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Developing skills during your time as a postgraduate student

A postgraduate degree is usually the last stop before entering the world of work, so it is crucial that you make the most out of this time and build all of the necessary skills that you need in order to better your chances of succeeding in the career that you want, after all this may well be the reason you are undertaking a masters degree in the first place. Doing this will allow you to gain an edge over other students as you will be able to bring all the required skills needed for a particular career, therefore matching an employer's ideal applicant perfectly.


Building the skills you need isn’t difficult to do because postgraduates are in a perfect position to learn new skills as they have all of a university's resources in the palm of their hands. Using your time as a postgraduate to build up your skills set is a sensible thing to do and is actually a rather large part of the postgraduate life.

First things first

The first thing that you should do is decide what skills you need/wish to learn that may help you out in the future. A good way to do this is to research potential careers that you are interested in and to write down your hobbies and interests. Then narrow the list down to the most important skills that you will need. It is important to bear in mind that you don’t just have to choose skills that are related to your degree. Once you have made your final list it is then time to go and do some learning.

Developing skills as a postgraduate student The library

The university library is a brilliant place to learn new skills as it will be packed with books on a wide range of subject areas. Students tend to just assume that the university library is only useful for taking out books on their own subject. Many do not realise that you can take whatever type of book you like from the library. Don’t just turn up at the library and pick books at random. Before you go you should make a list of the books you are looking for as this will make your search much quicker and easier.

Libraries now tend to offer ebooks as well, which may save you the journey to the library. You can simply use the universities website to check if there are any ebooks available that would be of use to you. You can then view them for free at home, allowing you to dedicate more time to building up your skill set.

Careers centre

Most universities have a careers centre and as a postgraduate you will be of the highest priority to them. The reason for this is because you are the students who are closest to entering the world of work.
Careers centres are superb for finding out information on possible careers and finding out what you need to do to acquire the skills that you need. If you are ever unsure of what you need to be doing the careers centre is a wise place to go as they will point you in the right direction and get you back on track.

Voluntary work & work experience

There are always plenty of volunteering and work experience opportunities when you are a postgraduate student. Universities are always running different kinds of volunteering schemes and building links to employers for their students.

A good place to start is to check out your university’s student union to see what is going on and to see if there are any vacancies. Apply for things that interest you and that are going to benefit you the most. If you are, or are planning to be, a part-time student and work at the same time it is a good idea to try and find a job that will allow you to develop the skills that you need.

Use the internet

The internet is a wonderful tool to use for learning new skills . There are many websites that offer free courses and information on all types of things. Whatever it is that you are interested in the internet is sure to have something on it. For example if you want to teach yourself a new languages there are hundreds of websites for doing so.

Not all students take full advantage of the internet, and this is a waste of an opportunity as it provides a wealth of information at your fingertips – if you use it wisely it really can benefit you for the rest of your life.


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