STEM degrees are generally highly respected, but for those STEM students looking to go into industry rather than academic research what additional skills would be helpful?
Languages are helpful to anyone, of any age or career. They open up job or travel opportunities abroad as well as making you a valuable asset to any internationally facing business. Many students will learn a language at school, so keeping this up at university could put them in a great position after graduation. Ask your university if they organise any language courses, either as additional classes or part of your degree course, or look at online courses.
For those students considering entering more business related fields, these skills are invaluable. Whether you’re a budding entrepeneur, sales person or manager, these skills enable you to use your STEM knowledge for business success. There are loads of online MOOCs on these topics, and your university may offer the opportunity to take related courses as part of your degree course.
Communication, teamwork, leadership, etc.
These generic ‘transferable skills’ you attempt to squeeze into your CV can be obtained from almost any source. Within your degree, you may have an element of group project work, or you can join a society committee. Being in a position where you are managing other students, taking responsibility and accountability, and achieving results is a great way to demonstrate to employers that you can work effectively in a team.
If you’re looking to go into a niche industry or one less closely related to your degree, this can sometimes be challenging to obtain. By far one of the best opportunities are to obtain some form of work experience in the industry – whether that’s a structured internship or a couple of days of work shadowing. However, it is also important to keep on top of industry trends and challenges – so at interview you can demonstrate your genuine interest in the industry.
If you have any more suggestions, share your ideas in the comments section below!