Developing Employability Skills

Regardless of whether you will be applying for engineering, banking or mental health nurse jobs upon completing your studies, you will need to have the right mix of skills, abilities and personal qualities, as well as the necessary academic or professional qualifications, in order to be successful. These attributes are often referred to as ‘transferable’ or ‘employability’ skills and are vital in not only helping to gain employment but also to ensure you are successful in your chosen roles.

So, you may ask, how do I go about making sure I have the necessary skills? Firstly, it is important to initially analyse the skills you have already gained through previous experiences to help identify your strengths, as well as any potential areas for improvement. It may be beneficial to look at what skills employers value most to inform your analysis.

Once you have done this you will begin to get a clearer idea of which jobs and sectors suit your existing skills and you can use this information to inform decisions concerning your future career path. For example, if you have developed strong writing, speaking and analytical skills, you may want to consider a career as a journalist, publishing editor or a university research assistant. Alternatively, if you possess advanced scientific, technical and numeracy skills then you may be well suited to a career as an Operational or Scientific Researcher. After you have established what your strengths are and what sectors you may be well suited to, you can begin to gather more information about specific occupations and determine which skills you need to develop to give yourself the best chance of securing that first job and going on to have a successful career!

There are several ways to go about developing employability skills, but we are going to focus on the most effective and popular methods. Firstly, being involved in extra-curricular activities such as playing for a sports team, fundraising for your chosen society or writing for the student newspaper, is a great way of amassing vital skills such as teamwork, lateral thinking and writing and research. Another popular method for develop your skill set is through further education or professional training opportunities. For example, a university student can improve their analytical, communication, investigative, teamwork and organisational skills through completing course projects, dissertations and extended essays.

The final method we suggest for improving your employability skills is through vacation and part-time work. Whilst you may think that summer you spent working in a bar is irrelevant to your future career aspirations, this type of work is valued by employers as they offer opportunities to develop important skills such as customer-service, handling money and working under pressure. Don’t miss any opportunities to add further employability strings to your bow!

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