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Obtaining a degree and having a qualification behind your name is no longer enough to guarantee you the job you were dreaming about. In fact, with each year that passes by, the job market becomes increasingly competitive as new graduates from various universities and institutions enter the workforce.
To sift through the huge amount of graduate applicants, employers now have to look beyond your education history. They also want to ensure that their potential employee possesses all of the necessary and sufficient skills to work for their company and with their team. This means that having good employability skills will increase the prospect of you getting the job that you want while also increasing your self-worth and reputation.
Employers look for a range of skills in each employer, with some skills more suited for specific careers. However there are general skills that most employers will look for, so if you are looking to enhance your employability, consider working on these 7 simple but effective skills:
The digital age demands good technology and computer skills, no matter which career field you’re in. Basic computer skills are a general requirement in any workforce environment and it increases your efficiency in the workplace which many employers are looking for. Learning these computer skills is also quite a simple task as there are many free online and offline computer literacy and coding courses available today. You can also extend your knowledge of technology and learn new technical skills by subscribing to technical magazines or watching technical videos. This can also give you a useful perspective on various technical insights and innovations that you can apply to your career and personal life.
In any working environment, you will be working with people, whether in a team or interacting with clients or customers. One of the most important skills to have when it comes to working with people is communication skills. Good communication skills allow you to get your points and ideas across easily and effectively, which makes it easier for your employer, colleagues or clients to understand you. You can easily improve your communication skills by joining public speaking forums such as a debate group or society. Beyond public speaking, you can work on recording and assessing yourself, looking out for things like body language, too many ‘um’s’ or inaudible words or other things you can improve on.
The art and science of building authentic relationships are very useful to fast track your journey to success. Networking offers both you and the company you work for valuable ways to develop meaningful business relationships that can be leveraged for greater success. It’s often true when they say “it’s not about what you know, but who you know” as networking can open up many doors for you at any stage of your career path. You can develop networking skills by getting involved in charitable organisations, attending career fairs and being part of youth board or committees. You can also research your career field and job market to ensure that you stay on top of your what’s happening in your career field and get insider information about what a certain profession or career field will demand of you.
A majority of your time spent in the workplace will be working with and interacting with your colleagues in a team setting. Even if you work solely on a specific task or as a specific role, you will still interact with other people in the company to effectively complete each project. At the end of the day, a company is basically a team as well, so this is why it is important that you have sufficient teamwork skills. The best way to learn teamwork skills is to join a sports team, dance class or music or choir group. Volunteering also offers many ways to build solid teamwork skills while also building your experience and other skills.
Good organisational skills mould you into becoming more proficient, reliable and punctual, which are all values that any employer would seek out for. Companies need to run properly like a well-oiled machine, so employers will avoid any sense of disorder or unreliability. This is why you need to ensure that you build your organisational skills now so that you will be effective and valued in your workplace. Many young people will find building organisational skills to be challenging, especially if you learn in a more sporadic and spontaneous manner. One way you can counteract this is to make organising and planning fun, for example, you can take the opportunity to plan a trip or an event with your family or friends. This will test and improve your ability to plan and carry out activities effectively.
Together with teamwork, an employer also wants to see that you are able to work well independently. Independent working takes self-motivation and the willingness to take initiative, and without this, many tasks cannot be accomplished properly. The best way to improve your self-motivation is to boost your self-confidence. This can be done by taking the opportunity to learn independently and setting personal goals and coming up with strategies to achieve them. You can also learn to take more initiative by getting involved in community service and social activism, which also has the added benefit of exposing you to real-world situations and learning valuable skills.
The only constant thing is change, and this applies to the workplace as well. Being able to adapt to change and being flexible allows you to think quickly on your feet and to work well under pressure. Employers look out for this and they ensure that you are open to change and able to adapt with a positive mindset and a desire to learn. You can learn to be adaptable by exposing yourself to new and fast-changing situations such as working for a voluntary organisation or signing up for work experience programmes. You can also develop your creative skills which will expand your learning and thought processes so that you are able to come up with creative solutions, especially under pressure.
These employability skills will help you to be successful in any profession while also making building your CV and experience to open up many more doors on the pathway to your dream career.
GT Scholars runs enrichment and skill-building programmes that help you to develop these and many more employability skills. Our programmes also include tutoring and mentoring for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.