Employability Skills

Employability is about having strong soft skills and a professional attitude, as well as relevant qualifications. Here is how you can become more employable for the job market of the future.

Employability can be defined as the skills, knowledge and attitudes that help people to get a job and to move between jobs. The ‘knowledge’ aspect and job-specific skills may seem the most concrete and receive the most attention – for example in terms of what qualifications are required for a particular job. However, while it’s important for applicants to meet any specific qualification requirements for a vacancy (for example subject, level of study or grades) this isn’t ultimately what will get them hired.

Candidates’ soft skills, attitudes and experiences outside the classroom, combined with their level of research into the job and employer, are what make them stand out from others with similar qualifications. Employers’ recruitment processes typically focus on assessing these, to see what candidates can offer beyond the subjects and grades listed on their initial application.

Employability skills

So what are the Top 10 Employability skills employers are looking for?

•commercial awareness

•communication

•teamwork

•negotiation and persuasion

•problem solving

•leadership

•organisation

•perseverance and motivation

•the ability to work under pressure

•confidence.

Why are employability skills important?

Looking towards the job market of the future, it’s soft skills and appropriate attitudes that are likely to remain in demand, long after the market for a particular body of knowledge or technical skill has disappeared.

How do I get employability skills?

The good news is that many of you will already be developing the skills you need to be hired and remain employable in a changing job market, be it through ironing out a disagreement among football team members or plucking up the courage to talk to pupils as a tutor rep during tutor time.

All sorts of activities can help develop the right skills and attitudes, so, if you are not already doing so, simply getting involved in something that interests you outside the classroom is a great first step. In addition, reflecting on experiences may uncover a bank of skills you did not know you had.

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