Developing my skills

Employability skills can be developed through your studies and other experiences such as work experience and extra-curricular and community activities.

There are two types of skills which graduates acquire and employers seek:

  • Professional or technical skills: specific skills required by your career field, acquired through study and career-related work experience
  • Employability skills: transferable skills which are common to all work roles and workplaces, acquired through study and career-related work experience, but also through a range of work and other life experiences

Assessing your employability skills

Employability skills are highly valued by employers because they are critical for effective and harmonious performance in the workplace and within a work group. Examples of employability skills include:

  • Interpersonal and communication skills (consistently rated as the most important)
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Initiative

While these skills are certainly developed through your studies, other experiences such as work experience and extra-curricular and community activities are good opportunities to develop further.

Consider conducting a skills audit to assess your employability skills, skills for a particular role or job, or you technical and transferrable skills. Seek advice from a Careers Consultant for assistance or templates.

Ways to improve your skills


Make the most of opportunities within your studies to develop employability skills, eg through group project work, presentations, internship subjects.

Work experience

Internships and other activities such as volunteering and part-time work.

Skills training

In addition to your core University course, there is a range of skills training and development options which might be useful to add to your mix.

Certificates and diplomas

These are formally recognised qualifications offered by Universities and other registered training providers.

  • Concurrent Diplomas offered at the University of Melbourne – in fields such as languages, informatics and global issues.
  • The Victorian Government subsidises some certificate and diploma level course costs for students. Qualifications are delivered online and are open to Australian citizens and those with permanent residency.

Professional development - short courses and single sessions

Offered by a range of organisations, skills topics are many and varied. Examples include project management, copy-editing, website design, making presentations, using Excel and account management.
University of Melbourne students also have access to Pick It Up Online! – a suite of online skills training sessions covering all levels of Office programs and other general professional skills.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Free online subjects offered by a range of Universities around the world, such as Coursera.