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How Employable Are You?

Have you just graduated from high school or university? And you’re thinking, “I don’t have much of a work history.” You may be asking yourself, “How employable am I?”

Or you may have had a long career, and you’re thinking, “I’ve got the skills and experience to get the job!” But have you? Did you know that 75% of employers place at least as much emphasis, if not more, on personal qualities than they do on technical skills?

In this video, I will talk about the importance of your personal skills and qualities when looking for a job. These are your employability skills. They can be called interpersonal skillsenterprise, or foundation skills or even soft skills. These employability skills are about you as an individual. They are not specific to any one job. They are your personal qualities and attributes that you take with you from job to job to job.

75% of employers place at least as much emphasis, if not more, on personal qualities than they do on technical skills?

First: Ask yourself, "Which employability skills do employers value?"

It makes sense to include what employers value in your resume, doesn’t it? Traditionally, resumes would consist of the standard “employability skills”. For example:

I’m sure you’ve read that on your resume and other people’s resumes too! But everybody else has got that on their resume – so how do you stand out?

You stand out by including the employability skills that target the industry, role, or employer for your chosen job application. For example, if you work in healthcare or hospitality or retail, these are people-focused roles. In these roles, employers are looking for someone creative who can solve problems, think critically, have digital and financial literacy, and have good presentation skills. They’re just some of them.

Next, consider all jobs are unique and require different employability skills.

All jobs have their own set of technical skill requirements, including expertise and qualifications. They also have their own set of employability skills, emphasising skills that are more relevant than others (like I listed before). For example, an accountant needs to be good with numbers, but they also need to communicate with their clients.

In a recent survey of employers in aged care and disability services, I read that these employers rejected:

Key Takeaway: Job seekers need to RESEARCH the job or industry to understand the types of employability skills the role requires. You can ring the contact person and/or read the role description to identify what skills the employer values the most.

More examples:

Now, what do you do if you need to develop specific employability skills?

You may not have a long work history, so you may not have built up many skills in your chosen career yet. You are probably thinking, “How do you seek them, and how do you demonstrate them on your resume?”

The short answer is that you need to find work, whether paid or unpaid, part-time or casual, work experience, internships, apprenticeships, and volunteer work. You need to develop skills even if you’re volunteering and then add these skills to your resume.

Why? You will gain exposure to real situations, dealing with diverse people, and working in busy environments and challenging conditions. And developing these skills can be a stepping stone into your career. You will prove to your future employer that you have the desire and motivation to develop these skills. The employer will think that you will fit in with their organisation.

The last question to consider is, “How do you demonstrate your employability skills when applying for a job?”

In your resume, cover letter, other application documents, and even in your interview, you need to highlight examples of when and how you use employability skills. You need to describe your strengths and how your skills benefit the business, making you the right candidate.

If you’ve just left high school or a newly graduated uni student, and you think you don’t have a lot of work experience or skills, think again because you do have skills.

The bottom line is understanding your employability skills and wrapping them into an example in your resume and other job application documents will help you stand out and be more competitive out there in the job market.

Please take advantage of our career articles that we have there for more advice on making yourself stand out in today’s competitive job market.

If you would like to know more about the author Kathryn Burke, click here.

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