In a fiercely competitive job market it will be your transferable skills, your achievements and your experiences that will give you the edge when it comes to applying for jobs. Employability skills are not only necessary to be employed though, they are also essential if you want to make a success of freelancing or starting your own business.
- What do employers look for?
- How employable am I?
- How do I show my employability?
- How can I increase my employability?
When considering your application, employers will assess your ‘employability’. This includes your skills, experience and personality – everything that they believe is necessary for you to do a job well and fit into their organisation.
Transferable skills and desirable attributes include:
- communication skills
- team-working skills
- problem-solving skills
- planning and organisational skills
- literacy (writing skills)
- numeracy (skill with numbers)
- analytical decision-making skills
- IT skills
- business awareness
You probably have far more to offer an employer than you think. Employability isn’t just about developing new skills, it’s about recognising the skills you already have and knowing how to relate these to your chosen career. To see how employable you are and what skills you may still need to develop, start by assessing your skills.
You need to be able to relate your experience to the key skills that employers require. For example;
- being chair of a student society develops your leadership, motivational, organisational and team-work skills
- bar or restaurant work develops your interpersonal skills, numeracy, stamina and ability to work under pressure.
You will always need to be able to explain how you gained your skills and why you consider your experiences to be valuable to an employer. The job description will tell you what the employer regards as priority skills for the job. You should emphasise the skills and experience you have which meet these criteria.
No employer will be satisfied with a list of skills without evidence of experience to back them up. Think of the evidence you need to support what you are saying about your skills:
- What or who were you responsible for?
- What were the outcomes and where they expected?
- How did you achieve success/did you meet any targets?
For more advice see our page on writing your CV.
Employability skills are transferable. You will develop a number of skills by completing your qualification, and can build on these and learn new ones through work placements, volunteering or part-time work. Your sports and hobbies can also give you invaluable skills. The Careers Service is here to support you in developing your employability and selling your skills to employers.