Employability Skills Unpacked
When it comes to entering the workforce, you know that you need certain qualifications for your field and if possible applicable experience. But when it comes down to the crunch, they’ll be looking at your employability skills to make a final decision.
What are employability skills?
Employability skills are your soft skills. You might have heard employers talk about soft skills, or you have seen some of them listed out in job ads. These skills are called soft skills as they are foundational skills for all types of work. These skills can also apply to your personality type and your emotional intelligence.
Let’s unpack some of the key employability skills below.
Written and oral communication
Communication skills are very important in the workplace. Being able to communicate effectively with others without either party misunderstanding the message is paramount.
There are several areas of communication that they’ll be looking for.
- Verbal communication: knowing and using the right words to get your meaning across. This could be face-to-face conversation, or it could be in meetings, pitches or presentations.
- Written Communication: Knowing how to write and how to get people to understand what you are trying to convey. This could be in emails, marketing materials, instructions, policies or project outlines.
- Non-verbal communication: Your skills must be well-rounded, including non-verbal communication, which is how you communicate through body language and tone of voice.
- Listening: While it’s important for people to understand your meaning when you communicate, it is equally important that you can listen and take in what they say. This is all a part of your communication skills.
Building your communication skills
If you are interested in building upon your existing communication skills, you can:
- Write short articles about your interests
- Write selection criteria for job applications
- Practice your interview skills with friends and family
Industry knowledge is gained over time and often as a result of being a part of your industry. It covers things such as:
- Industry news: Knowing what is happening in your industry, which larger companies have gone through changes, or are branching out.
- Industry rules and regulations: A lot of this you’ll know as you’ll have had to learn about it when you studied in your field, but this information is always going to need updating as rules and best practice changes.
- Industry trends: What will the industry look like in five years, how are you going to morph with it to remain relevant and employable?
Building your industry knowledge
Keeping yourself updated on industry changes is important. You can build your industry knowledge by:
- Attending industry expos and events
- Joining industry associations and groups
- Reading up on trends and news and discussing what is happening with other industry professionals in casual settings like Facebook groups or professional networks.
Critical thinking and problem solving
Critical thinking is a taught-way of thinking. It generally gets employed in academic settings and it requires you to put aside bias and question your own assumptions. This way of thinking leads to more effective problem solving. It helps you to isolate the facts and put ego aside to find the very best solution.
Building your critical thinking and problem solving skills
You can build your critical thinking and problem solving skills by:
- Researching and understanding the difference in quality of your sources
- Studying. Any course you undertake will be helpful to build these skills
Teamwork and collaboration
Being able to get along with others and work as a part of a team, collaborating on projects is very important in the workplace. There are few jobs where you won’t have to work with others.
Building your teamwork and collaboration skills
This is one of those soft skills we all have some experience in but if you’re looking to grow your teamwork and collaboration skills you can:
- Work on your ability to give constructive feedback
- Join a sporting team
- Volunteer with an organisation
Employers are looking for people who are constantly working on themselves and have shown the ability to learn and develop their professional skills. Professional development can be things like short courses that you can add to resume, or industry conferences that give you the chance to network.
These kinds of activities show you are always working on your professional development, and you will be able to learn any new skills or systems you might need.
Building your professional development skills
You can build on your professional development skills by:
- Reading books and listening to podcasts on your industry
- Taking short courses that will help you at work
If there is opportunity for growth in your role your employer will likely be looking to see some leadership skills from you. Experience taking charge, running the show or managing project work with other staff are all great examples of leadership skills.
Building your leadership skills
If you want to build on your leadership skills, you can:
- Attend seminars and workshops on becoming a leader
- Network with other leaders and talk to them about how they built on their skills
- Utilise social networks like LinkedIn to be involved in industry leadership opportunities
Planning and organisation
Good organisation skills are a soft skill must for many employers. Being able to effectively plan and stay organised is essential in the workplace.
Building your planning and organisation skills
You can build on your planning and organisation skills by:
- Using a calendar or diary to help you plan out each day and week
- Creating goals and breaking them down into smaller tasks
Staying up to date on the newest technology that is relevant to your industry is important in every job. With how quickly technological advances can change you need to be able to show you are confident in learning new technology as it emerges.
Building your technological skills
You can build on your technological skills by:
- Taking courses in new systems for your industry
- Learning new computer programs
- Creating presentations in multiple formats ie PowerPoint, Canva, InDesign. Etc.
- Learning and creating content for new social media platforms
Working on your employability skills and soft skills can be the difference between getting that new job and missing out on it.
If you’re interested in growing your skillset, consider looking into one of our courses. Taking a course shows your commitment to professional development, your organisation and planning skills, your interest in emerging technology and leadership skills.