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Evidencing self-management skills

Self-management is one of the key skills employers look for when recruiting graduates. This guide provides details on the attitude and drive needed to self manage and demonstrates the ways in which you can evidence your self-management skills.

The professionals and graduates interviewed in the 'Standing out' videos all demonstrated proficiency in managing themselves. They cited examples from their careers that showed their skill in taking feedback and learning from it and in being opportunistic. They articulated how their individual talents were an important asset to a business and they were assertive enough to communicate their ideas with clarity.

As well as having the necessary transferable skills, self-management is a matter of attitude and drive. Through her willingness to take on additional duties, one professional ensured that she would always be the first person who would be thought of when new work was being discussed. She demonstrated that she could be flexible and was willing to undertake tasks outside of her remit.

How to demonstrate and evidence self-management skills

Flexibility

Give examples of when you demonstrated you could be called upon to take on additional urgent duties and when you had to change a course of action.

Tenacity and resilience

Give examples of when you have stuck at something in order for the objective to be achieved in spite of difficulties which arose.

Self-starting

This is evidenced through examples of when you initiated a project/idea/process or brought in a new client or business with little instruction from management.

Appropriate assertiveness

According to Sue Bishop (2010), assertiveness is being able to express yourself confidently without being aggressive, passive or manipulative and having respect for the views and feelings of others. Essentially it is about effective communication.

In an interview situation you will be demonstrating your assertiveness; therefore it is important that you practice. Tips for developing appropriate assertiveness skills and building your confidence will be discussed in Guide 13: Improving your confidence.

Time management

Show evidence of how you plan your time, over a semester, month and day, e.g.

Give examples of your ability to juggle responsibilities of part-time work, studies, personal life.

Show evidence of having planned time at university to encompass the demands of the course and additional learning opportunities.

Show evidence of fitting in attendance at seminars or other events organised by professional organisations that were supplementary to the programmes of study.

Time-keeping

Give examples from voluntary or part-time work.

Show evidence of your punctuality over a period of time.

Improving on own performance

Show evidence of having devised Personal Development Plans based on your own strengths and learning development targets or when you have reflected on your performance at university or in a work situation and taken action as a result.

Give examples of when you have acted upon feedback.

Responsibility

Give examples of occasions when you have been personally entrusted with a task or taken charge of situations which have had successful outcomes.

Organisation skills

Give examples of how you have tackled a project over a period of time and be able to discuss how you approached the planning and implementation of the task.

Give examples of how you have successfully organised the work of others.

References

Bishop, S. (2010) Develop Your Assertiveness. London: Kogan Page.

Future fit: Preparing graduates for the world of work. (2009) Available at: http://www.cbi.org.uk/pdf/20090326-CBI-FutureFit-Preparing-graduates-for-the-world-of-work.pdf (Accessed: November 2010).

Flexibility, resilience, self-starting, appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve your own performance based on feedback and reflective learning and readiness to accept responsibility.

Confederation of British Industry (CBI) definition of Self-management