How to Improve Employability Skills
Searching for employment can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Employers often seem to be looking for a diverse range of experience and skills. Fortunately, there are core skills you can master that will make you employable in a range of fields and industries.
What are Employability Skills?
Employability skills are qualities and attributes that are essential for success in almost any workplace. Regardless of your qualifications and experience, possessing the right employability skills is vital to making yourself stand out to potential employers.
According to the Australian Government’s Job Jumpstart program, employability skills include effective communication, reliability, motivation and the ability to work in a team. The Victorian Department of Education and Training also lists honesty, adaptability and the ability to deal with pressure as important attributes employers are looking for.
Essentially, employers are always searching for candidates who are reliable and approach their work and workplace with a positive attitude.
Where can Employability Skills be Improved?
There are numerous ways to build and improve employability skills. Nearly all forms of work require you to exercise employability skills, including part-time and casual work. Participating in paid work can be a fantastic chance to improve communication skills with team members, work towards shared goals and demonstrate an ability to understand and follow instructions.
Employability skills can also be improved through a range of unpaid activities. These can include volunteering positions, sports teams and other community and group activities. All these activities are a vital way to foster a sense of motivation, reliability and leadership.
When searching for job candidates, employers often take a person’s unpaid activities into consideration alongside their work history. Participating in unpaid activities demonstrates a positive work ethic and ability to work with others.
Internships and mentoring programs are an important way to improve industry-specific employability skills. Obtaining a position in these programs often requires initiative and motivation, skills which can be gained through previously mentioned activities. Internships and mentoring not only provide exposure to industry skills, they also allow you to network and establish yourself in a field of work.
Demonstrating Employability Skills
There are several ways to demonstrate your employability skills, including using an elevator pitch and the STAR Method.
An elevator pitch is a thirty-second explanation of your academic and employment background and your career aspirations. Employability skills can be intertwined with all these topics to demonstrate your strengths.
The STAR Method can be used in longer interview settings, with STAR standing for situation, task, action and response. The STAR Method is a clear way to describe a situation in which you were assigned a task and the ways you demonstrated employability skills.
To prepare you for these scenarios, the University of Sydney recommends keeping records of all the programs and activities you participate in, noting your achievements and how you’ve demonstrated and improved your employability skills.
While these methods are all important, the best way to demonstrate your employability skills is by constantly initiating and embracing new opportunities, showing employers your willingness and ability to work.