The Essential Employability Skills

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Employers are looking for employees with a range of skills which will enable them to succeed in the workplace. These skills are known as the ‘essential employability skills. Note that these skills may not necessarily be job-specific, but they play a vital role in enhancing your performance and value at your place of work.


Employability skills also enable you to progress in your career. These skills can also help employees find new jobs if they lose their current ones.

Employability skills are important for anyone seeking a career or wanting a new job. They can also be necessary for people looking to study in the future or for anyone who wants to start their own business.

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In this article, we explain employability skills, examples of them, why they are needed and how to improve yours.

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What are employability skills?

Employability skills have been used to describe various skills necessary for workplace success. These skills are transferable skills which are helpful in almost every job. These skills are what turn you into a desirable employee. They can also be defined as the essential skills employers want from potential employees.

These skills help enhance work performance, reduce errors and encourage togetherness with coworkers, enabling you to perform your duties effectively.

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Most job description does not list the required employability skills; however, they are necessary skills that can increase your chances of securing a job. One of the significant benefits of these traits is that it distinguishes you from other job candidates who are also applying for the same position.

Other candidates might have the same qualification and experience or even better than yours; your chances of getting hired if you have the required employability skills needed for that particular role is high.

Specific employability skills are more in-demand in certain industries. Researching which employability skills are essential in your industry helps you prepare better for an interview and makes your resume stand out.

10 Essential Employability Skills


Employers value employability skills because they are more challenging to teach than job-specific skills. Specific skills come naturally, while others can be learnt through education, daily practice and work. Below are the common essential employability skills.

1. Communication

Good communication skills are essential for any job. They allow employees to communicate with their coworkers, as well as with customers and clients. These skills also help employees understand and comply with workplace policies.

Communication involves five various factors which are:

  • The sender
  • The receiver
  • The message
  • The medium and
  • The feedback

Combining these factors can make one understand and deliver messages clearly and efficiently, removing all unnecessary errors and misunderstandings.

Being a good communicator means conveying your thoughts and ideas clearly to achieve results and listening to your coworker’s ideas and instructions. One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to communicate frequently. Below are activities that can help you develop a better communication skills:

  • Communicating on social media

  • Joining a local club

  • Practising awareness of your facial expressions and body language

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2. Problem-solving: 

Problem-solving skills are essential for any job. They allow employees to find solutions to problems that they may face in their work. These skills can also be used when solving problems outside of work, such as when dealing with a difficult family situation.

Problem-solving is simply clearly understanding problems and identifying the most effective solutions. This skill can help you and your employer achieve objectives and results fast and more effectively.

They are various sub-skills of problem-solving, and it required based on the position and industry you are applying for; they include research, analysis and decision making.

Below are steps to take to become a better problem-solver:

  • Undertaking research assignments and projects

  • Participating in brainstorming sessions

  • Regularly developing of your skills by solving puzzles and playing games

3. Organization and planning:

Organization and planning skills are one of the most essential employability skills for any job. They allow employees to plan their work according to deadlines, goals, and objectives. These skills can also be used to organize your personal life or home office.

It is essential to have strong organizational skills if you want to be successful in any field. In order to be a good organizer and planner, you should be able to identify tasks, prioritize them, create schedules, and complete them on time.

To be a good organizer and planner, follow these steps:

  • Set goals and deadlines
  • Create a system for tracking your progress
  • Keep a file of all vital information
  • Make sure you are aware of the competition and what they are doing
  • Stay flexible so that you can adapt to changing conditions.
4. TeamWork:

Teamwork is an essential part of any job. It allows employees to work together towards a common goal. It is necessary to have good communication skills when working on a team. You must be able to share information and ideas with your team members in a way that they can understand. In addition, you must be able to work as part of a team and respect the opinions of others.

To be a good team player, you have to be comfortable working with other people, take responsibility for your work, and share ideas for team goals.

To be a successful team player, you have to follow these steps:

  • Be willing to tolerate
  • Respect the team’s strengths, opinions and weaknesses of others
  • Be willing to take other people’s ideas

To boost your teamwork skills, follow the steps below:

  • Volunteering to help coworkers with projects

  • Working with others in a local organization

  • Joining a sports team

5. Leadership:

Leadership is one of the most important employability skills you can possess. It allows you to lead a team and achieve task goals. As a leader, you are responsible for creating an environment where employees and coworkers can work effectively together.

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Leadership skills are necessary at every level, from managerial to entry-level positions. Leadership can be shown by directing and motivating your coworkers, setting objectives and goals for your team, improving work practices and coaching your colleagues.

To be a good leader, you have to be able to:

  • Set clear goals and objectives
  • Create a positive work environment
  • Encourage team members to take on greater responsibilities
  • Be open to change and be able to adapt quickly

To develop leadership skills, follow these steps:

  • Take time to reflect on your own experiences in leadership roles
  • Develop a plan for how you will lead your team in the future
  • Teach team members about your leadership style
  • Encourage team members to give feedback about their experience in your organization
  • Attend a leadership course
  • Read and study the habits and characters of successful leaders, especially leaders in your industry.
6. Self-management:

Self-management means performing duties and responsibilities satisfactorily and effectively with little or no supervision.

Self-management is a skill that allows you to be in control of your own work and personal life. It involves setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and handling stress effectively. Self-management skills enable you to consistently motivate yourself to deliver a good work performance and help you be productive.

As a self-manager, it is your responsibility to:

  • Set realistic goals
  • Take steps to improve your working environment
  • Stay organized
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Make decisions based on your priorities
  • Stay positive in difficult situations

To develop self-management skills, follow these steps:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to self-management skills
  • Take part in volunteer work that allows you to work independently
  • Create a plan to improve your working environment over the long term
  • Set goals that are challenging but achievable
  • Take action towards your goals
  • Persevere when things get tough
  • Stay positive and stay motivated
7. Learning:

Another good employability skill is learning. You need to learn quickly and easily, whether studying for exams or trying to keep up with new work responsibilities.

Acquiring strong learning skills means understanding new concepts and methods quickly and easily, taking on new tasks, adapting to change, and continually improving your knowledge and skills.

As a learner, it is your responsibility to:

  • Set goals. Learn at a pace that is comfortable for you
  • Stay organized
  • Take advantage of the resources available to you
  • Stay positive when things get tough. Keep up with new technologies.

To improve your learning skills, follow these steps:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning
  • Undergo a course that will enhance your learning skills, such as a speed-reading, memory-boosting or accelerated-learning course.
  • Learning a new hobby by yourself
  • Researching and studying skills and activities related to your jobs, such as organizing, teamwork or presentation skills

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8. Initiative: 

One of the essential employability skills is initiative skills. This means you can take initiative and start new tasks, even when no one has asked. Taking the initiative means identifying and solving a problem, getting ready for a potential crisis by taking preemptive action, taking advantage of opportunities and having a positive attitude.

Taking initiative also demonstrates that you can think for yourself and take the necessary actions without being instructed. As an individual with initiative skills, it is your responsibility to:

  • Be proactive
  • Stay organized
  • Take advantage of the resources available to you
  • Take action towards your goals
  • Keep up with new technologies

To improve your initiative skills, follow these steps:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses in terms of taking initiative
  • Approaching companies and other organizations to inquire about job opportunities

  • Proposing changes to the policies or activities of a group you belong to

  • Setting up a local club or fundraiser.

9. Time Management:

One of the most essential employability skills is managing one’s time. You will have issues and problems with delivering results if you can’t plan your time efficiently.

Bad time management often leads to work-life imbalance and, most times, becomes professional- and personal-life-related issues.

Good time management means that you can:

  • Prioritize tasks carefully
  • Set timelines for tasks
  • Prioritize and plan your day in advance
  • Stay organized

To improve your time management skills, follow these steps:

  • Monitor how much time you spend doing work and learn to plan your days more effectively
  • Ensure you rest and sleep well
  • Monitor how much of your time distractions take up and try to minimize them.
  • Try using various productivity apps such as TasksGoogle CalendarEvernoteGoogle KeepTodoist, or Trello. Find the ones that work for you!
10. Technology: 

In today’s world, it is essential to be proficient in using technology. To remain employable in today’s world, you must be knowledgeable of the latest technologies relevant to your profession, and this includes:

  • Knowing how to use a computer and the internet safely
  • Being comfortable with various software programs, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop
  • Having a working knowledge of social media platforms such as Facebook,
  • Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Using email effectively

To improve the use of technology, follow these steps:

  • Read industry blogs, websites, and magazines to stay current and update yourself with the latest trend.
  • Learn from free online tutorials you can find on YouTube
  • Enrol in online classes using online learning platforms such as UdemyCoursera or MadBright.

Below are links that will aid you in asses your employability skills and rate yourself online for free.

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Author: Obot

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