4/10/2018 – Post by Monash ICUR Student Director Ruby Ballantyne 

ICUR is over for another year… A big congratulations to everyone who took part, you were part of a really special conference and made it a wonderful, exciting experience for everyone! Even though we all had a lot of fun and got to practice our presentation skills, you probably also got a lot of other skills you might not even be aware of.

Cultivating your employability with ICUR

ICUR offers you many benefits beyond a purely academic perspective. Alongside being a highly valuable opportunity for anyone interested in becoming an academic, it provides students with the unique opportunity to develop transferable skills.

Transferable skills are abilities that you develop in one situation which can then be applied to other scenarios. Why should you care about them? Well, having transferable skills increases your versatility to work in different industries. This adaptability is attractive to employers and helps you ‘future-proof’ yourself!

ICUR’s transferable skills

The development of these skills does not come from only rocking up to ICUR on the day. In the lead up to the conference, many of you got involved in CURIE’s research toolkit series. This program consisted of a variety of workshops targeting different skills associated with ICUR, so that they can participate more confidently in the conference itself.

The top three transferable skills that you have probably gained by being involved with ICUR are:

1. Communication

Verbal and written communication is an essential skill for all industries – ICUR helps you gain both! When submitting the abstract, preparing the research and developing your presentation slides or poster, you are refining your written communication abilities. You are also practicing verbal communication through public speaking by presenting your research and interacting with the audience at the conference.

ICUR’s international and interdisciplinary nature further enables you to improve your communication skills. Participants are presenting to students from many faculties and to an international audience. This diversity means that the presenter has to make sure their research is understandable and engaging for someone who may have no background knowledge about the presentation’s content or who may not speak English as their first language.

2. Analytical skills

Employers look for individuals with the ability to examine and assess an issue then provide an appropriate solution. ICUR requires students to investigate and formulate an argument on a specific topic. Whilst it may not be instantly apparent that undertaking research is a skill that can be transferred beyond academia, the research process itself helps develop your critical thinking through identifying patterns, interpreting data and theorising.

3. Technical abilities

All industries have some engagement with technology. ICUR is unique and through using video conferencing technology, you had the opportunity to gain experience using a commonly used industry technology. Speaking to a global audience at a video conference may sound simple but it takes practice to perfect using a microphone, cameras and screen to ensure that the digital experience is engaging to an audience hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away.

Articulating these skills

However, gaining these skills is only half the battle. Employers want you to explain to them why you are the ideal candidate for a job. This means how you describe your skills is very important. Below we will show two examples of how you could articulate the employability you’ve gained from ICUR in a resume. The example sentences are brief because it is better to have less detail in a resume so that you can expand on your experiences more in an interview.

If you want to highlight one particular skill you’ve gained from ICUR you might include a sentence like this:

“International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR) – speaking to an international and interdisciplinary audience at ICUR has developed my communication skills; particularly my ability to articulate complex concepts using concise, clear language.”

Alternatively, if you want to emphasise multiple skills you could say this:

“International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR) – ICUR is a two-day academic conference where undergraduate students present their research to an international, interdisciplinary audience. Key skills gained: improved critical thinking, adeptness with video-conferencing technology and succinct communication with a global and local audience.”

We wish you all the best in your endevours and congratulations on everyone who participated ICUR and good luck with the future job searching!