Doing the PhD

a PORT for Modern Languages tutorial

4 Managing your time

4.5 transferable skills

Managing your time is one of the most important transferable skills you acquire through postgraduate study, whether you decide to pursue your career in an academic environment or not. That is the reason why the list of Skills for Graduates in the 21st Century (defined by The Association of Graduate Recruiters) states that time management figures as one of the most appreciated (and required) abilities. By the end of your postgraduate course/research you should have refined the following skills:

  • the ability to define and promote your own agenda.
  • the ability to plan a course of action by continually reminding yourself of the following questions: 'where am I now?', 'where do I want to be?', 'how do I get there?'.
  • the ability to implement an action plan by organizing time effectively, identifying steps needed to reach the goal, preparing contingency plans.
  • monitoring and evaluating progress against specific objectives.
  • the ability to understand personal priorities and constraints - internal and external, which includes the need for a sustainable balance of work and home life - as well as the ability to make an informed decision based on the available opportunities.
  • the ability to adapt goals in the light of changing circumstances and to take a myriad of tiny risks.
  • the ability to apply skills to new contexts. This is a higher level skill, since skills are not automatically transferable.
  • learning from mistakes.
  • having an underlying confidence in abilities, based on past successes.

These skills are all highly appreciated in any job environment, so start cultivating them now!