What are the employable skills most sought after by employers? We all have acquired and innate skills that are needed to perform a job but what makes one candidate more employable? Understanding these skills will help you to match your skills to a job description and create examples to demonstrate those skills at interviews. Let’s take a look at the top six employability skills that hiring managers look for.
Strong communications skills are desirable to all employers. Employers evaluate a candidate’s written, verbal and non-verbal communication skills during an interview. Particularly, recent research has shown that the vast majority of employers want a candidate with strong written communications skills. Clear writing skills are rated highly as it shows a sign of a clear thinker.
Teamwork is an important skill across all workplaces. Good teamwork promotes diversity, creativity and problem-solving approaches. Also, teamwork can result in higher productivity and efficiency, better synergy in the organisation as well as provide learning opportunities. Therefore, employers value those who can work well in teams. They also want employees who can get along with their colleagues, work to achieve an end goal and to a deadline.
More employers are prioritising critical thinking skills over academic scores when assessing candidates. Critical thinking encompasses problem-solving, analysis, creative thinking, interpretation, evaluation and reasoning. These skills enable employees to adapt and tackle new challenges, which are important in today’s dynamic working environment. A candidate can demonstrate these skills by giving examples of how they used their logic and reasoned judgement while performing a task, project or assignment.
Willingness to learn
Employers value employees who are willing to learn and can pick up new ideas quickly. It’s about being able to adapt to a new technology, a new structure, team or project. Examples of how to demonstrate your willingness to learn include:
- Talk about the short courses/training or online courses you took to improve your skills
- Discuss the lessons you learned through teamwork on a previous job
- Mention that you researched your learning style and how you worked to improve your weaknesses
Information Technology (IT) /Digital Knowledge
IT and digital communications skills are increasingly required in almost every job. The European Commission’s report of the study “ICT for Work: Digital Skills in the Workplace” showed that digital technologies are used in all types of jobs. Including those jobs in sectors not traditionally linked to digital including farming, health, vocational training and construction. Employees are required now to demonstrate they have basic digital skills. These include being able to communicate via email or social media, create and edit documents, search for information online and protect company information online.
Planning and Organising
Understanding short-term and long-term planning in an organisation is key for all employees. Employers value employees who can manage their time and set priorities; timelines, coordinate tasks and take initiative when needed. A candidate who is looking to demonstrate their planning and organising skills in an interview should draw examples from when they worked on an assignment or project. They should give an example of the steps they took in planning a prior project:
- Establishing clear project goals and deliverables
- Identifying resources required to complete the project
- Creating a contingency plan
- Allocating people, budget and resources to tasks
- Measuring performance and evaluating results
Enterprise and entrepreneurial skills
Other skills, which overlap critical thinking, communication and planning and organisation skills, are enterprise and entrepreneurial skills. These skills allow the employee to identify opportunities, assess competitive advantage and develop strategic goals. Being enterprising in the workplace can mean being creative, initiating ideas and coming up with innovative solutions. In addition, candidates are more desirable if they can demonstrate how they translated ideas into action and show their self-motivation and determination. As well as being able to convey their ability to self-manage their time and liaise with stakeholders.