group of multi-cultural people around table in workplace

Wherever you work and whatever career you wish to pursue, if you want to succeed, it’s critical you develop and demonstrate ‘Employability skills’ skills. Unlike specific, technical job skills like web developing or forklift driving, these are more general qualities that make you a valuable member of a workplace­: such as good communication, resilience, or being a team player.

While these may sometimes referred to as ‘soft skills’, this undermines their importance, as ‘employability’ attributes are highly attractive to employers. In short, they’re the qualities that make you great to work with, and the team better as a whole.

When you’re reading through this list, start jotting down examples of when you’ve shown this skill or quality in the past, either at work or in your private life. And if these are not mentioned in your CV, look at ways you can incorporate them, and make sure you mention them during job interviews.

1. Teamwork.

This is one of those must-have skills that is easy to say you have, but harder to prove. Think about ways you have positively contributed to your teams in the past, for example: ‘I was part of a 5 person team that took a year-long project from conception to successful completion. The manager was impressed with how closely our team worked with each other.’ Be careful not to imply you think you ‘carried the team’, or are trying to take credit for the success, as this is the exact opposite of what you are trying to prove. If you’re new to the workforce, use examples from school, sport, or other extra-curricular activities.

2. Reliability and Punctuality.

Employers need to have people to count on. If this is one of your strengths, showcase it. For example, If you’re never late to work, or you were often given extra responsibility, make sure you ask one of your referees to emphasise this. These qualities carrh far more weight when an outside party mentions them.

3. Resilience.

This is highly sought-after by employers, as it indicates you’ll be there for the long haul, or can bounce back from difficult days at the office. Resilience can be indicated by longevity on a CV, or your ability to endure difficult circumstances while continuing to work hard, such as ‘I paid all my own university fees and supported myself by working three jobs while studying for my diploma/degree’.

4. IT Skills.

Basic tech awareness and familiarity with everyday software such as Microsoft Office, internet searching and emailing is highly valued in any workplace. Even if the job ad makes no mention of this as a requirement it always helps to list your computer skills on your CV, along with your typing speed if it’s average or above.

5. Leadership.

While junior roles don’t generally require examples of leadership, employers are often looking for someone who can be a positive role model in a team. If you don’t have work experience as a leader, have you ever been captain of a sporting team or led a charity activity? Make sure you mention this on your CV or in interviews.

6. Problem-solving.

Problems will inevitably crop up. Great team members can rise above them with creative solutions. Think about times you may have hit a hurdle at school, at work or in a sports team? How did you get past it? This will be a great example to give if you are asked about your problem solving abilities.

7. Organisation skills.

This is at the top of many an employer’s list of must-have qualities. Think about times you’ve had to multi-task at work, have organised others, or have had to run a project. Be sure to mention any software tools you’ve used for project management or database work.

8. Self-Motivation.

The ability to stay motivated without constant external reassurance is a powerful asset in a business environment. If you bring energy and positivity to a team, you will always be an asset. To demonstrate this in person, make sure your body language, tone and language are all reinforcing this message. Or in print, mention any times your contributions have been recognised, through awards, promotions or increased responsibilities.

9. Adaptability.

Managers like to employ people who are flexible enough to roll with the punches and go with the flow. Make sure your CV reflects diverse skills, and mention how you like new challenges and diversity of tasks.

10. A Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)

While nobody likes an over-the-top ‘Polyanna’ type-person who drives everyone mad with incessant positivity, it’s important to look on the bright side and not gain a reputation for negativity. Once tarred with the negativity brush this reputation can be hard to shake off, and this alone can cost you the chance for promotion. Remember those wise words of your grandmother: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!