I want to improve my employability skills

What are employability skills and how can I improve them?

Employability skills are the transferable skills needed to make you 'employable'. They are a core set of behaviours and competencies that are essential for being successful in the job you are applying for, based on your knowledge, technical skills and your attitude. They are sometimes called transferable skills or soft skills.

They are the skills that show:

  • how you work
  • how you work with others
  • how you think

Job seekers need to demonstrate the qualities and attitudes that will make them successful members of an organisation; skills like the ability to build and develop relationships, solve problems, take the initiative and hit targets.

Think about how your experience would benefit the organisation and make you the right person for the job. Examples or evidence of your range of skills are important as they give you an opportunity to stand out from other candidates and will help employers decide whether you will be a good fit for their business. They can be the secret to a stand-out application.

Read our blog to find out why employability skills are so important.

What are the top 10 employability skills that employers want?

We’ve done a little bit of research and there seems to be general consensus that the following 10 employability skills are the key ones an employer will look out for in your application and job interview.

  1. Commercial awareness

This is all about your understanding of how a business works and what makes it successful. You need to show your knowledge of the organisation you are applying to and what commercial skills you can bring.

  1. Communication skills

Communication plays such a key role in any job. Employers will want to know that you can listen, follow instructions, put forward ideas clearly, challenge people’s ideas, speak clearly to customers, write competently and more.

The job application process is an opportunity to make a good first impression and employers will be keen to see how well you present yourself in your written application and verbally in your interview.

  1. Teamwork

Effective teamwork is important in any successful business, so you will need to show that you can work effectively to support team goals. You need to show that you are happy working closely with others, delegating, listening and taking responsibility for your share of the workload.

  1. Negotiation skills

This is about balancing your wishes or ideas with someone else’s, who may have different ideas and ending with a positive outcome. Think of a time in your life when you have had to make a compromise and how you achieved it.

  1. Problem solving

How you deal with problems is important to an employer. They will be looking to see that you can use your knowledge and experience to tackle them and you can develop a number of different ways to overcome them.

  1. Leadership

Employers like to see leadership skills even at entry-level jobs as they give a good indication of how you might progress within the business, motivate others, delegate tasks and interact well within a team.

  1. Organisational skills

Being able to organise and plan your workload effectively and ensure projects are completed on time are really important. Think about how you can show an employer how you go about prioritising what needs to get done when, and how you go about staying on track to meet deadlines.

  1. Ability to learn

Employers will want to know that you are keen to learn new things, that you’re capable of learning from your successes and failures and that you can adapt and do things better. Has there been a time when you have voluntarily put yourself forward to learn new skills? What examples do you have of using feedback to improve your work?

  1. Ability to work under pressure

Meeting deadlines and targets is vital in any business and employers will be keen to see that they can rely on you to handle the pressure of meeting a target. Do you stay calm in a crisis?

  1. Having a positive attitude and using your initiative

Being able to think for yourself and not always having to be told what to do next is an important quality to have in a work environment. They will want to see that you’re not afraid to put ideas forward, do things in a different way and you can see things through to the end. Having a ‘can do’ approach is likely to make you more successful.

The good news is – there are loads of ways in which you can improve your employability skills and add new experience to your CV.

Listen to Vinny explaining the benefits of identifying your transferrable skills.

At Inspira, we specialise in providing advice and support to enable both young people and adults to achieve their personal and professional goals. Depending on your individual circumstances, we offer a number of free services, workshops and programmes designed to help you on your path to success:

Identify how work experience and volunteer opportunities will enable you to reach your goals

  • Find local opportunities
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses
  • Improve your employability skills and qualification level
  • Identify local courses
  • Make a step-by-step plan to reach your goals
  • Update your CV