Understanding EmployabilityPosted: 24th of July 2015 by
A lot of companies like to talk about employability, including talk of measures to improve the employability of young people. But what exactly is ‘employability’ and how do you go about improving it? The question lies in what makes one candidate stand out above another, and can be found in a variety of skills, qualities, or experience. These factors will change depending on the needs of the employer, the job they need to be done, and even the work sector itself. So, is it really possible to pinpoint ‘employability skills’ so that they can be improved?
There are some basic traits that will always be in demand by employers – such as commitment, reliability, and punctuality. However, these are not realty the sort of things that make you more employable – they are the basics that employers would hope to see you express.
True employability, the type that makes you stand out, is something less tangible. It includes the sort of skills that are learned with experience and from working with different people. They might include an ability to read a situation at work, or knowing how to deal with tricky clients or customers, but it could equally include the sort of skills and shortcuts that only experience can teach.
In fact, you employability may even benefit from experiences that have nothing to do with work – such as travel (Gap Year, anyone?), or being the captain of your local sports team. Your interests and hobbies can play a role in your employability, as can things like volunteering. Indeed, your employability is closely tied to your character and personality too. If you are easy to get along with, have a mature attitude to work, and can also show some wisdom or experience, you immediately become more employable.
An apprenticeship is one way to directly improve your employability, by gaining relevant, on-the-job skills and experience. Equally finding work experience, or volunteering can also improve your employability – as they will help you stand out from the crowd.
Your employability is something that you can build over the course of your career and life by experiencing new things and learning new skills. But ask a handful of employers to list what makes someone more employable, and they will likely come up with a range of different options.
Making yourself more employable in a particular chosen career is one thing, as you have a target to aim for, but if you don’t know exactly what you want to do it is more like making a jigsaw without knowing exactly what the final picture will be. The answer, in either case, is just to get out there and get some skills and experiences.
In other words, live your life!
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