Employability is the most permanent challenge for the global employee. Covid-19 has changed employment requirements forever. Employers see employability in the versatility and flexibility of applicants. We live in extra-ordinary times.
Definitions of employability
Oxford Languages: The quality of being suitable for paid work.
Taylor & Francis Online 4 June 2019: All definitions of employability come down to an individual’s (perceived) ability to obtain and maintain employment throughout his/her career.
These definitions were the safest in 2020 where employability is the most fluid it ever was.
What are employability skills?
Employability skills are personal qualities that make you “employable”. They are sometimes called “soft skills” or “transferable skills” because they are separate from your technical knowledge and work experience. They can be applied to almost any job, in any industry. Barni Homden Kaplan International Pathways IMAGE
Why are employability skills important?
The current challenges to be employable are extremely competitive. It literally differs from one employer to the next.
Today, the job market is more competitive in an altogether different sense. Along with subject matter expertise, employers are now looking for employability skills as essential traits in their potential employees. Simplilearn 8 June 2020
“Therefore, it’s your employability, the unique mix of skills, abilities and personal qualities that you have. They will make you stand out from the crowd.” Future Learn
Examples of employability skills
Communication is one of the most important employability skills because it is an essential part of almost any job.
Good teamwork skills refer to the ability to work harmoniously with your colleagues to achieve a shared goal.
Reliability makes you more employable because it promotes trust between you and your employer.
Problem-solving involves identifying key issues and their implications. Having a clear understanding of problems and determining the most effective solutions.
Being able to organize and plan effectively is important because it helps you and your employer save time, effort and money by improving workflow.
Taking initiative means recognizing a problem and solving it. Preparing for a potential crisis by taking pre-emptive action. Taking advantage of opportunities and having a positive attitude.
Self-management refers to the ability to perform job duties satisfactorily with little or no supervision.
Employers look for good leaders because they can benefit organizations in many ways.
Having strong learning skills means understanding new concepts and methods quickly. Taking on new tasks, adapting to change and having the tendency to improve your knowledge and skills continually.
Companies search for candidates with technical skills to help them use the latest technology and stay ahead of their competitors.
Source: indeed Career Guide
How can I improve my employability skills?
In your personal development plan, identify in consultation with your mentor the employability skills you want to maintain and improve. The identified skills are prioritized according your personal needs. Set up a time-table for reviewing and adjustments if necessary. The development actions will be integrated in your activities to commence at your committed date.
Here are practical suggestions of how to improve some employability skills. The list is not complete as everyone has a unique set of skills:
How to Improve Problem-Solving
- Never give up if you face a problem—try out different solutions, ask others for guidance, look for patterns and exceptions.
- Get involved in helping your co-workers. Solve their problems, even if you’re not sure how to solve the problem yourself.
- Adopt a learning mindset, be curious.
- Ask others how they found a solution to a problem they faced, ask about the steps they took to solve it.
- Try fixing broken things at home, learn from online tutorials.
- Join online communities and exchange your opinions.
How to Get Better at Communication
- Improve your email writing skills—try to be clear and concise.
- Start blogging—practice writing longer forms, structure your blog posts logically, and make sure the text has a nice flow.
- Prepare and deliver presentations—ask for feedback, practice speaking in front of live audiences.
- Get involved in clubs or societies, such as Toastmaster’s International for example.
- Practice your body language—record yourself or speak in front of the mirror.
- Start conversations with strangers.
How to Develop Adaptability
- Embrace change by setting yourself with new challenges. Start a new hobby, learn new skills. Do things you’re afraid of, do what you can’t.
- Ask for new responsibilities at work.
The cruel reality is…
How to Improve Teamwork
- Be an active member of your project team—offer help, ask for help. Discuss proposed solutions, speak up if you’re having doubts, offer your expertise.
- Volunteer for charity work.
- Join a sports team.
How to Work on Time Management and Organizational Skills
- Monitor how much time you spend doing work and learn to plan your days more effectively.
- See how much of your time is taken up by distractions—try to minimize them.
- Try using time management methods, such as the Pomodoro Technique.
- Use productivity apps, such as Tasks, Wunderlist, Google Calendar, Evernote, Google Keep, Todoist, or Trello. Find the ones that work for you!
- Tidy up your working and living space.
- Sleep well.
- Go for a walk.
How to Improve Your Technology Use
- Read industry blogs, websites, and magazines to stay up to date.
- Learn from free online tutorials you can find on YouTube.
- Enroll in online classes on Udemy, Coursera or MadBright for example.
How to Develop Information Use
- Take online logical reasoning tests.
- Learn Google Analytics or other analytical software.
- Take free online verbal reasoning tests.
- Read a lot. Maciej Duszynskizety
It goes without saying that these endeavours above in your personal employment plan should be approached with a positive attitude & commitment. It WILL make you more employable!
“To be employed is to be at risk, to be employable is to be secure.” Peter Hawkins (1999) The Art of Building Windmills
“We may not be able to offer long-term employment, but we should try to offer long-term employability.” Brian Corby