Faizal is a remarkable employee. He has impressed his manager with his excellent intuition and observation skills. He is great at reading the room, which is especially helpful in a high-powered client meeting.
Even though Faizal’s observation skills weren’t directly linked to his job role as a senior associate, they were key transferable skills that helped him stand out.
Transferable skills are also known as employability skills that are particularly critical in the modern workplace. Some popular employability skills are self-management, communication and leadership.
If you want to find out more about the meaning of employability skills to understand what employers seek, read on!
What Are Employability Skills?
In a job interview, aside from your work experience and hobbies, the interviewer may ask you to elaborate on your employability skills. The definition of employability skills suggests that qualities like effective teamwork and excellent speaking skills help you get along with others—making a greater impact in the workplace.
For instance, if you’re good at working with a group of people who have different work styles, you’ll especially shine in creative organizational culture.
Your employability skills reflect that you’re good at making the best of each opportunity. Instead of relying solely on technical know-how, you pay attention to other aspects of being a high-performing individual.
How Do Employability Skills Help You Stand Out?
There are certain qualities that make you unique in a pool of candidates. These are specific to you because you spent years developing them.
You’ve worked on how to be better at your job. If you’re a writer, you’ve probably taken the initiative to master grammar and vocabulary. If you’re in a client-facing role, you’re familiar with communicating and interacting with others.
These qualities vary from person to person—based on their industry, job role and aspirations. But most of all, they depend on your individual personality.
List Of Employability Skills
There’s quite a comprehensive list of employability skills that you can develop to improve your performance in the workplace.
Here are some of the most sought-after skills—with examples—necessary for your professional growth:
The ability to solve complex problems and come up with creative, simple and easily implementable solutions is highly valued. Say that you’re a project manager and you realize that other teams are falling behind on their schedule. For effective time management, you establish a new and improved calendar for individual members that’ll be synced to a group calendar. This way everyone can stay on top of their tasks.
Getting along with others means higher collaboration, leading to effective team management and improved efficiency at work. When you’re in a professional setting, you have to interact with many people—from your peers to seniors. Teamwork is a key skill that’ll help you simplify your professional life. Imagine you work in a four-member team where you have to work closely with other members. You find that their work style doesn’t match well. To solve this problem, you decide to roll-out team-building activities to get everyone on the same page.
Taking initiative or being proactive are qualities of being a good leader along with listening to others. If you have any of these skills, you’ll be a stand-out employee. For instance, if none of your teammates come forward when asked who wants to take lead and you do, you’ll make a lasting impression on your manager. It shows that you’re enthusiastic about your work, willing to learn and grow. Exceeding expectations is never a bad thing. Giving it your best shot will improve your work life.
A list of employability skills is incomplete without communication thrown in the mix. How you interact, engage and communicate with others sets you apart in a professional setting. Not only are you trying to convey your ideas but also focusing on how to do it effectively. If you’re writing an email, you should make sure it’s sound with key ideas written in the introduction. Speaking in meetings or giving a self-introduction before a presentation all fall under the umbrella of communication.
Organizations are built on relationships among employees. It’s not just your work that defines your work life but also how well you get along with your coworkers. Interpersonal relationships can improve your professional life in more ways than one.
Say you’re starting a new job. On your first day, you meet your teammate, you talk to them about common interests and instantly hit it off. This relationship will help you transition more smoothly into your role without feeling left out.
If you have the ability to keep yourself engaged even when things are tough, you’re self-motivated. Self-motivation is an important employability skill or foundational skill that drives you to pursue your goals.
Say that you receive negative feedback on one of your tasks. Instead of feeling discouraged—or taking it personally—you decide to take it well and improve the quality of your work. This shows that you’re keen on doing a good job, learning from your mistakes and delivering better results.
During difficult conversations at work, it’s important to achieve a win-win outcome that’s in everyone’s best interests. The ability to diffuse a situation without offending anyone is the mark of a good negotiator. Negotiating well is another key employability skill. Even if you’re a peacemaker, you bring balance to the table. Recognizing your negotiating ability can help you maintain your work relationships. Sometimes in a competitive environment, things can get heated. If you can negotiate your way out of them, you’ll be in a much better place professionally.
Regardless of your job role—be it accounting, legal or design—creative thinking is a valuable workplace skill. It ties in with effective problem-solving because you’re quick at thinking on your feet. If a situation arises where you’re in a fix, creative thinking can help you come up with easy solutions. Another aspect is that you’ll develop unique, engaging ideas to do your work. For instance, say you’re in accounting and there’s a surplus for the quarter. You decide to use this to upgrade your organization’s system for improved efficiency.
Empathy is the ability to feel what others are feeling. It’s different from sympathy in the following way:
Empathy is “I feel what you feel” while sympathy is “I can’t feel what you feel but I can try to understand”.
An empathetic employee is a true asset to any organization. You can be a reliable team member and a shoulder to lean on during a crisis situation. Building empathy is a way to identify with your coworkers and, in the process, learning to navigate different work styles.
Learning And Development
A keen learner is willing to do more than the bare minimum. If you’re someone who enjoys learning something new, you’ll be a great addition to an organization. Today, many organizations invest in training their employees to be well-versed with new technology, policies and procedures. Jumping on this bandwagon expresses your interest in achieving excellence.
Say you work in an international organization. You want to assist your manager when they’re dealing with their French clients. To keep up, you decide to pick up French and help them with interpretation and translation.
These are some of the most valuable employability skills in the modern workplace. But there are many others like decision-making, taking initiative and organizing that make you an attractive candidate. Even though these are not readily visible, you can show these skills with your work ethic, collaboration and interaction with others.
Leading Yourself To Be Your Best Version
Developing key employability skills needs some work. The first thing you have to do is build self-awareness. It’s the ability to know who you are, what you want and where you’re headed. This understanding of yourself and your aspirations will encourage you to identify the skills you need to achieve your goals. Here are a few things you can do to build your skills:
Identify your weaknesses to work on improving them
Request for feedback from your peers and seniors to understand what you’re doing right—or wrong
Talk to your manager about how you can develop key skills to improve your workplace impact
Enroll in courses to learn how to speak well and write effectively
Being aware of your surroundings can also help you pick up on cues to understand others
Harappa’s Leading Self course will teach you how to expand your potential by overcoming your interferences. Key frameworks like The Ladder of Learning are designed to help you assess your skills and competencies. The Performance Equation (Potential – Interferences) also sheds light on how you can realize your potential. Learn how to embrace new opportunities by eliminating roadblocks with Harappa!
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the LEAD Habit such as The Need for Life Skills, Why is Self-Motivation Important, How to Develop Self-Awareness and Guide to Personal SWOT Analysis to become the best version of yourself.
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