While there are many lists of these ’employability’ skills, at Oxford we focus on the key eight skills – based on the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s report, Future Fit.

This page focuses on Communication. To read more about the other seven employability skills, click on the links below.


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These ideas are ways to start enhancing your communication skills. You’re unlikely to use these as evidence of communication skills in a written application, but they might be things you reference in conversation at interview.

  • Be honest with yourself about which areas of communication you are good at, and which you need to improve. Think about written and spoken communication, and communicating at different levels with different audiences.
  • Debate ideas with friends – in person, on Facebook and on WhatsApp.
  • Initiate conversations with people you don’t know. This can help you gain confidence in networking. Our Careers Fairs are great places to try this out.
  • Watch TED Talks about better presentations.
  • Arrange a couple of information interviews.

Don’t forget that writing essays, doing presentations and speaking up in tutorials are all ways that you communicate ideas. Think about how you can improve these skills.

These are all quick ways you can boost your communication skills, and can be referred to in applications.

  • Write an article or review for a student publication, or for a special interest magazine.
  • Enter an essay competition.
  • Join a society, and take opportunities to develop your communication skills, e.g. debating, presenting, liaising with external stakeholders etc.
  • Make publicity materials for a society, event or conference.
  • Be responsible for social media for your Common Room, student society or research group.
  • Contact guest speakers to ask them to attend a society event you are helping to organise.
  • Support college admissions with outreach work – for example by helping out at Open Days.
  • Visit schools to encourage students to apply to Oxford.
  • Create a YouTube presentation that explain an aspect of your course to people not doing a degree in your subject.
  • Take part in a college telethon fundraising campaign, encouraging alumni to donate.
  • Participate in Media Training. Research Councils sponsor these TV & Radio training workshops for research staff, and Oxford IT offers skills training for students.
  • Create your own website / blog or Twitter feed to engage a wider audience in your research.
  • Mentor students in years below you, or volunteer to tutor local schoolchildren.
  • Train with and volunteer for Nightline.
  • Write a regular blog on a non-academic subject of interest – or record your own podcasts.
  • Secure corporate sponsorship for a club.
  • If you are a DPhil student or postdoc, join the editorial team to expand your professional networking and writing skills
  • Take part in formal debates with the Oxford Union.
  • Devise a marketing campaign for a student society, campaign, college or research event.
  • Get involved in drama or team sports.
  • Learn a new language.
  • If you are a research staff member, get involved in the Oxford Research Staff Society by working with your departmental rep or putting yourself forward for this role.
  • Get really involved with any of the medium-term activities above!
  • Run a campaign about something important to you.
  • Consider ways to increase your leadership skills; being an effective leader relies heavily on communication.

Click on the 'CareerConnect EVENTS'  tab below to see upcoming events from the Careers Service where you can build on this skill.

CareerConnect EVENTS

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Check the CareerConnect platform for all our upcoming events and opportunities, book appointments, find jobs and internships, and more.

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