Careers, Entrepreneurship & Study Abroad

Graduate employability skills and attributes

What are employability skills?

The selection criteria for graduate opportunities often asks for evidence of employability skills or competences - sometimes called transferable skills, as they can be developed in one context (such as extra-curricular activities or volunteering) but transfer into the workplace.

Employability skills are the broader skills, which largely apply to a greater or lesser extent to most jobs and are indicators of potential.

Employers argue that someone can study a subject, such as Human Resources, but it does not necessarily mean that they have the skills to work in Human Resources. However, if they have good communication skills, influencing skills, organisational skills and team-working skills, these are stronger indicators of their likely ability to work in Human Resources.

Which employability skills do employers want?

The skills employers ask for vary depending on the job, and what it involves, but the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) in partnership with Universities UK, identified a number of skills which employers seek from graduates. View the skills identified by Future Fit - Preparing Graduates for the world of work.

 University of Hull Graduate Attributes

The University of Hull has identified graduate attributes pertaining to our graduates, which take into account 'behaviours' as well as skills and knowledge.  Attributes are of three types:

  • Skills and competences – knowing how to do something (for example: ‘write effectively for a range of audiences’)
  • Knowledge – what you know: in the context of the distinctive Hull graduate, this refers to knowledge about the key issues that all Hull graduates should be aware of (for example: understanding the connection between the discipline and key global issues; an understanding of moral and ethical issues)
  • Behaviours – putting skills and knowledge into practice in real world contexts (for example: making a contribution to local communities; supporting and encouraging the development of others; contributing to the enhancement of intercultural understanding)

Collectively these are described as graduate attributes.  The University is committed to enabling students to develop these attributes through their programmes of study and through a wide variety of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.  The University also recognises that a Hull graduate should also be able to reflect upon and articulate the skills, knowledge and behaviours that they have developed during their time at Hull. 

The skills and competences, knowledge and behaviours identified within the  Hull Graduate Attributes Framework  are:  

Skills and competences
Critical and independent thinking

Students should be able to develop ideas independently:

Defend ideas confidently when constructively challenged by others, challenge accepted practices or ideas with reasoned arguments, be able to think critically and analytically to evaluate arguments and propose solutions to challenges;use initiative to solve problems; able to collate, manipulate and interpret quantitative and/or qualitative data, and convey their meaning to others and put theory into practice.

Team-working and Leadership

Students should be able to work collaboratively with others and appreciate the value of other people's strengths:

Work effectively as part of a team by contributing to team tasks and taking on a range of the team roles;contribute ideas and suggestions to group activities;persuade and negotiate;explore a range of alternative options to find appropriate solutions to problems;make plans for own or group activities, identify and mitigate risks and deal with change and uncertainty.

Digital literacy & knowledge management

Students should be able to identify and assess current knowledge gaps and construct strategies to address these:

Choose and use digital tools and appropriate blends of technology to suit needs; use both generic and specialist digital tools, data sets and services effectively and efficiently;  locate, access, understand, critically evaluate, manage and use information in multiple formats (including digital and physical) from a wide range of sources; manage digital identities and public-private boundaries in online social spaces to maintain professional reputation, stay safe and cope with  distractions and digital overload and engage with and collaborate in online information and communications networks


Students should be able to present themselves and their work in a range of settings and in an appropriate way:

Write effectively for a range of audiences; communicate orally to a range of audiences; reflect on the impact of different behaviours and their use of language on groups and situations and seek, offer and receive advice, support and constructive criticism to / from a range of people (peers, supervisors).


Students should be able to manage their own learning:

Manage their time  and effectively manage pressure. Students should also be able to manage their career by identifying and working towards achieving their next career move.

Specific to  Programme of study Students should have an understanding of how their discipline, and other disciplines, approach and solve problems through research, scholarship and practice;  of the connection between their discipline and key global issues and of the interdisciplinary issues which affect global, national and local communities.
Non-subject specific Students should have an understanding of moral and ethical issues;of innovation, risk and the pursuit of opportunities; of their own and other cultures, values and beliefs and of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and communities .

Students should have experience of having put skills and knowledge into practice in real world contexts by:

Contributing to positive change and development in their communities (local communities, societies, workplace) through action or research; reflecting on, articulating and evidencing their achievements using PDP tools; supporting and encouraging the development of others; participating actively in student democracy and representation; demonstrating leadership ;developing personal cultural capital; contributing to the enhancement of intercultural understanding; developing an international outlook; developing creative approaches and identifying opportunities to implement them  


How do I demonstrate that I have these skills?

You can demonstrate that you have these skills knowledge and behaviours by providing a specific example of an occasion when you used them. Online application forms often steer you towards providing evidence, by asking questions, such as:

  • Tell us about an occasion when you worked as a member of a team.  What was your role in the team, and what was the team working towards?
  • Give us an example of when you have solved a problem, what was your strategy and what was the outcome?
  • Use C-A-R to structure your examples.

Hull Employability Awards

The Hull Employability Awards complement a degree and recognise a level of success in developing the skills and attributes of Hull graduates and stand as an endorsement of employability.  Find out more about the Hull Employability Awards.

View information about applications and interviews, and how to prepare for such questions:

Successful applications


  careers - linked in logo - inFacebook icon  careers - twitter logoCareers - blog icon


Back to top