Written by Amber Williams
MSc Forensic Anthropology
Studying a Master’s degree at Bournemouth University has helped enhance and develop transferrable skills which are invaluable when coming to applying for jobs. At undergraduate level and in previous employment these skills are learnt and developed, but they are really tested and developed in postgraduate study!
Organisation and time management are two tremendously important skills for a postgraduate student to have and to improve. Juggling assignments, exams, any part-time employment and responsibilities, all whilst maintaining a social life. A social life cannot be sacrificed, it’s very important to keep some sort of balance, it’s important for your sanity and for your personal development. Employers like to see a balance, that you can achieve academically and have a social life and develop interpersonal skills.
Team work is another important skill that postgraduate study helps to enhance. During the taught portion of my Master’s programme, we had several group projects, including academic posters and presentations. In addition to this, there are situations where working in a team is required in simulation practical situations as well as during dissertation where you are required to work in a team with academics. This is an invaluable skill to learn to work as part of a team made of different people, perhaps those with whom you wouldn’t normally work, and can be transferred between almost every career path.
An important skill to have whilst studying a Master’s is self-motivation and independent study. There is a lot of independent reading and researching involved, even more so than at undergraduate level, as there is less contact time in lectures and seminars. Essentially, if you don’t get it done, it won’t get done for you! It’s a fantastic transferrable skill to be able to demonstrate to future employers, as they value employees with the ability to work with little to no supervision, to be motivated and to take the initiative when needed. Studying independently also develops research and analytical skills, and the ability to critically analyse not only your own work, but the work of others too. This transferable skill can show potential employers that you are a well-rounded individual with the capability to process and filter information.
Another vital transferable skill that is developed during postgraduate study is effective communication. It is impossible to study and not have some communication skills, whether they be verbal or non-verbal, studying at Master’s level enhances and hones these skills. The ability to communicate with professionals in your field as well as those who have no knowledge of your academic field is so important. You will deliver presentations, write essays and professional reports during study and this can be translated into employment, nearly everything is nearly every job requires communication in some form. To be successful, effective communication is essential.
The list of transferable skills is much longer than here, but these are some of the key ones. It is important to remember to establish a work/study/life balance as it is easy to get caught up in study and forget about you! In my opinion, the transferable skills you enhance whilst studying a Master’s are invaluable and are highly regarded by future employers no matter what area you hope to be employed in.