While having the right combination of technical skills and experience matters in the job market, it’s a specific set of employability skills (also soft or transferable skills) that produce a full package and contribute an extra shine to who you are as a candidate.
Developing these skills allows you to distinguish yourself from the competition and project an attractive image to potential recruiters. In this guide, we discuss what qualifies as employability skills, why they’re so important, and how to leverage them to pursue the career path of your dreams.
What are these employability skills?
Any job position requires a set of skills necessary to fulfill the job responsibilities and duties.
This combination of skills often includes some that are teachable or quantifiable like the level of proficiency in a language. Others, also known as soft skills, are harder to measure or quantify, for instance, time management.
According to the Cambridge Employability Framework, these essential skills can be used across various fields; which makes them transferable. The framework describes eight key categories of skills that can be useful in multiple career domains. These include collaboration and teamwork, communication, innovation and problem-solving, leadership and global citizenship, personal development and management, emotional intelligence, and digital literacy.
Why are they so important?
These skills are especially important because potential recruiters, collaborators, or even coworkers want to know that you’re a well-rounded employee with more going for you than just the technical skills and expertise you possess.
More often than not, hiring teams will examine the candidate’s soft skills and what they bring to the table. That’s the distinguishing point when you have job candidates who all possess the technical skills needed to fulfill the job responsibilities. They want to know if the applicant has what it takes to thrive in this new environment and seamlessly adjust to the company culture. So, showing how great of a candidate you are by showcasing these essential skills can play a major role in setting you apart from the competition.
For example, when the hiring manager asks about your creativity and innovation, they want to know about a time when you used your outside-of-the-box thinking to solve a problem quickly and efficiently.
Or then again, if they inquire about your communication style, then they probably need assurance that you’ll exhibit transparency, approachability, and professionalism in the work setting. So, it’s essential that you identify and leverage these strengths to distinguish yourself as a candidate during the hiring process.
Here are the 8 essential skills to maximize your employability.
No.1: Collaboration and Teamwork
Teamwork is a highly useful and highly desirable skill in the job market. Being able to work in harmony with others to achieve a shared vision is essential. A good team player listens to others, empathizes with everyone, and engages in constructive conversations. Employers are always looking for people who are capable of good teamwork and collaboration.
One of the most relevant and useful soft skills that are applicable to almost any job is communication. Effective communication is the backbone of efficient teams and successful organizations. Someone with good communication skills can help move projects forward much faster. Communication here doesn't necessarily mean verbal communication alone; it also includes writing skills, listening skills, and comprehension skills.
No.3: Innovation and Problem-Solving
No matter what career path you want to pursue, you need to have a sense of creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills. Being able to find unique and inventive solutions in addition to resolving conflict and remedying challenges as they arise are all essential aspects of succeeding in any job.
No.4: Critical thinking and Decision-Making
Most jobs that you apply to will require you to have a certain amount of problem-solving and analytical skills. Critical thinking is indeed an indispensable quality that would make you an asset to the employer. Critical thinking and good decision-making allow you to logically analyze a situation, evaluate information, and identify the best solution.
No.5: Leadership and Global Citizenship
Leadership skills are not restricted to leaders alone. Your leadership and global citizenship skills make you better at motivating yourself as well as others to collaborate and achieve a common objective.
A person with good leadership and citizenship skills always shares responsibility for everything the team does, both good and bad, and helps build a sense of unity and belonging among team members. Employers value such people who can help drive their teams to attain the organization’s vision.
No.6: Personal Development and Management
Management skills help you better organize projects and plan ahead. They’re very useful for goal-driven industries. These often include skills like planning, research, administration, clerical, and financial skills. In addition to managing resources, self-management is also an important quality to have as it allows you to work on improving yourself and invest in your personal development.
No.7: Emotional Intelligence
An emotionally intelligent person is able to show empathy and understand other people’s needs. This means being able to manage your personal emotions as well as the emotions of the people around you. Emotional intelligence involves five key elements: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Being rational and empathetic at the same time is not an easy task and employers highly value this skill.
This would not have been one of the top priorities a couple of decades ago but in today’s job industry, digital literacy has become a must-have skill. Even if the career you aspire to pursue may not necessarily be related to the field of technology, you still need technological competencies to fulfill the job responsibilities. Knowing your way with the computer and tools that can help you improve your productivity at work puts you ahead of others in the competition. Keeping yourself up to date with technological advancements is more of a necessity now.
At DS Education Group, we know how intimidating the job market can be for students, especially when you lack the experience needed to get the job position you desire. Nevertheless, taking the time to identify and highlight the soft skills you do possess, and develop the soft skills you don’t currently have can help the employer understand how and why you’re the right person for the role.
So, work on acquiring and nurturing these skills to maximize your employability and showcase the value you bring as a candidate.