Career development skills

food and nutrition studentsEmployers 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.
  • 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.
  • laboratory work
  • field work
  • group projects
  • sport

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

  • field work
  • problem based learning
  • set goals for yourself and how to achieve them

Planning and organisation
Managing time and setting goals.  Allocating resources and people to task within timeframes. Using your initiative and thinking of contingencies.

  • researching a topic
  • assignments

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • professional development activities such as courses and conferences
  • Publications

Personal attributes

  • enthusiasm
  • reliability
  • humour
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to handle pressure
How to develop these important skills:

Make the most of your time at Deakin
Uni 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 University 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.

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 the Deakin University Student Association (DUSA)

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.

Recording skill development
Keep a record of your skill development (which means what you did, where you did it, where 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.

Back to top