How to maintain your English skills once you graduate

Are you worried that those fundamental subject skills you worked so hard for will become stagnant once you graduate? We’ve listed our top tips that we think are most important to help you maintain them.

Image of student using laptop. How to maintain your English skills once you graduate blog post for school of english

We understand that some of you tend to eschew revisiting the large quantity of books you’ve acquired over the past three to four years and are thrilled that you don’t have to write another dissertation (unless you’ve progressed to a Master’s). This is because you think once you have obtained your degree, proudly sported your graduate caps and gowns, you don’t need to do anything else other than find a job. However, this is a common misconception, as graduates, you will need to be able to convey coherent communication skills, both written and verbal, in whatever field you go into. Employers are looking for graduates that stand out from the crowd and are able to think analytically and convey ongoing enthusiasm by developing your personal portfolios.

Read, read, and read!

Our first tip is reading. This may sound obvious but you might often overlook how important it is to be able to read and digest a lot of information, whether it’s contextual, historical, philosophical or sociological – we’re constantly gaining knowledge. Reading changes your ability to think, articulate, judge, critique, analyse and review, as well as expand your vocabulary. Fluent readers tend to express exactly what they want to say without trying, due to their varied vocabulary. If you aren’t reading as frequently as you would have been at university, then your language will become limited which will affect the way you express yourself.

Not only does reading improve your academic skills, it also has many personal benefits like reducing stress and giving you amusement. It is also pivotal in enhancing your memory and retention skills; often in a book there are a variety of plots, sub-plots, settings, characters, themes and developments, which means you have to remember exactly what is happening in the text in order to understand and appreciate it. 

Continue reading an array of different books, articles, journals and newspapers and expand your reach by finding new authors, as this will make you engage with new ideas and perspectives. Why not set yourself a goal and aim to read at least 20 pages a day? Then you can gradually build on this once you start to get into a routine that works for you.

Create your own blog

A blog is a great way to continue utilising your written skills and to showcase your abilities to potential employers. You can choose to make it either personal or professional. We recommend writing something you are passionate about: whether that’s skincare, fitness, fishing, fashion, reviewing your favourite literature or food, the list could go on. You will sustain your written skills by choosing something you enjoy and are interested in, as you will persevere and be consistent with your writing. 

By blogging on a regular basis, whether that’s an article a month or an article a week (or more!), you are constantly improving the quality of your writing by enhancing your diction, ensuring your syntax is correct and adapting your tone of voice for different audiences. You will build an online community and relationship with your audience too as you can choose whether you’d like them to comment on your blogs and provide feedback; enabling this feature will help you develop your articles and decipher what your readers are looking for.

Why not set up your blog today and give yourself an online voice and presence? There are so many free online resources out there. We’d recommend using WordPress or Wix which are free content management systems for you to create your own websites with so many creative layouts and themes (although some do require a fee) for you to choose from. 

Start a Master’s degree

What better way to improve your skills than by starting an MA? A Master’s is the perfect opportunity for you to build on your subject knowledge and be an expert in your field.

There are a range of Master’s courses in the School of English, including MA Creative Writing where you’ll be able to develop your creativity in the forms of your choice; MA English Literature if you’re interested in how the literary world responds to the places we inhabit and MA English Linguistics where you will specialise in the various disciplines of language, including sociolinguistics, phonology and morphology.

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