Time management is effectively ‘self-management’. This involves prioritising urgent matters from ongoing tasks. It is an essential skill for working independently and a step towards being handed more responsibility.
Whilst we all have oozes of experience managing Netflix, deadlines and our social lives - it doesn’t quite cut the mustard for your first graduate job! You’ll more than likely have several different tasks going on simultaneously, which require some coordination to do them all successfully.
The key to prioritising work is to be able to make a judgement about what is urgent and important, so decision making is pretty vital to this process. The more time you spend making the decision the less time you have to do the work!
It’s good to say ‘I managed several projects at the same time; working to different deadlines meant I had to divide my time efficiently and effectively in order to meet the deadlines and complete them to a high standard. I was then ready to be handed the next promptly’.
Avoid saying - “Having to work to be able to afford to maintain my social life whilst also doing uni work meant I had to develop good time management skills.’ - your potential future employer won’t want to hear about your ‘busy’ student schedule! Especially if they have a particularly tough one themselves, it may seem comical!
Developing time management skills
Even if you’re a bit stumped about what to talk about for time management competency questions, you definitely will have had experience during your undergraduate studies. Exams, revision for multiple modules, overlapping deadlines, and part time jobs or extracurricular commitments are all valid and appropriate areas where you would have had to manage your time. So don’t fret if you lack experience in a working environment.