Employability is improved by a good academic record plus skills and attributes that enable you to adapt and manage the constantly changing work environment.
Employability skills include hard skills (technical or discipline-specific) and generic or soft skills, such as:
- creativity and innovation
- initiative and enterprise
- planning and organisation
- problem identification and solution
- intercultural competence
- use of tools and technology.
Every stage of your career requires that you are able to identify, analyse, prioritise and convincingly describe your skills.
You need these 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.
Developing employability skills
You develop employability skills through work (paid or voluntary), studies and community involvement. During your degree, you should not only strive for excellent results but also be involved in a variety of activities within the community including clubs and societies, sport, hobbies, and volunteer activities.
General employability skills
|Skills area||Skills claims||Possible evidence|
|Communication|| || |
|Teamwork|| || |
|Problem identification and solution|| || |
|Initiative and enterprise|| || |
|Planning and organisation|| || |
|Use of tools and technology|| || |
Graduates from each faculty typically develop certain skills. Examples include:
Adapted from Degrees of Skill. The Council for Industry & Higher Education, UK, 2006.
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:
- loyalty and commitment
- ability to deal with pressure
- honesty and integrity
- enthusiasm and motivation
- sense of humour.
Employability Skills for the Future, 2002, Hely, P., produced by the Department of Education, Science and Training and the Australian National Training Authority.
Student Employability Profiles: a Guide for Employers, 2005, Kubler, B., and Forbes, P., produced by the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) in association with Graduate Prospects. London: CIHE.