What do you have to offer?
Taking stock of what you have to offer in terms of experience, skills, knowledge and abilities at the start of your postgraduate study.
To understand more fully what you want to gain from postgraduate study, setting a baseline can be useful. As we progress through education, employment, and life generally, we are constantly accumulating new skills and experiences. Reflecting on the skills and abilities you have developed so far will help you take stock and prioritise those areas you would like to build on during postgraduate study.
What have you done and what does this mean?
Record the different kinds of experience you have gained so far from education and training, work (full-time, part-time, and voluntary) and other activities (such as involvement with local community groups or societies). Having an accurate record of this will ensure you consider all of the experiences that have helped you develop as an individual, and can help you to reflect on exisiting areas for development. Your CV or online social media profile (e.g. on LinkedIn) may be a good starting point.
Develop an account of each of your experiences, detailing what you did (tasks and responsibilities for work; key courses and projects for education) and how you did it (skills used and attributes demonstrated). How did you spend your time, and what are your main achievements? This could be specialist subject knowledge, insight into a specific career area or business sector, academic or other work-related skills, or positive attributes that you have displayed in different situations.
It is worth recording this in detail as it will help you to identify any areas that you would like to concentrate on developing during your postgraduate study. In addition, it is a useful record for the future when different parts of your experience may be of interest to different employers or for further study beyond this postgraduate degree.
You may want to use the worksheet below to help you to record and reflect on your experience. You can also use it to help with setting goals for your postgraduate study.
Identify any gaps in your skills, knowledge or experience. These could be areas that you would like to gain experience or confidence in or that will help you engage in a more focused way with your postgraduate studies or career planning. The setting goals section of this website will help you to identify what your gaps may be.
How can you use your time effectively during your postgraduate study to start filling some of these gaps? Making the most of your postgraduate studies will help you identify ways of achieving this.