Education is an essential part of everyday life. We learn in so many ways, including traditional classroom-based lessons and real-life skills. Each is as important as the next, but to get ahead, you need to take it a step further to expand your knowledge and experience.
As individuals move through education, university is often the transitional phase into full-time employment. However, traditional lesson-taught degrees are not the only way to gain this type of qualification.
Online options are available, and many intuitions offer further study, for example, these Suffolk University graduate programs to undertake a master’s degree. In this type, of course, you learn a host of things relevant to your field of study, plus a host of transferable skills that make you more employable.
Online study is a great way to get the experience and skills you need to get into a wide variety of graduate positions. So take a look at what makes studying online a great way to get the best jobs.
Improved computer literacy
It’s surprising that according to a report compiled in 2018 by the Centre of Economics and Business Research that:
‘Around 12pc of the population will lack basic digital literacy within a decade and the adoption of new technology threatens their ability to pay bills, contact their bank, book flights, renew their passport and check their benefits.’
It is often assumed everyone knows how to use a computer and that is very true for graduates. However, digital literacy goes a lot further when you have studied online. The use of different types of technology gives individuals a more extensive grasp of what is expected of them in work environments. Examples of systems used include:
- Video conferencing
- Emails and social media
- Content management systems to collate work and projects
Using a variety of software and systems within an education environment opens up a greater understanding that is transferable to the workplace. It also shows that you will only require a small amount of training to take up in-house processes as you already have a basic grasp of the technology.
Broader communication skills
Communication happens in many ways; however, in an online setting, it is vital to set the right tone. We’ve all misinterpreted an email or two, so employers understand the complexities that come with communication in the digital space. Effective communication ensures you take the correct tone in online correspondence and allows you to iterate precisely what you need without going back and forth in confusion.
Many working environments have a wide range of communication methods, especially if they deal with overseas locations and remote workers. The transferable skills learned while completing an online master’s degree gives a solid background in communicating both online and via digital correspondence. This type of communication also deals with several levels of people, including industry experts, faculty members and course peers. Each type of person requires a slightly different approach and getting this balance right can help to manage similar situations within the work environment.
Effective time management
This is often one of the most critical aspects of employability and is something that can take years to master. However, when you take a course of online study, managing your time becomes a natural part of the process. Most people will be in full-time jobs or working around other commitments when doing a master’s degree so being successful in your course comes down to juggling many balls.
In employment, this is transferable on several levels including:
- Managing workflows and projects
- Meeting deadlines
- Organising others in a team
- Decreases stress in pressured situations
Improves research skills
Independent study is one of the main aspects of online degrees, so this type of course naturally opens up an individual to take on research in isolation. On a course, students learn how to make the most of this study time to get the best results. This type of study also requires something more than just searching on Google for the answers. Navigating internal systems of an institute and searching records in online libraries plus other resources showcases the ability to find information outside of the normal channels.
This aptitude for research can also be applied in work environments, and employers will look at how this translated into a successful outcome based on your grades and project work.
Another vital skill in any workplace is being able to collaborate with others successfully. That’s not to say you’ll like everyone. However, it’s how people deal with all types of situation that shows real strength in this area. Online study offers students the chance to collaborate on projects in a unique way. Most of it online! When you work remotely, there are some many things to think about including curating work, allowing input from everyone, solving problems and creating presentations all within a virtual environment.
This itself is very challenging. Face to face collaboration is a far more straightforward concept, and employers will take on board the complexities of remote teamwork. Many jobs involve this type of cooperation and in some cases; you’ll never meet teammates face to face as they are in different locations. The experience of this from online study gives students a head start and shows how well they can work in an innovative environment.
Students are rarely successful in the online study if they have no self-motivation. Due to the workload and time management needed in this type of course, individuals cannot skim through with an aim to be successful. As you are accountable to yourself, self-motivation ensures you stay on the right path throughout the study period.
The primary transition skill here is the success you enjoy at the end. This shows employers that you have worked hard at pushing the boundaries of study and lifestyle and compromised on some aspects to get the best outcomes.
Self-motivation shows employers:
- Your passion
- Motivation to succeed
- Time management skills
This skill also shows employers that students that study online can overcome problems and persist in their endeavours. This translates to staying on track in the workplace and working with others to tackle a range of difficulties.
Ability to think critically
One of the main issues that employers have with hiring inexperienced staff is the initial dependence on other people within the organisation. This is natural in the first few months as everything is new. However, as progression is made, businesses look for newcomers to start making their own decisions without being told how to act. While traditional university students may take some time to feel confident with this, online students have had to think critically throughout their course.
This skill comes from working in isolation and not having someone to hand immediately to ask for help. As the online study also often happens around other commitments, lifestyle is also juggled, which also builds confidence in making decisions and prioritising workload.
If a student or graduate is already able to show these skills to potential employers, then it can be seen favourably during selection.
It can be challenging for any student to step into the world of work and confidence is something that new graduates struggle with. Online study is often viewed as a personal journey, something that you have taken upon yourself to better your future. This might not feel immediately like confidence when you start the journey, but conquering your fears and tackling difficult challenges along the way builds upon it.
Confidence helps in a number of ways, including:
- Meeting new people
- Decreasing pressure in interview situations
- Ability to express yourself well
- Determination to discuss your beliefs and passions
Listening to others
A natural part of the study is listening, and it is a much-unappreciated skill when it comes to the workplace. A quote that resonates with this in the much-loved Rocky films says – ‘you can’t learn anything when you’re talking. As long as you’re talking, you’re not listening.’
In an online study, students learn by listening to others all the time whether that’s lecturers, peers or mentors. This is an important transferable skill, especially when you move on to managing a team and working with others. Listening makes people better leaders and is something that should be embedded into every aspect of a student’s lifestyle.
Throughout the online study, students take part in remote study groups and webinar-style lessons. This type of learning is a form of social networking, which can translate into the workplace. Alongside its associations with collaboration skills, this widens the skillset to include working effectively with external influences such as clients and suppliers. Networking is also a great way to build relationships within specific industries and can improve internal and external relations for companies.
Whether you are currently studying or researching online courses to further your career, there are a number of options that are perfect for strengthening your employability. These transferable skills are valued in a myriad of organisations and sectors; so further learning could be the key to unlocking your potential.