That’s certainly part of it, but not necessarily the entire picture.
Graduates who are depending on their newly minted credential alone to carry them are in for a rude awakening. Employability is a term that defines the traits and the skills of the individual being considered as well as education. These competencies are neither job nor industry specific. Rather, they must transcend specific jobs and industries and cut horizontally across disciplines and culture. They must span the various hiring verticals from CEO to front line worker.
According to Dale Carnegie Training, the winning attributes high on the most discerning lists fall into three main categories:
- Basic skills — Here’s where your education comes into play. Often the first thing a selection committee looks for is proficiency with communications in all forms: Reading, writing, composing, speaking and listening are the biggies. And of course, employers are also interested to know you can do basic math too!
- Critical thinking — The second category of winning attributes concerns your ability to make good decisions and apply sound reasoning. Prospective employers want to see your powers of innovation and the ability to problem-solve creatively using the resources of time, money, and people to the greatest advantage.
- Personal qualities and interpersonal skills — Last, but not least, personal qualities and interpersonal skills have the most impact when negotiating a starting salary. Prospective employers look for individual ethics and accountability, self-efficacy, self-management and integrity. Effective team management and leadership qualities also help to fast track a new career.
You will find aspects of all these attributes within the communications you provide to prospective employers, including cover letters, resumes, interviews, thank- you notes and references. Also consider crafting well-prepared accomplishment statements that further confirm that the employer’s needs are being addressed.
Employability skills are absolute requirements in the competitive job market. Define and refine what you have to offer; then don’t be shy when demonstrating your abilities.
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