Career development skills

Nutritionist analysing in lab. Employers seek graduates who have general employability skills as well as specific discipline knowledge and skills as these contribute to people becoming effective employees in the workplace.

Employability skills include generic skills and personal attributes and are developed during your course, through work experiences and by participating in extra-curricular activities.
Employers are interested in your activities, but more so in the process of you recognising when and how you acquire the skill and what you have learnt from it.

A guide to the skills and personal attributes that employers look for:

Generic skills


This skill relates to how you communicate with others at university, work and during your free time. It includes written, verbal and visual communication. You can develop this through:

  • essay or report writing
  • oral presentations
  • debating

Group working skills are highly valued as they include people working cooperatively towards common goals, negotiating and listening to other team members. You can develop this through:

  • laboratory work
  • field work
  • group projects
  • sport
  • your employment

Problem solving:
Being creative and thinking of possible solutions to problems. Thinking big picture, and breaking the problem down into achievable smaller tasks.  You can develop this through:

  • field work
  • problem based learning
  • set goals for yourself and how to achieve them
  • industry based learning projects or placements

Planning and organisation:
Managing time and setting goals. Allocating resources and people to task within timeframes. Using your initiative and thinking of contingencies.  You can develop this through:

  • researching a topic
  • assignments
  • events
  • prioritising activities

Self management:
Involves taking responsibility for your own learning and reflecting on feedback given to improve the work in the future. Gather process and use information. You can develop this through:

  • acted on tutor or lecturer feedback
  • study skills

Possess basic IT skills together with the ability to use different software programs. Use technology to present or sort information.  You can develop this through:

  • use spreadsheets, email, internet or word processing
  • online study

Possess a positive approach to learning and applying new knowledge to new situations. Being adaptable and receptive to new learning situations. Contribute to a learning community. You can develop this through:

  • professional development activities such as courses and conferences
  • publications

Personal attributes include:

  • enthusiasm
  • reliability
  • humour
  • attention to detail
  • ability to handle pressure

Specialist skills in dietetics:

  • interested in food, nutrition and health
  • enjoy communicating with people
  • have an aptitude for science
  • critical and enquiring mind
  • good organisational skills and initiative
  • good written and verbal communication skills
  • able to work effectively with people

During your degree in Dietetics you will complete learning activities and assessment tasks which will address the dietetic core competencies and help you develop specialist skills in dietetics.

Refer to Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) website for details on 'Specialist Competencies in Dietetics'.
National Competency Standards for entry level dietitians.

So now you must be wondering how to develop these important skills and become employable. Read on to find out!

How to develop these important skills:

Make the most of your time at Deakin
University is about much more than just going to classes. It can also provide great opportunities for self development that will literally pay off. Employers seek students who get involved in extracurricular activities that showcase their interests and strengths and which add real value to their academic studies.

How will you get involved?


  • Become a DUSA student representative and put your organisational and leadership skills to use by organising events and addressing advocacy issues for students
  • Volunteering at other community based organisations

Be a team player who plays collaboratively, sets goals, thinks strategically and keeps fit.  You may even get to represent Deakin at the Southern University Games and Australian Uni Games.

Jobshop has vacancies listed for part time, casual, full time and tutoring positions which can introduce you to the world of work. If you need assistance with creating a resume then attend one of the resume workshops at Careers and Employment.

Deakin Alumni - career and information interviewing mentoring program (CIIMS):

CIIMS allows final year undergraduate and all postgraduate students to connect with members of the Alumni for the purposes of career development and information in order to help improve graduate employment outcomes.

Duke of Edinburgh awards:
Attain the internationally recognised Duke of Edinburgh Award (gold level available) whilst at Deakin. The award provides opportunities to set goals, undergo personal development, pursue your interests and gain a range of practical skills.

Student societies:
Joining a student society related to your course can be a great networking opportunity. Meet with people who have similar interests to you, get to know the employers in your field and access opportunities available for work experience.

Examples of relevant societies:

  • Food and Nutrition Science Students (FANS)
  • Deakin Promoting Health Network (DPHN)
  • Deakin Uni Sport Studies Club (DUSSC)
  • Physical Education Student Society (PESS)

Information about all of these student societies is available from Deakin University Student Association (DUSA).

Recording skill development:

Keep a record of your skill development (which means what you did, where you did it, when you did it and how it was developed) to refer to in your resume, covering letter or job interviews.  Register with Jobshop and Career Hub and use My Profile to record your achievements and skill development.

Link to Deakin careers website:
For help with resumes go to resume builder.
For help with covering letter go to career guides and resources.

Career advice:

You can go to the Careers and Employment office on your campus for resources or you can make an appointment to see a careers counsellor.
You will also be able to seek information and advice on your specific career goal by approaching your lecturers.

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