Everyone wants to develop strong employability skills. After all, these are the abilities that help you land your dream job. Having strong employability skills can make a significant impact on your career and long-term happiness. But, many employees are confused about how to acquire these incredible abilities.
Some think that employability skills can only come through experience in the workplace. Others invest thousands of dollars in courses to learn the ‘secret’ of being highly employable. Fortunately, these expensive and timely options are not the only way to boost your employability. In fact, these soft skills can be developed while saving you valuable time and money.
In this article, we will discuss what key employability skills are and how you can develop them.
What are Employability Skills?
Before understanding the tactics to acquire employability abilities, you need to understand what these basic skills are.
In general, any ability that allows you to become more employable (attractive to employers) can be described as an employability trait. However, their impact reaches beyond just the initial employer attraction.
Employability skills are also crucial as you progress through your career. They help you thrive in the workplace every day. Key employment skills are currently in demand by nearly every business.
There are few companies that would pass up the opportunity to hire an employable individual. This is especially true when there is a lack of quality employees searching for jobs after the Coronavirus pandemic.
Workplace skills make you more efficient and benefit you during your career. However, the type of skills that classify as workplace skills depends on your industry, role, and the specific employer.
For some positions, academic skills are highly in-demand skills. For others, leadership skills may be more crucial.
Why Is Important To Recognize Employability Skills & Their Benefits
Employability is always desirable. If you are searching for a way to finally land your dream job, focus more on your employability. There are a plethora of benefits that come along with acquiring core skills for employability.
Strengthening these skills does not have to be a grueling process. In fact, once you start seeing the benefits, you may even find it enjoyable.
A few of the key benefits that come along with boosting foundational skills in employability are:
- Making a great first impression on potential employers and reducing your stress while being interviewed
- Increasing the likelihood that you can find and acquire your dream job
- Establishing a positive attitude and passion for your work, makes you less likely to quit
- Helping you become more productive and efficient while working
- Allows you to find more opportunities that would have otherwise been out of your reach
- Assists you in finding which job-specific skills you need to strengthen, making you a better employee on all fronts
- Allows you to feel in control of your future, boosting responsibility
- Boosts your confidence (especially after seeing other’s positive reactions to your grown skills)
- Becoming a better team player and building strong connections with coworkers, developing better teamwork skills
- Indirectly strengthening a wide range of skills (anything from time management to interpersonal skills)
10 Examples of Employability Skills
Employability is crucially important for every employee, regardless of age, job status, industry of interest, and more. However, you should also be aware of the fact that “employability skills” encompasses many different types of skills. It is not just a single skill set.
If you are curious about which skills you need to acquire, consider looking into your dream job’s description and noting those skills.
In general, though, these are some common employability skills:
Problem-Solving And Analytic Skills
Being a problem solver is a highly attractive trait. In fact, it is so in demand that 62% of hiring managers claim to problem-solve is a top trait they look for in employees.
The fact is that every company will face challenges. Whether they are big or small, and how that company reacts to those challenges, depends on the employees. If employees are problem solvers, the business can quickly get back to work and stay ahead of the competition.
Excellent Communication Skills
Having strong communication skills gives you a leg up over many other employees. This allows you to be a better team player and a better customer service representative.
However, amazing communicators do not just speak with passion and precision. They also know how to read body language and use active listening skills. Plus, nonverbal communication skills are also crucially important to master.
Being organized will benefit you regardless of which industry you choose to join (this, it is a transferable skill). Being organized boosts efficiency, allows you to stay focused, and saves you frustration.
Few people find a disorganized workplace appealing, which may increase their negativity. A few tasks that are included within an organization are managing tasks, prioritizing activities, delegating tasks to team members, and much more.
Technology skills are one of the top hard skills or technical skills. Nowadays, a business cannot succeed without having an online presence and using the web. You need to have at least a basic understanding of technology to appeal to most employers. Getting these skills is easier than acquiring soft skills for most individuals. Try taking some courses online, for example.
Adaptability And Critical Thinking Skills
A stagnant and overly stubborn employee is typically not very interesting or attractive to employers. Instead, many HR managers and interviewers want individuals to be adaptable. Today’s markets and industries are constantly changing.
Using the same strategies for decades puts you at a disadvantage and damages your productivity. On the other hand, being adaptable ensures you stay up to date on the best business practices.
Teamwork Skills And Collaboration
When you join a company, you join a team. To be a great employee, you need to know how to work with these individuals. You will spend significant amounts of time with them, so it is best to form strong bonds with them, too. Being collaborative and skilled at teamwork allows you to meet team goals and individual goals as well.
Reliability And Trustworthiness
The best employees are both reliable and trustworthy. Trust is key in an employee/employer relationship. Without trust, many of the benefits of becoming employable are wiped away. However, once you can gain trust, you will see an increase in responsibility, an increase in your ability to achieve goals, and much more.
Trust stems from reliability, or consistently performing tasks at a high standard. Ensure your employers know you are willing to work hard to create amazing products or services.
Taking Risks And Initiatives
Being overly risk-averse can make you seem unconfident. Those who know when to take risks and how to do so intelligently are highly employable. These individuals often have great success in the business world.
Knowing when to take risks can increase your success, profits, revenue, and positive relationships with customers. Employers also do not want employees to sit on the sidelines. They want people to take initiative for the things they are passionate about.
Even if you are not a CEO or manager, being a great leader is nearly always beneficial. A great leader can bring together teams, keep coworkers focused, and increases the team’s productivity as well as ability to achieve goals.
You can boost your leadership skills by helping to inspire your coworkers, helping them in times of need, and sharing your productivity strategies with others.
A Positive Growth Mindset
Attitude is infectious. When a business hires someone, they want that person to positively impact the entire company. Thus, when they see someone positive and willing to learn, they are inclined to hire them.
Being open-minded, positive, and willing to learn from mistakes is one of the best ways to boost your employability. When you see how your positivity and growth mindset rubs off on your coworkers, you will be stunned at the decrease in turnover and boost in productivity.
How To Identify & Master Employability Skills
Now that you are aware of the many types of employability skills, you may be curious: how do I find which of these skills I already have, and how do I increase my employability?
Before you spend thousands of dollars on employability courses or invest in one on one coaching, consider some of the more practical ways to identify your employability skills.
Anyone who has access to the internet can easily and quickly find their employability skills. The simplest way to do this is through an online assessment. One of the best tests you could take is the HIGH5 strengths assessment.
This test will not only give you your employability skills, but it will give a list of all your top strengths. The information from HIGH5 will help you find a job that suits your current strengths and continue growing your abilities as you settle into a career.
If you do not have access to the internet, or simply want to try a different strategy, you could also try asking for input from customers, your boss, and your coworkers. These individuals likely have at least some understanding of your top employability skills.
They know if you communicate well if you are a great team worker, how effectively you problem solve if you seem confident, and more. However, this strategy is more subjective. The input you relieve from one coworker may not be the same as another coworker’s opinion.
How To Improve Employability Skills
Once you take the HIGH5 test or explore your employability strengths on your own, you will be given a list of your current strengths. However, to truly be as employable as possible you should be interested in growing your strengths. So, many employees naturally start to crave to improve their employability strengths.
The most common approach to improving employability strengths is a weakness-based approach. This involves finding your flaws and focusing on turning them into strengths.
However, this makes you less confident and is not very efficient. The best way to improve your employability strengths is by focusing on growing the strengths you already possess.
Firstly, try to use your strengths as often as you can. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Try to use your strengths in different settings as well.
For instance, if you know that you are a great communicator, but rarely use this strength in meetings, challenge yourself to speak up during meetings. If there is an opportunity to use your strength, take it.
See what maximizes your positivity and productivity. Once you are already employed, see what environment helps you stay the most focused. Experiment with different amounts of lighting, for example.
If you know that a certain website distracts you, block it. Try to avoid distractions as much as you can. This will help you retain your employability skills.
Try to get as much feedback from customers, bosses, and coworkers as you can. Even if you do not get your dream job immediately, or if you are rejected try to get some feedback from the interviewer. Read the email they sent you explaining why you were not hired (if they send such an email).
Ask for feedback from customers consistently. And, when working in groups, notice how others react to you using your strengths. Are they more engaged? Or, do come across as too aggressive? Ask them for direct input, too.
How To Highlight Employability Skills In Resume & Job Interview
After working hard to improve your employability skills, you will probably be interested in showing them off. One common way to do this is by putting your employability skills on your resume.
Employability skills are also crucially important for landing your dream job. They play a major role in your first impression.
Many job candidates use the simplest and most direct way to communicate their employability skills in a resume: simply listing them. But, the most successful candidates know this is ineffective.
These employers do not know you. They cannot verify that you have skill if you just say you do. Thus, listing your skills is not the best way to highlight your skills.
But, a better way to do this is by including your skills under your prior job descriptions. Describe how you had to use your communication, teamwork, critical thinking, leadership, and other skills to positively impact your prior teams.
Try to give specific examples of how your prior employer benefitted from your employability skills. And, when in an interview, try to convince the employer how your skills fill their skill gaps (or skills listed in the job description).
In addition, try to give some references to prior workplace managers. Use their specific language when describing how your employability skills positively impacted your prior teams. If you have statistics that prove you have a certain skill, ensure you bring those as well.
List them under your prior job descriptions and bring them up again during the interview. For example, tell the interviewer how after you started working on your leadership skills, you were able to boost your team’s productivity by 15%, and positive customer feedback increased by 25%.
Employability Skills FAQs
What Are The Five Essential Employability Skills?
There are a plethora of different employability skills you could acquire. The most useful employability skill for you depends on your specific career, industry, and company you work for. However, some skills are universally appreciated. One such skill is communication.
You need to communicate effectively to boost sales and be a great team member. Also, adaptability is crucially important. Today’s work environment is constantly changing and requires you to adapt if you want to succeed. Being organized helps employees no matter what business they join.
Also, being a critical thinker and problem solver is a fantastic employability skill to have. Finally, having a positive growth mindset is also a great trait to make you more employable.