Employability or employment?
The preference for employability rather that employment is a key to success in the world of work, where increasingly, a number of individuals will be self employed. In essence, employability is the capacity of individuals to possess the skills, knowledge and attitudes to engage and re-engage in employment in today’s changing environment, and into the future.
Employability skills are the non-technical skills and knowledge necessary to achieve an individual’s career goals. These are not specific to one particular occupation or industry. There are eight skills and 13 attributes that employers require you to possess in whatever industry you are employed in.
Do you have the skills that employers are seeking?
Aim to be a good speaker and confident when speaking to people face-to-face or over the telephone. Communication is useful in: customer service situations, when presenting information, participating in meetings and in networking events. You will also need to be a clear writer to be understood when writing emails and business documentation such as proposals and reports.
Being a good team member involves working independently, and with colleagues and other people across different ages irrespective of gender, race, religion or political persuasion. This skill is useful when working with customers, in a team environment, or on a workplace project.
3. Problem Solving
At work, there are a myriad of problems to solve. Aim to display independence and initiative to find solutions when faced with difficulties or set-backs. Apply a logical process, creativity and offer practical solutions to solve problems in an efficient and timely way. Having a solution focus with good problem solving skills will develop a positive approach, and make a difference to your career success.
4. Initiative and Enterprise
Employers value an ability to think creatively to make improvements in the workplace, and within the team to products, services, or processes. Initiative and enterprise are important skills for operating your own business.
5. Planning and Organising
Manage your time, priorities and resources to reach both your goals and that of the team. It involves the ability to co-ordinate others to meet deadlines and contingencies that exist at work, in projects, study and other commitments. Importantly, it entails participating in continuous improvement to consistently strive to improve your products or service according to the highest standards.
In a globalised and competitive environment, continuous improvement is a necessity to maintain a customer focus, enhanced quality and market edge.
The skill refers to the ability to take responsibility for your actions, using your time and resources to effectively set and achieve goals. It will support you to manage your deadlines and, where required, delegate tasks to be completed on time. Self management enables you to evaluate and monitor your performance, and act on feedback. Seek to undertake professional development to address gaps in skills and knowledge. This skill will provide self confidence and responsibility to be an independent and productive worker.
With ongoing changes in the work environment, there are likely to be changes to your job and to the structure of your workplace. Learning contributes to your development to enhance individual capacity, and that of the organisation to become a learning organisation. Learning organisations adapt to challenges more quickly than their competitors to remain competitive, and excel.
Learning involves managing your own learning via a number of capacities: professional development activity through study, mentoring or coaching activities, participating in an interest group such as a Linkedin Group, or subscribing to newsletters and updates from professional associations. Your learning will contribute to the learning community in the workplace.
Most modern jobs require the use of technology and specialised software packages as a requirement to fulfil your job.
Technology will improve communication through electronic mail, electronic conferencing to an individual or multiple recipients, and global mass communication through social media.
Additionally, technology is a management tool for personnel, operations and service delivery status, as well as data management through electronic filing, access to information and records management.
Let’s now look at the list of attributes that employers seek in employees.
- Honesty and integrity
- Personal presentation
- Positive self-esteem
- Sense of humour
- Balanced attitude to work and life
- Ability to deal with pressure
How can you develop your employability skills and personal attributes?
As you perform your work, you develop your employability skills and attributes. If you want to make a career transition, seek voluntary work through work placements or in community organisations.
Through your studies, you are able to apply the employability skills, and learn about yourself. Get involved in extra-curricular activities such as sport, hobbies, and volunteer activities.
Building employability skills and attributes is a professional journey. Enjoy the process.
Leah Shmerling is the Director and Principal Consultant of Crown Coaching and Training, and is a Certified Retirement Coach. She has over 30 years experience in career development, life coaching, education and training. Leah holds a Master in Professional Education and Training, Graduate Diploma in Career Development, a number of Diploma qualifications in Vocational Educational Training, and Certificates in Life Coaching, Mediation Skills, and Psychodrama.
Leah is a professional member of the Career Development Association Australia (CDAA).Leah is a professional member of Australian Career Professionals International (ACPi-Aus). She has international accreditation and is Board Certified as a Career Management Fellow with the Institute of Career Certification.
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