Career development skills

Taking the time to consider what it is that makes you tick, where your passions lie and what your skills are provides a solid foundation for planning out and developing your career.

It is important to identify the skills that you already have and also the skills you develop through your studies. Employability skills include generic skills and personal attributes and these are developed during your degree, through work experience 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. Below you will find skills and personal attributes employers look for and some suggested opportunities for developing them.

Generic skills

Communication

This includes written, verbal and visual communication. Develop these skills through:

  • writing such as:
    • essays
    • reports
    • your thesis
    • professional papers
    • contributions to newsletters, blogs and other online forums
    • submissions to government consultations
  • speaking activities such as:
    • oral presentations
    • teaching
    • presenting papers
    • interviewing
    • debating
  • visual contributions such as:
    • infographics
    • websites and
      video reports

Teamwork

Group working skills are highly valued as they include people working cooperatively towards common goals, negotiating and listening to other team members. Even if you are completing your studies wholly online, you can develop skills in this area through:

  • group projects
  • sport
  • field work
  • your employment and
    engagement in community groups

Problem solving

Being creative and thinking of possible solutions to problems is a great skill most employers look for. Being able to think of the big picture and break problems down into achievable smaller tasks are key to being a good problem solver. Improve in this area through:

  • problem based learning
  • setting goals for yourself and a series of smaller steps on how you'll achieve them and
    field work

Planning and organisation

Being good with your time comes down to setting goals, allocating resources and people to achieve tasks within set timeframes, using your initiative and thinking of contingencies. Ways to develop these skills include:

  • researching a topic
  • managing your workload effectively, including juggling your:
    • employment
    • study commitments
    • family commitments
    • leisure time
  • making use of organisational tools such as:
    • to-do lists
    • diaries/calendars
    • Gantt charts
    • project management software
    • filing schemes

Self-management

Self-management involves the way you gather, process and use information. It's about taking responsibility for your own learning and reflecting on feedback given to improve your work in the future. Develop your skills in this area by:

  • practicing good time and task management (refer to planning and organisation above)
  • using feedback on tasks (e.g. assignments/essays) to improve in future
  • asking questions about aspects of your learning that you don't fully understand
  • actively seeking feedback when none or little is provided

Technology

Technology has become an integral part of day-to-day life, so it only follows that employers expect you'll possess at least a basic understanding of how to use technology to present and sort information and the ability to apply fundamental IT skills to different software programs. Ways to develop your skills in this area include:

  • become proficient with IT essentials, for example:
  • participating in blogs, webinars and other online forums
  • upskilling through workshops on various software/programs, especially those which relate to your area of interest
  • spreadsheets
  • email
  • internet
  • word processing
  • power point
  • Prezi
  • Dropbox
  • social media from a professional angle, including having a LinkedIn profile
  • studying online (the postgraduate nutrition courses are all taught wholly online)
  • using technology to 'meet' with fellow students for group work

Learning

Autonomous life-long learning is one of the attributes of a Deakin graduate and will set you in good stead for your future career. Being able to apply existing and newly acquired knowledge, as well as being adaptable and receptive to new situations and contributing to a learning community all fall under this skill area. Improve your skills in this area by:

  • attending professional development activities such as courses, conferences and webinars
  • writing publications for industry and academic journals
  • contributing to online blogs, forums and newsletters
  • participating in discussion forums such as those found on relevant professional associations and the Deakin University Postgraduate Nutrition LinkedIn group

Generic personal attributes

  • Enthusiasm
  • Reliability
  • Humour
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to handle pressure

This includes written, verbal and visual communication. Develop these skills through:

  • writing such as:
    • essays
    • reports
    • your thesis
    • professional papers
    • contributions to newsletters, blogs and other online forums
    • submissions to government consultations
  • speaking activities such as:
    • oral presentations
    • teaching
    • presenting papers
    • interviewing
    • debating
  • visual contributions such as:
    • infographics
    • websites
  • video reports

Teamwork

Group working skills are highly valued as they include people working cooperatively towards common goals, negotiating and listening to other team members. Even if you are completing your studies wholly online, you can develop skills in this area through:

  • group projects
  • sport
  • field work
  • your employment
  • engagement in community groups

Problem solving

Being creative and thinking of possible solutions to problems is a great skill most employers look for. Being able to think of the big picture and break problems down into achievable smaller tasks are key to being a good problem solver. Improve in this area through:

  • problem based learning
  • setting goals for yourself and a series of smaller steps on how you'll achieve them
  • field work

Planning and organisation

Being good with your time comes down to setting goals, allocating resources and people to achieve tasks within set time frames, using your initiative and thinking of contingencies. Ways to develop these skills include:

  • researching a topic
  • managing your workload effectively, including juggling your:
    • employment
    • study commitments
    • family commitments
    • leisure time
  • making use of organisational tools such as:
    • to-do lists
    • diaries/calendars
    • Gantt charts
    • project management software
    • filing schemes

Self-management

Self-management involves the way you gather, process and use information. It's about taking responsibility for your own learning and reflecting on feedback given to improve your work in the future. Develop your skills in this area by:

  • practicing good time and task management (refer to planning and organisation above)
  • using feedback on tasks (e.g. assignments/essays) to improve in future
  • asking questions about aspects of your learning that you don't fully understand
  • actively seeking feedback when none or little is provided

Technology

Technology has become an integral part of day-to-day life, so it only follows that employers expect you'll possess at least a basic understanding of how to use technology to present and sort information and the ability to apply fundamental IT skills to different software programs. Ways to develop your skills in this area include:

  • become proficient with IT essentials, for example:
  • participating in blogs, webinars and other online forums
  • upskilling through workshops on various software/programs, especially those which relate to your area of interest
  • spreadsheets
  • email
  • internet
  • word processing
  • power point
  • Prezi
  • Dropbox
  • social media from a professional angle, including having a LinkedIn profile
  • studying online (the postgraduate nutrition courses are all taught wholly online)
  • using technology to 'meet' with fellow students for group work

Learning

Autonomous life-long learning is one of the attributes of a Deakin graduate and will set you in good stead for your future career. Being able to apply existing and newly acquired knowledge, as well as being adaptable and receptive to new situations and contributing to a learning community all fall under this skill area. Improve your skills in this area by:

  • attending professional development activities such as courses, conferences and webinars
  • writing publications for industry and academic journals
  • contributing to online blogs, forums and newsletters
  • participating in discussion forums such as those found on relevant professional associations and the Deakin University Postgraduate Nutrition LinkedIn group
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