Spending any free time that you may have as a postgraduate student in learning some new, practical skills will help you land your first job and give you an edge in the workplace.
Driving Perhaps you already have a driving licence, but if not, now is the time to learn. You don’t want to turn down a great job offer, because the workplace is in a rural setting without good access to public transportation. Once you have a provisional licence, you can pay to take lessons from an instructor or trainee instructor approved by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. Make sure that they are approved to teach driving, because it is illegal to pay an unapproved individual to teach driving skills. If you are short of cash or would rather save it for other things, you can learn from a friend or a family member, who is 21 and has at least three years experience driving. They must also have experience in driving the type of car in which you want to learn. Remember a car with automatic transmission is usually easier to drive. Remember too those L plates, before taking to the road.
Negotiation Negotiation is a very useful personal or workplace skill by which individuals resolve differences of opinion to reach a win-win situation without resorting to unpleasantness or argumentative behaviour. Perhaps your university offers courses or perhaps there are practical workshops in negotiation skills offered in your community.
Computer games Maybe your basic math and numeracy skills could use some improvement. The BBC’s Skillswise offers a variety of practical, math problems for adults using fractions, decimals, formulas and negative numbering. If you are a fan of computer games, Lumosity , used daily by over 50 million individuals is a collection of web-based games that can help improve your cognitive skills. The Human Cognition Project is a collaborative initiative between the developers of Lumosity and academics worldwide, which focuses on understanding and developing the cognitive skills of people.
Time management Time management skills are very important to the workforce as they can, when used correctly, increase productivity. Learn to keep an ongoing to do list. When you are exercising or walking early in the day, use the time to focus on the items on your list that you want to finish today. Sometimes concentrating on one task, until it’s completed makes more sense than multi-tasking, which can be an exhausting activity.
Team Work Learn and practice the skills that make you a good team player. Join a committee or become involved in voluntary work . Make sure you show reliable and consistent behaviour by completing your share of the team’s work on time, all the time. Show up for meetings and demonstrate respect for the ideas and thoughts of other members of the team, even if you don’t agree. This is a highly valued skill in the workplace.
Spending just a little time on developing and refining these skills will help you stand out and compete successfully in the workplace.
Useful Links 5 reasons for postgrads to learn a language Should postgrads learn basic programming?
How to productively procrastinate as a postgrad 5 student hobbies that can help your career