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Learn Your Way: How to boost employability with an online degree

We sat down with Director of Employability, John Watkins, and discussed some of the top transferable skills from studying online to the professional world.

By Elena Carruthers. Published 15 August 2022. Last updated 11 January 2023.

I think many students opted for online study initially because they thought that there would be interruption to face to face studies, so decided to pick an option that would be more certain. Often the students have jobs, families, caring responsibilities or live in different time zones; all lend themselves to studying when, where, and how they prefer rather than via a fixed timetable 

The ability to operate online is a major asset – hybrid working will remain for the majority even if pure work from home only for a minority. Communication, teamwork, and influencing are good examples of traditional skills which have a different angle online – the ability to develop them and appreciate the differences can stand candidates out as they look for job opportunities.

There is clearly lots of competition at entry level in today’s recruitment landscape, and more complexities with personal finances, independent living, and economic challenges. The talent of the future may find it more difficult to understand the modern workplace, having not had much opportunity to experience it first-hand. There is less certainty about the career paths on offer.

To prepare for these challenges, it is important for online students not to limit themselves to just online interactions. It is important to network with people at physical events and ensure that their in-person skillset is as strong as the online version. Likewise, work experience on site is important to complement any virtual opportunities.

Don’t expect the transition from education into work to be straightforward – every generation encounters some difficulties and unforeseen experiences. Find a good mentor to bounce ideas off, listen to wise advice on how to progress and recognise how much value you can offer by offering to share the experiences of a new arrival. Volunteer for everything – you never know what might happen, whether it be an opportunity to develop new skills, meet useful contacts, or decide never to repeat the same thing again, the attitude of putting yourself forward is among the most appealing to an employer.

Arguably the most important resource at your disposal is simply having an impartial, trusted confidant to open up to about ambitions, hopes, dreams and fears. You are not judged, and your situation is rarely unique. The reassurance that this can bring is sometimes as important on the advice on career opportunities and support through recruitment processes. Practical experience is both an asset to the CV and an invaluable opportunity to learn. Pro Bono helps those in need, develops skills and should result in a sense of satisfaction

Put yourself in the shoes of others – it is easy to internalise about what you think, know, and want. Often, though, you are trying to convince others so try to appreciate their viewpoint. This should instil respect for other people, a recognition of just how different we all are, and as you refine this skill you will start to find that you get more and more positive outcomes – it is a piece of life advice that goes beyond just the professional.


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