Survive and thrive: skills for a post-COVID-19 world

In this post, Katie Hoare from Careers Network introduces her new occasional series, “survive and thrive”, looking at the skills most sought after by employers.  It’s likely that you are already developing and using these highly transferable skills in your research.

The world has changed.  COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of society and both people and businesses need to adapt and learn in order to survive.

An image from the University of Birmingham Graduate School and Careers Network.  The text in the image says PG Skills: skills to survive and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.

As a postgraduate researcher you are accustomed to learning new things and you are already developing an excellent set of transferable skills such as research, independence, project management and communication.  Now all you need to do is augment this with the top skills employers are looking for and when the time comes for you to seek employment, be it during or after your degree, you will be a very attractive candidate for roles both within and beyond academia.

The top skills

By researching and analysing several reputable in-depth surveys of top graduate employers (CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2019, Prospects Skills Shortages in the UK 2019/20, Institute of Student Employers Student Development Survey 2020) along with opinion pieces by industry experts (Forbes, LinkedIn Learning, World Economic Forum) I have identified those skills most sought after by employers.

If you can master some of these skills and evidence them in your job applications and interviews you could gain an advantage over the competition.  Additionally these skills will also help you to do your job better once you have secured employment.  They are not a one-time single use asset purely to help you enter the job market, they are endlessly useful and you will continue to develop them throughout your career.

This new occasional series will cover each of these skills in turn, providing definitions, context, employers’ perspectives, real-world examples and ways to develop these skills further.  You may already have noticed that you can find most of these skills in Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework and you will almost definitely be developing them to a certain extent through your research degree.  The challenge is to translate these highly transferrable skills into a work scenario and to understand the business need and perspective.

How Careers Network can help

The PG Skills series from Careers Network will deliver training, resources and support to help you master these skills to survive and thrive in the post-COVID-19 job market.  The first PG Skills workshop of the 2020-21 academic year will teach you strategies to understand the job market, and recognise how Covid-19 and other external factors have impacted on your sector/s of interest and show you tools and resources to help you discover the challenges and opportunities available.

Careers Network also run PGR-specific alumni panel events, careers support workshops and offer 1:1 careers advice.  Visit the Careers Network for Postgraduate Researchers webpage to find out more.

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