Vital career skills you won't learn at university

1 minute read | 8 July 2022

Because we are you Career Partner for Life, we are here to help you through every stage of your career. Regardless of your background and education, navigating through the professional world can be hard. Therefore, we’ve created a list of the top skills university won’t teach you. By exploring your proficiency in this, you will be able to understand the areas you are strong in and the areas you might need to work on.

Working with People.

Sure, if you went to college or university, you’ve had a significant amount of group projects and encountered few different personalities in the process. However, in the work world this will be more noticeable and of higher importance.  You’ll need to learn how to deal with the subtle social aspects of your office culture and the people who make it that way. You won’t just be working with your peers/ university colleagues anymore, you’ll need to understand how people from all generations and backgrounds operate. In addition to this, your project group won’t dissolve at the end of the semester, it will always be there, so you need to get along in a respectful and professional matter.


In most traditional classrooms, there’s no room for negotiation, despite this being one of the most important skills in any workplace. This is a vital skill that will come particularly handy in certain sectors such as marketing or sales. However, being able to properly negotiate your salary, benefits or a pay rise is important in any career.

Socialising and Networking.

Networking and socialising will benefit you long term and help improve yourself and your career. Success in a career is largely attributed to the pool of information or ideas you have accumulated over your profession and life experience. When networks have been created, it fosters a trade of ideas to sustain long-term relationships and mutual trust. Networking and socialising, even with people that are not in your industry, will open the door for newer opportunities. By improving your socialising and networking skills, you are essentially bettering your communications skills which will have a domino effect into other areas.

This is also tied to work etiquette, but for example being able to build relationships with people from your team will make your work environment a lot healthier. 

Handling Feedback.

Feedback is significantly different at school compared to the working world. For example, if you got a B on a paper at school you might be ecstatic and happy with your result. However, at work you probably won’t be told you got a B. You’ll be given feedback and will have to figure out what it really means and make the effort to get an A next time.

On the other hand, when you do an exceptional job at work, 9 times out of 10 you won’t get the satisfaction of the extra + on your A.  You might not get nothing at all or a simple “thank you”. This is to say, professional feedback or the lack of it, might be hard to adjust to. Learning to deal with different types of feedback and being able to make the most out of the different approaches to this, is a big skill to have that will help you move through your career smoothly.

Workplace Etiquette.

Workplace etiquette can have a significant impact on your professional life and career progression. How you present yourself professionally speaks volumes and has an impact on how others perceive you. Co-workers and management might form an impression of you within the first couple of minutes so it’s important to ensure you present yourself as a professional. It is important to notice how important it is for you to understand your work environment. It can be difficult to discern at first the values, the culture, the policies, and procedures but there’s nothing wrong in asking for guidance if you have questions. We wrote an article on this topic, check it out here.

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