Building your skills portfolio

Work experience itself is just one component which supports your transition to the next stage of your career. Although an experience can be a busy time, it’s also a golden opportunity to try and apply and further develop some key employability skills. Taking a more focused approach can help you cement your learning.

Below are listed the key Student Futures employability skills and some suggested resources to help you really focus on the particular skill before, during and after your experience. Select each skill to move through to the Student Futures platform.


All work experiences will require you to conduct yourself in a manner appropriate to the industry and professional relationship. Producing quality work, being reliable, honest and respectful all lie at the core of this.

Supporting resources

Initiative and enterprise

When working with industry, try to think of ways you can push the boundaries of what their current practice is. Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you have an idea for additional research or work that goes beyond the scope of what they asked for, but may improve the outcome, then make sure you suggest it!

Supporting resources

Intercultural competence

Both within your team of peers and your industry partner organisation, you will likely be working with people from a variety of backgrounds that are dissimilar to your own. It is crucial to a good working environment that you make sure you are aware and respectful of how your behaviours and language could be interpreted between cultures.

Supporting resources

Planning and organisation

Whether you are working with industry clients, mentors or if you’re placed in their organisation, they will expect you to meet certain standards for organisation and pre-planning. This will include issues such as ensuring you are early or on time for meetings, meeting deadlines set for deliverable tasks and ensuring your personal workload is clearly defined and manageable.

Supporting resources

Problem identification and solution

If you identify a problem that is relevant to your industry partner don’t be afraid to raise it, after you have given some thought into how the problem could be addressed. For example if a business process is inefficient and is slowing the progress of a certain project, try to brainstorm ways it could be streamlined.

Supporting resources

  • A list of strategies from the University of New England that identifies and explores a variety of methods for problem solving.
  • The following article from ‘Fast Company’ on the best ways to approach a problem in order to identify the solution.


Working effectively as a member of a team requires each person to contribute and commit to a shared goal. This will likely mean taking the time to meet with your team members regularly (whether they are industry personnel or fellow students) and ensure you're meeting your deadlines.

Supporting resources

  • A published article by the international job seeking platform, Monster, around how to be a good team player in a professional context.
  • If you want to explore how you can be a better team player, try the Lynda online module for Teamwork Foundations.

Use of tools and technology

As well as the discipline-specific technical skills you may need for your experience, many workplaces require basic knowledge of commonly used tools and platforms. These often include the Microsoft Office suite (especially Word and Excel) and Google Drive.

Supporting resources

Try visiting online MOOC site for short courses on the variety of technology and tools that may be required by your industry partner, including: