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Top 12 Employability Skills Employers Look For

Article by GVI


Posted: August 5, 2023

Employability skills are the skills, knowledge and abilities that enable an individual to obtain and maintain employment – key traits employers look for when considering a potential hire. Employability skills are broad and often transferable across different industries and roles, meaning they can make you more desirable to employers and open up more career opportunities. This article outlines the top 12 employability skills that employers look for.

Understanding the Importance of Employability Skills

Employability skills are the qualities employers look for when assessing potential hires. These attributes include interpersonal skills, problem-solving, adaptability, communication, work ethic and leadership. Employability skills are highly sought after by employers, as they demonstrate a person’s ability to fit in with an organisation’s culture and values, as well as contribute to their success. It is important to highlight these skills when applying for jobs, as this is the best way to demonstrate your value to potential employers.

In addition to highlighting employability skills on job applications, it is also important to practice and develop these skills in order to be successful in the workplace. Employers are looking for individuals who can think critically, work collaboratively, and take initiative. By honing these skills, you can become a valuable asset to any organisation.

Identifying Your Core Employability Skills

The first step in developing employability skills is to identify which ones you already possess. Think about the jobs you have held, the projects you have completed, and any volunteer work or extracurricular activities you have taken part in. Reflect on what you have learned from these experiences and what strengths they have given you. This will help you to develop an understanding of the skills you have acquired and where you need to improve in order to maximise your employability.

1. Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Effective communication and interpersonal skills are essential for success in any profession. These skills involve being able to communicate effectively with colleagues and customers, as well as being able to work as part of a team and build relationships. Communication skills involve both verbal and written communication, and involve the ability to listen carefully and provide clear responses. Interpersonal skills involve being able to empathise and understand others, as well as being able to assert yourself in difficult situations.

2. Problem-Solving and Adaptability

The ability to solve problems and be flexible and adaptive are important employability skills. Problem-solving involves being able to think outside the box, identify potential solutions and assess their effectiveness. Adaptability involves being able to adjust quickly to new environments and situations, as well as having the willingness to take on new challenges.

3. Teamwork and Collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration are important traits employers look for in potential hires. Teamwork involves being able to work effectively with others, both within your team and across departments. This includes being able to compromise, share ideas, work towards common goals and provide constructive feedback. Collaboration involves being able to work with people from different backgrounds, share resources and ideas, and come up with innovative solutions.

4. Professionalism and Work Ethic

Professionalism and a strong work ethic are essential employability skills. Professionalism involves having the knowledge, experience and attributes to work in a professional environment. It also involves having the ability to present yourself in a positive light, be punctual and dress appropriately for the job. A strong work ethic involves having a commitment to hard work, integrity, dedication and respect for others.

5. Leadership and Decision-Making

Leadership and decision-making skills are highly valued by employers. Leadership involves having the ability to motivate others, delegate tasks, provide feedback and think strategically. Decision-making involves being able to assess a situation quickly and accurately, analyse data, weigh up options, come up with a solution and implement it.

6. Self-Motivation and Initiative

Self-motivation and initiative are important traits that employers look for in potential hires. Self-motivation involves having a positive attitude towards work, taking initiative and being proactive in finding solutions. Initiative involves being able to take on new tasks without being prompted, take ownership of projects and think outside the box.

Asian man and woman holding a meeting for employees to improve their skills and teamwork.

7. Time Management and organisation

Time management and organisational skills are essential employability skills. Time management involves being able to prioritize tasks and set manageable deadlines. organisation involves being able to effectively plan, organise and execute tasks, as well as having the ability to multitask.

8. Computer Literacy

Computer literacy is an essential employability skill in today’s digital world. It involves having a basic knowledge of computer software such as Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite or Adobe Suite. It also involves being able to use digital communication tools such as email, video conferencing software and online collaboration tools.

9. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an important employability skill that employers look for. It involves being able to think objectively, assess information accurately and make sound decisions based on evidence. Critical thinking requires individuals to think outside the box, analyse data from different angles, draw conclusions from facts and think strategically.

10. Networking and Building Connections

Networking is an important employability skill that often gets overlooked. It involves connecting with professionals in your industry in order to build relationships that can help you further your career opportunities. Networking also includes attending industry events, joining professional organisations and engaging on social media.

11. Goal Orientation and Results Driven

Goal orientation and being results driven are important employability skills that employers look for. Goal orientation involves having the ability to set goals for yourself and your team, break them down into achievable tasks, stay motivated and driven towards achieving them. Being results driven involves focusing on the end goal, staying focused on results and taking responsibility for your actions.

12. Creative Thinking

Creative thinking is an essential employability skill in today’s ever-evolving world. It involves having the ability to think outside the box, come up with innovative solutions, develop new ideas and find ways to improve processes. Creative thinking requires individuals to be open-minded, not be afraid of failure and be willing to take risks.

Developing employability skills can help individuals stand out from the competition when applying for jobs. Being aware of which skills employers are looking for is essential in order to demonstrate your value to potential employers. The 12 employability skills outlined in this article are the key traits employers look for when assessing potential hires.

GVI internships offer a great opportunity to develop employability skills through a variety of projects and initiatives. Whether you choose to participate in wildlife conservation, community development, or marine conservation, GVI internships provide hands-on experience that can help you hone your teamwork, problem-solving, communication and leadership skills.

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