The SPIR Skills Matrix is the range of academic and transferable skills, competencies or attributes SPIR students have, or need to develop.

The information given here sets these skills in the context of your current learning and activities. It will give you an idea on how to further hone these skills and also how to discuss them with potential employers.

The SPIR Skills Matrix is not an exhaustive list of all the aptitudes our graduates possess, but rather an indication of some of the most useful skills Politics and IR students will need when moving from education to the workplace.

The key skill areas for SPIR Students are:

Information Technology
Analytical and Research

When you are reflecting on your skills, try to consider:

What the skill actually is

eg. Verbal Communication Skills: being able to talk clearly in person and on the phone, and to both individuals and groups. Making yourself understood and being able to clearly articulate your views and ideas – also, being able to listen actively and attentively to others.

How you might have already developed this skill

eg. Verbal Communication Skills: You will have already have had experience of this in your seminars when you have contributed to discussions or debated an issue. You might also be a member of a club or society and had to join in meetings about activities, or have to communicate well verbally in a paid job e.g. taking drinks orders behind a bar

How you could develop this further

eg. Verbal Communication Skills: Using the phone for professional purposes isn’t something that many graduates have had experience of, so it pays to practice by seeking out opportunities to call someone rather than text for example. Also, make an effort to speak up in seminars if you are usually quiet.

Why do I need this for the workplace? / For which jobs?

eg. Verbal Communication Skills: almost all careers require excellent verbal communication skills, whether you are meeting clients or colleagues to discuss a project, briefing staff on an issue or conducting research interviews and focus groups. Verbal communication skills are especially important if you are going into teaching / academia, communications, public affairs and lobbying or campaigning roles.

How to articulate it to an employer / Questions you might be asked

eg. Verbal Communication Skills

On your CV: “As a waitress in an Italian restaurant I have had to develop excellent verbal communication skills to ensure that I take orders correctly, understand any particular requirements or requests from customers and resolve any issues politely and quickly.”

At interview: “Can you give me an example of a time when you have had to verbally brief a group of people on an issue or seek their views?”