Through Academic Study
It is important for you to plan the development of your employability skills early on in your course, and understand that the learning process you are undertaking as part of your degree, has value in other contexts. A small minority of students will be undertaking their studies purely to learn, but with changes to current fee regimes, research suggests that the majority of students come to University to enhance their career and job prospects.
The learning process holds many opportunities to enhance your skills, and your tutors should make explicit the clear links to career management skills in learning outcomes, opportunities to particpate in career planning activities and the opportunity to construct a personal development plan (PDP).
During your studies you will have to write assignments, reports and dissertations, and take part in presentations, discussions and debates. This will help you to develop a wide range of employability skills.
Recording your skills and achievements, and reflecting on what you have learnt, will help to develop your own self-knowledge, and provide a bank of evidence that you can relay to an employer at the application and interview stage.
Through Work Experience
Why not think about gaining some work experience by undertaking a placement or internship, or securing a part-time job? Getting some real work experience is an excellent way for you to develop your skills and check out a potential industry that you are interested in. You should consider the skills you are interested in developing further and then choose an appropriate context from which to gain that experience.
Work experience is really important, even if you are engaged in shop or bar work, there are still great skills that you can draw upon such as customer service, communication skills, numeracy, time management, flexibility etc.
Through Extra-Curricular Activities
During the application process it is important that you articulate all the skills you have gained, and not just those from work or study. You may have been involved in a student society or club, or held a position of responsibility within the University such as a Student Representative or Student Ambassador. Also many students have acquired a range of marketable skills from undertaking voluntary work but do not always record this as they think 'it isn't important'. All of these extra-curricular activities help to develop leadership and organisational skills, commercial awareness, self confidence and good communication to name but a few. Check out the Student Union web pages, and the Bolton Award pages to see what you could get involved in.