Develop your employability skills

Employability skills are all of the extra things employers look for that go beyond your academic ability. They are general skills relating to all industries and professions, and they’ll help you enter the job market and adapt and manage the constantly changing nature of your career.

Monash has identified nine employability skills:

  • communication
  • creativity and innovation
  • initiative and enterprise
  • professionalism
  • planning and organisation
  • problem identification and solution
  • teamwork
  • intercultural competence
  • use of tools and technology.

For more information about each of these skills, check out the employability skills section in Student Futures.

Every stage of your career requires that you are able to identify, analyse, prioritise and convincingly articulate your skills.

You'll need to do this when you're:

  • career planning
  • applying for jobs using a resume, cover letter or response to selection criteria
  • being interviewed for a job
  • requesting new duties and responsibilities
  • selecting future professional development.

General employability skills

Develop your skills while you're at Monash

During your studies, you can still develop your employability skills, including those related to your course.

Do this by engaging in:

  • Work Integrated Learning (WIL), placements and internships
  • class presentations and group assignments
  • Study Abroad and Exchange
  • part-time or casual work
  • volunteering
  • extra-curricular activities (sport, hobbies etc.)
  • community involvement including clubs and societies
  • modules offered through programs such as Leap into Leadership Online.

Remember to use Student Futures to log and reflect on the skills you develop. You can use this evidence when you start job hunting. Student Futures is Monash's unique online tool that helps you build a bank of employability skill examples using the STAR method.

Study-related skills

Graduates from each faculty typically develop certain skills.

Adapted from Degrees of Skill. The Council for Industry and Higher Education, UK, 2006.

Reflecting on experiences to articulate employability skills

Once you identify your employability skills, your next step is to use a reflection tool to articulate these into meaningful examples. The most effective method is to present them through the STAR method.

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result and can be applied to help provide a succinct, well-structured reflection. This method is used by recruiters when analysing whether candidates possess the required skills.

Situation
This is the back story – the who, what, when and where.
Task
What it is that you had to do? What were the success criteria? What part did you play in the situation? What did you have to achieve?
Action
Paint a picture of the task and showcase your contributions. What did you do? Why did you do it? How did you do it? How do your actions demonstrate this skill? What were you thinking? Was there anything unique about your actions or your method worth mentioning?
Result
There is little point explaining the situation if the employer is still left wondering whether you made any difference. What happened as a result of the actions you took? What would you do differently or improve? What did you learn? Can you quantify your result?

Student Futures is an online tool that will help you build a bank of employability skill examples.

Employability attributes

Attributes are your approach to work and are usually related to your value system. Unlike skills, they are very difficult to teach someone. Employers will seek out particular attributes. You need to recognise your own and learn to communicate them to employers.

These include such things as:

  • adaptability
  • loyalty and commitment
  • ability to deal with pressure
  • honesty and integrity
  • commonsense
  • enthusiasm and motivation
  • reliability
  • sense of humour.