UCL Careers


Problem Solving Skills

The process of assessing a variety of situations and finding an outcome or solution.

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Explore your understanding

You will find that in every career sector, problems and setbacks occur. Some of these problems are expected and some can be more complex than others. Employers are looking for evidence that you can think creatively, apply logic and offer solutions.

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Find and develop your skill

Where can you improve your interpersonal skills at UCL?

Practice interacting with employers directly

Attend a skills session delivered by employers and have the opportunity to practice your skills through problems and challenges that would be typical for graduate employees to tackle in their organisations. You can ask employers at panel sessions about how they look for evidence of this skill in the recruitment process, practice discussing examples in a mock interview and also choose to take part in a problem-solving workshop. Find out more and join us for an employer-led skills session.

Employer-led skills sessions

Travel to build your global connections

Develop your problem-solving skills through unpredictable and unexpected scenarios during your time abroad. UCL Go Abroad programmes encompass an enriching selection of worldwide opportunities tailored to support UCL students to perform at their full potential.
Attend an event to learn more about the global opportunities available both short term and longer term as part of your degree.

UCL Go Abroad

Develop your entrepreneurial skills and startup ideas

Attend a 2 day boot camp with the Innovation and Enterprise team and learn about the problems businesses look to address. You'll also get the opportunity to practice problem solving skills whilst working alongside others. 

UCL Innovation & Enterprise

Join a club or society

Join a club or society within the Students’ Union and further develop your problem solving skills. Take on a role within a committee and contribute to the operations and success of the wider group including challenges and problems when they arise. The Students Union also offer a variety of skills sessions such as problem solving and project management where you can gain practical problem solving experience.

Clubs and societies directory

Students' Union UCL skills sessions

UCL’s Volunteering Services Unit partners with more than 400 local charities to promote their volunteering opportunities. Use the Volunteering Service’s skills explorer to find volunteering opportunities where you can develop new skills and build on existing ones. It’s a great tool to use in conjunction with your wider career planning. 

Search volunteering opportunities

Use digital tools to expand problem solving knowledge

Access a wide range training opportunities with Information Systems Division (ISD) Digital Skills Development, where you can develop your digital skills in order to expand your problem solving toolkit through face-to face training, drop in sessions and online learning.

ISD Digital Skills Development

Use LinkedIn Learning to grow your skillset

LinkedIn Learning has a huge range of video courses supporting learning in software, creative and business skills – all free to UCL staff and currently enrolled students. Access LinkedIn learning content to build your problem-solving skills.

Access LinkedIn Learning

Develop your problem solving skills as a Researcher

Learn and gain access to courses through workshops and career taster sessions to further develop skills within this area. The UCL Doc Skills Programme is open to all postgraduate research students at UCL.  You’ll find more information on all the courses available.

UCL Doctoral Skills Development Programme

You will also be able to browse the scheduled events for researchers and those for doctoral studentsResearch students can also access courses mapped to the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) and access one-to-one advice, practice interviews and workshops tailored to researchers.

Prepare your examples

Ask yourself...

Can you describe a difficult problem you faced in your studies or extracurricular activities? What steps did you take to solve it?

Can you think of a time where you had a creative approach to solve a tricky problem? Did things go according to plan? If not, what would you have done differently?

Next steps

You can use opportunities to grow this skill with UCL Careers as a student and a recent graduate in the following ways...

Visit our Psychometric and aptitude tests page to see the different examples of problem solving and situational judgement tests.

Practice pychometric and aptitude tests

Visit our Interview skills page. Here you can find out more about how to structure your answer and demonstrate your skills along with many more resources that will help you prepare.

How to demonstrate your skills in an interview

If you have written a draft application for any type of opportunity, our team can provide personalised and practical tips /advice to help you better understand how recruiters will shortlist your application, and how you can best demonstrate your motivation and your most relevant skills / experience.

Get one-to-one advice