment, you may ask insightful questions during a lecture or participate in a group discussion during a seminar which is a strong indicator of your oral communication skills. This activity requires you to articulate your thoughts with clarity and engage in meaningful discussions – perfect evidence to use in your applications!

Similarly, your ability to write well-crafted essays or dissertation, including accurately referencing and constructing a balanced critical argument demonstrates your proficiency in written communication.

Teamwork Skills

Teamwork is your ability to work co-operatively with other people for the purposes of achieving a common purpose. During your time at Liverpool, you might be involved in an assessment that requires some amount of groupwork. This experience within an academic setting showcases your ability to effectively delegate tasks, synchronize efforts, and navigate diverse perspectives towards a common goal.

Beyond the classroom, participation in activities such as sports teams, drama clubs, or debate societies further strengthens your ability to work effectively within a team environment.

Leadership Skills

Leadership is more than just a title; it is your ability to organise and motivate others towards a common objective. If you have ever worked as a class representative or led a student club, this is your evidence of leadership abilities. These experiences highlight your capacity to make informed decisions, delegate tasks effectively and motivate the group. As a result, any experience of coordinating events, mentoring peers or chairing a meeting can qualify as valid experience of leadership abilities.

Organisational Skills

Navigating the complexity of university life requires organizational skills. This is your ability to establish a course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a specific goal. From juggling multiple assignments to managing extracurricular commitments, your ability to prioritize, plan, and structure tasks has used your organisational skills. You may have effectively managed multiple deadlines, maintained a well-organized study schedule, or organised events in a seamless manner. These experiences are evidences of your organizational skills that can be used on your CVs and application forms.

Problem-Solving Skills

University life is filled with challenges, and your skills of problem-solving has likely been on full display during your time at Liverpool. Problem-solving is the ability to identify key issues of a problem and draw up and carry out appropriate technique or method to solve it. Whether it was tackling complex equations, understanding hard theories, or addressing real-world issues in projects, your ability to approach problems with creativity and analytical thinking is a proof of your problem-solving abilities. These experiences have not only contributed to your academic success but have also equipped you with a powerful tool for overcoming challenges in any professional setting and can be utilised in your future applications.

As you reflect on your skills, remember that transferable skills can be gained from a wide range of contexts such as academic programme, work experience and even examples from extra-curricular activities. Recognizing and articulating these skills in the application and selection process can be a game-changer as you step into the professional world.

If you are looking to showcase your skills and impress recruiters, this resource on Handshake will be your guide on how to effectively demonstrate the transferable skills that recruiters are looking for: Identify Your Skills & Values.

We're here to help

If you are struggling to identify your skills, you can chat with a Career Coach who will be able to help you find your skills and how to effectively present these in your applications. You can visit the Career Studio any day on a weekday between 10am and 5pm to speak to a Career Coach, no appointments needed!