Employability skills have been defined as: "A set of achievements, understandings and personal attributes that make individuals more likely to gain employment and to be successful in their chosen occupations". The Guardian have some thoughts on 'How to remain employable in the 21st Century'; but, being 'employable' is easier said than done, so this blog will assist you in increasing your employability.
1. Get Organised
Organisational skills are crucial to advancing your career and becoming more employable. If you can prove that you are an organised individual, you will come across as more attractive to employers. You can say that you are organised, but in order to prove it, you could put any strategic planning sessions or events management that you have participated in on your CV for example.
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2. Build Teamwork and Communication Skills
Employers are looking for more and more candidates that can perform well alongside colleagues. Participating in activities that allow you to work within a team environment and develop these skills will place you in a better position in terms of employability. For example, joining societies, steering committees or playing in sports teams can be done outside teaching hours and within your degree you could request assignment to group projects or participate in professional development seminars that focus on building teamwork.
Verbal and written communication skills are important in most industries. You can improve your employability skills in this area by participating in public speaking forums or volunteering to be a group spokesperson for an event. Take advantage of opportunities to give presentations and request constructive criticism and feedback from tutors and lecturers.
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3. Be Self-Motivated
Employees who are self-motivated and self-reliant are valuable assets to employers. If you can develop your own personal and professional goals and objectives and develop a course of action for achieving them, you will become more employable as you will be seen as independent and able to use initiative. Requesting regular performance reviews and asking for guidance on improving skill sets will help to enhance your work product. Also, offering to take the lead on projects and ensuring that your work output proves you as conscientious and hardworking will assist you in being self-motivated.
4. Understand the Graduate Job Market
Upon graduation, research the companies that you are interested in and tailor your applications specifically to the business. The recruitment approach will be different in each organisation for graduate schemes, so it is important to research in advance to prepare yourself. Some companies might have specific annual opening and closing dates for applications while others may want you to start work almost immediately after you finish your degree in the summer. Timing your applications and fitting them around your exams/ coursework is therefore important. Within your studies, ask questions about the relevance of the theory to the real working world in order to gain a more applied understanding of your education.
Completing volunteering is something that will give you an insight into an area that perhaps you aren't going to be exposed to in a lecture or a classroom. It will allow you to broaden your horizons and prove that you can think in a different manner. Volunteering in third-world countries can help you to understand different cultures and develop more initiative. Helping others kindles happiness, as many studies have demonstrated.
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6. Work Experience/Placement/Internship
Nowadays, having something extra is important for success as everyone has an education and a lot of people go into some kind of Higher Education and get a degree or equivalent. Industry experience does not and shouldn't end in the classroom. It’s important to get real experience. Internships, placements and work experience are great ways to boost your CV, build a professional network, learn the office skills you might not already know and develop on-the-job experience. Having this will differentiate you from competing candidates and make you more attractive to employers, hence increasing your employability.
Regardless of the line of work you enter, professionalism and integrity are important skills to master. Professionalism is your ability to conduct yourself in an appropriate manner for a working environment. Some characteristics that you need to ensure are correct in order to come across as professional are:
- etiquette (email, phone)
If you know of any other employability skills, comment them in the discussion section below. To find out more about our industry-focused degrees, visit the Pearson College London website.