CSM student and staff handbook

6 Employability

The Career Zone (https://www.exeter.ac.uk/careers/exeter/comeandseeus-cornwall/):is found on Level 0 of The Exchange. Careers advisers are available for individual interviews at any stage during your studies. They can help with career choice, preparing CVs and applications, finding the right employer, and ways of enhancing your employability. The extensive Careers Library is based within the Student Services office and has databases for funding, volunteering and working abroad. You are very welcome to drop in and browse. Advice on preparation and polish for CVs and interview technique is timetabled in Years 1, 2 and 3 to assist you in securing a work placement and finding your first destination employment. Contact on 01326 253735, email: cc-careers@exeter.ac.uk.

You will struggle to get a good job without a good degree, but having one is no longer a guaranteed way of getting a good job. Employers now expect more from you. In particular, they expect you to have developed a range of skills in addition to the subject-specific knowledge gained from your degree and, crucially, you’re expect to be able to reflect meaningfully on how you acquired these skills and their usefulness.

In CSM we help you to develop these personal and key skills. Employers like to recruit graduates who have ‘joined in’, worked as a team, shown leadership, or spent time travelling and experiencing new situations and cultures – so long as you have learnt something from it. Skills, personal qualities and experiences may be developed both through your academic programme and through extra curricula activities. These all add up to increase your employability – your preparedness for, and ability to, work. If you are to appear credible to an employer it is vital that you reflect on your skills acquisition at every stage of your degree so that you build up a portfolio of skills and personal development.



Employability is broadly about five key areas:

  • knowledge and understanding of the subject that you have chosen to study,
  • developing skills, both subject specific and personal and key skills,
  • knowing who you are, being willing to try things out and being able to take responsibility for your own development and learning,
  • strategic thinking or reflection – thinking about what you have done and how it has helped you develop as a person, not just doing it,
  • Possessing appropriate personal qualities.

When you apply for jobs at the end of your degree, you will be expected to demonstrate that you have some, if not all, of the skills and attributes set out in the list below. Graduate application forms require you to identify, describe and provide evidence for all of your qualities and skills. It may be that there are gaps in your personal profile – and now is the time to take action, before you reach the job-application stage.


Personal and Key Skills

Personal and Key skills are not specifically related to the subject that you are studying, but are transferable between all subjects and hopefully situations. These are:

  • Self-management,
  • Managing your learning,
  • Communication,
  • Team / group work / managing others,
  • Problem solving,
  • Data handling,


Work Experience

Many employers want to recruit graduates who have some work experience and understand how businesses work. Doing part-time work during term time or during the vacations can help you develop attributes that employers desire – such as managing your time more effectively, being more realistic and helping you to develop a more mature attitude. For information about work experience, voluntary work, training courses and skills sessions, and how to make the most of them so that employers find you too attractive to miss out on, please go to: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/careers/.

Back to contents page