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 Planning. To read more about the other seven employability skills, click on the links below.


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These ideas are ways to start planning effectively, and useful things to do! You might use these as evidence of planning skills in a written application if you haven’t been involved in larger projects, and you are likely to talk about how you organise yourself at interview.

  • Set time aside to plan when starting a major activity.
  • Make and use revision timetables.
  • Define responsibilities early when starting a collaborative task.
  • Research different methods and tools available, and consider which suit you best. For example…
    • Use a diary or calendar and use Outlook's Scheduling Assistant or Doodle polls to coordinate your diary with others.
    • Use “to-do lists” to prioritise and monitor your tasks.
    • Manage your emails using folders, rules and categories/tags, see this Microsoft Office article for ideas.

These are all ways you can start to develop your planning skills, and which do not involve a long-term commitment. You might find these useful as examples in an interview.

  • Plan an expedition or your own vacation travel itinerary – such as inter-railing.
  • Organise an away-day for a society, or short tour for a sports team to another university.
  • Co-organise the support for admissions interviews in your college.
  • Make monthly and annual budgets, and stick to them!
  • Contingency planning: look ahead and plan from problems which might come up on projects you are involved with (e.g. finding resources for a college event; securing bridging money between research contracts).
  • Get involved with any extra-curricular activities while at Oxford – from membership of societies to part-time work. The ability to simultaneously juggle multiple activities and get a good grade is really effective evidence of an ability to plan.
  • Volunteer to organise your Common Room’s annual elections.
  • Organise props and schedules as a stage manager for a student production, or coordinate aspects of a Freshers Fair.
  • Plan fieldwork or a research project using project management tools, such as Trello or Asana.
  • Volunteer to organise community projects or activities through OxHub.
  • Organise a series of speakers or panel sessions for a society.
  • Organise a campaign, ball, conference, or other large event.
  • Become the editor of a student publication, such as a newspaper, website or yearbook.
  • Plan the budget and set milestones to organise a large research project.
  • Develop a plan to learn a new language or build a new skill: see our Self-directed Skills Development briefing.  

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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