Most jobs require specific skills to succeed, like knowing how to use social media scheduling tools if you’re going to work as a content creator.
However, most jobs require skills that aren’t always listed on a job application because you’re expected to have them no matter what, like communicating with your coworkers.
These skills, often called employability skills, are critical even if they’re not listed on a job application. Let’s go over what they are, how they apply to day-to-day activities, and how to improve upon them so you can succeed in every position you have.
What are employability skills?
Employability skills are the core skills needed to succeed and be successful in most work positions. Sometimes called soft skills, they are the general abilities most employers look for in new hires.
As foundational skills, employability skills can be transferable to any position you hold, regardless of job type. For example, you need to communicate well regardless of your position level, whether you’re the C-Suite executive or newly-hired marketing intern.
Employability skills aren’t always listed as required skills on job applications because they are expected as a baseline, but employers and interviewers will still look for them during interviews and expect you to use them on the job.
Developing Employability Skills
You can develop employability skills without specific training through experiences at school, work, hobbies, and extracurricular activities. For example, you can develop public speaking skills from presentations given in class and collaboration skills from playing on a sports team in your free time.
Employability Skills Examples
Let’s go over some examples of employability skills.
- Communication: In all positions, you’ll need to communicate with your teammates and customers and be able to explain yourself clearly, both verbally and in writing.
- Collaboration: Employers want you to collaborate because teamwork is often a means by which a company can meet its goals. Collaboration also means being able to work well with others.
- Critical Thinking: This is your ability to analyze and understand the information in your workplace and act on it. This is a critical employability skill because you’ll always need to think logically about problems and situations that arise at work and come to a solution.
- Self-management: Employers want you to self-manage and meet deadlines and goals without significant guidance unless necessary. While there’s nothing wrong with asking for help, employers want to train you and have you be able to take on your everyday tasks.
- Adaptability: Adaptability is a critical employability skill because things can change quickly at work, and adjusting as necessary can be the difference between continuing business success or falling behind.
- Reliability: Employers want to know that they can trust you in all aspects of work, that you’re punctual and complete assignments, show up on time and that you can be consistent in your overall performance without strict guidance.
- Organization/Planning: Being organized and able to plan means you can adequately understand how to complete your assignments in a structured and timely manner. You can create schedules and stick to them to meet targets and deadlines.
- Leadership: Employers appreciate leadership skills because they want you to take charge when necessary, whether over your job performance or during team activities, or because you’re at a leadership level and manage other people.
- Willingness to learn: Being willing to learn is required for all jobs as you’re always expected to learn on the job, be open to learning on the job, and take on new tasks.
- Tech Savvy: A baseline ability to use technology in day-to-day job duties, anything from knowing how to send an email, conduct a query online, or use tools like Google Suite. Technological skills move out of essential employability skills when they are things like using different coding languages.
Improve Employability Skills
As mentioned above, employability skills aren’t taught. They come along with different experiences like working on a job and participating in hobbies. Working on improving your skills can typically be done in activities you may already be involved in. For example:
- If you want to improve your organization skills, you can organize events in your community.
- If you want to become a stronger leader, you can ask to shadow current leaders at your workplace to learn from their style or step up to the plate to lead new workplace activities.
- If you want to improve your technical skills, you can start leveraging different tools in your day-to-day life.
- If you want to be better at self-management, you can ask for more responsibility at work to help you learn about time management and organization.
When working to improve your employability skills, it may be helpful to plan out your progress in a checklist.
Employability Skills Checklist
An employability skills checklist will help you create an improvement plan to follow. You can select a specific skill you want to work on and outline the steps you’ll take to improve, a desired timeframe for the process, and resources that will help you get to your end goal.
Over To You
Developing employability skills isn’t a significant challenge, as we often develop them over time through life experiences. Use our checklist to take stock of the ones you have, and create plans to further develop those you think are lacking.