The journey from graduation to a full-time job in your chosen profession can be daunting.

Each industry has its differences, but ultimately there will always be competition when it comes to applying for the roles you want. You will always find candidates that have similar qualifications and work experience…

So, how do you make yourself stand out?

Employers and recruitment agencies take a number of factors into consideration when comparing applicants. In most circumstances, these will be your grades, your work experience, your skill set and your personality/mindset.

However, by gaining ’employability skills’, you can severely increase your chance of being hired. So what exactly are ’employability skills’?

Employability skills can be defined as the transferable skills needed by an individual to make them ‘employable’. These are often a set of particular abilities that a hiring manager will look for in order to help them identify the best applicant.

The skills that employers want:

  • Problems solving
  • Teamwork
  • Organisational
  • Communication and interpersonal
  • The ability to adapt and learn
  • Using your initiative
  • Self-motivation
  • The ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • Mathematical/written
  • Negotiation
  • Valuing diversity and difference and knowing what this can bring to the workplace

The more employability skills you have, the higher the chances will be of you landing the job you want. But remember: employability skills are half the battle; candidates normally need relevant qualifications or work experience to have a chance of being hired for a professional role. What’s worth noting is that you will need to be able to demonstrate or prove you have these skills, as you’ll likely be asked to do this when being interviewed. If you can connect your academic or work experience with the aforementioned ’employability skills’, employers will take notice.

What’s worth noting is that you will need to be able to demonstrate or prove you have these skills and you’ll likely be asked to do this when being interviewed. If you can connect your academic or work experience with the aforementioned ’employability skills’, employers will take notice.

Explaining how your skills benefited previous companies will demonstrate how useful you are as an employee. For example, if you work efficiently in a team, you can highlight a scenario where teamwork was essential, and explain how you having these skills benefited the company/team on this particular occasion.

Work Smart

Employability skills primarily depend on your knowledge and attitude, but they can also be learnt and refined. If you are looking land a role in accountancy, for example, you could start researching emerging technologies that could be implemented by your prospective employer. Creating a report showing the technology’s benefits in relation to the company shows real initiative. This type of preparation is certain to get noticed in the application and interview process.

The skills needed to progress from employment to education deserve time and effort from students, which is why you will often find modules on ‘employability skills’ across different courses, degrees and qualifications. For example, at UKCBC, in the Pearson BTEC Level 5 HND Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management (QCF), ‘Employability Skills’ is the final unit studied.

For more information on the courses available to you, visit the UKCBC website for more information and to get the ball rolling.

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