Employability skills required to ace your work life


Paridhi Laddha

Psychology Associate

Most discussions concerning today’s workforce eventually turn to employability skills. Finding workers who have employability or job readiness skills that help them fit into, remain and grow in the work environment is a real power. Employers need reliable, responsible workers who can solve problems and have the social skills and the attitude to work in the team.

Employability skills are those basic skills necessary for getting, keeping and doing well on a job. These are the skills, attitudes and actions that enable workers to get along with their fellow workers and supervisors and to make sound decisions.

Unlike occupational or technical skills, employability skills are generic in nature rather than job-specific and cut across all industry types, business types and jobs.

Employability skills are widely categorized into 3 skill sets:

1. Basic academic skills
2. Higher order thinking skills
3. Personal qualities

Basic academic skills

It includes ability to listen and read instructions carefully to effectively carry out those instructions. When asked for information, employees should be able to respond appropriately both orally and in writing. It includes ability to read and comprehend things by using graphs, tables, charts etc and basic math computations.

Higher order thinking skills

It includes the ability to think, reason, and make sound decisions. A person who can think critically, act logically and evaluate situations effectively to make decisions and solve problems is a valuable asset.

For example, a person who can decide which software feature to prioritize in the product roadmap is far more valuable than a person who can only build the feature.

Personal skills

Needless to say, great personal skills are a game changer. Entry-level employees with good personal skills have confidence in themselves and deal with others honestly and openly, displaying respect for themselves, their co-workers, and their supervisors, regardless of the differences are rare.

They view themselves as a part of the team, they have positive attitude and take initiative to learn new things to get the job done. Rather than blaming others when things go wrong, they are accountable for their own actions. They also have the ability to set goals and priorities in their work and personal lives so that recourses of time, money and other resources can be conserved and managed.

These individuals practice good personal habits, come to work as scheduled, on time and dress appropriately, and are agreeable to change when necessary. Here are some of the personal skills one needs to have in today's world in more detail:

1. Learning to learn

Learning to learn is about acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitude and aptitude which enables individuals to reach their own learning goals and become independent and productive.

It implies not only that individuals gain certain skills but also become self-directed learners and rely on their own learning capabilities.

Therefore, learning to learn strategies are about learning what you know, learning what you don’t know and learning what to do about it. These skills will enable one to take more responsibility for his/her learning: spend one’s time effectively and stay persistent on a task, select the best approaches , access to a variety of content and have the confidence to know when and who to ask for help.

Youth should have a positive attitude towards self-directed life-long learning, it will guide them for life. Companies are looking for knowledgeable workers who take at least part of the responsibility for their own professional development. Lifelong learning is a must for workers, it is a key element to being successful.

2. Communication

Communication skills are the medium for sharing knowledge, interests, attitudes, opinions, feelings and ideas in order to influence and ultimately lead others.

Communication skills include the ability to: listen and observe to gain understanding; effectively relate to ideas; use strategies and skills to work effectively with others and evaluate the effectiveness of formal and informal communications.

Being able to effectively communicate has been found to result in positive outcomes such as better relationships , interpersonal competence {learning to be empathetic , sensitive and make friends easily} and interpersonal skills like ability to express oneself, be assertive, listen and resolve conflicts are among the life skills that youth need to succeed. Communication skills are highly correlated to problem solving and conflict resolution skills.

Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.

3. Team work

Team work is inevitably the most important skill required, when we talk about employability skills. Teamwork is all about being able to operate smoothly and efficiently within a group. Doing this draws on a number of other skills: the ability to compromise and ignore one's own ego.

It includes working cordially with others to ensure greater work efficiency and lesser conflicts, ability to encourage and inspire other team members and other skills like negotiations, influence and interpreting.

Team work is a high priority for most employers; being able to work well with colleagues is essential. Teamwork skills include the ability to make decisions, cooperation and leadership, organizing groups to accomplish goals, helping others to do things their way, ability to choose appropriate leadership style etc. Equally it is about following instructions from others, accept feedback, respect leadership and knowing how to communicate concerns and position.

4. Problem-solving

In order to succeed in the workplace (and in life generally) individuals need to be able to evaluate information and situations; break them down, analyze them properly, consider various ways of approaching and resolving them and decide the most appropriate way to deal with it. These problem solving skills include recognizing long term consequences of solutions to problems, probing, devising, implementing and evaluating a plan of action for problem resolution.

Employers want workers who will take the personal responsibility to make sure targets are met; who can see that there might be a better way of doing something and who are prepared to research and implement change; people who do not panic or give up when things go wrong but who will seek a way around the problem.

Skills development is a continuous process

For those who those just embarking on the labour force, looking for their first job, keen to start their own small business, or finishing studies, it’s intimidating. Of course not all these skills and abilities are required for every job, nor does ever job-seeker need every single one of them, but a good combination of the broad skill categories is desirable.

It is important to keep in mind that many of the skills/abilities listed develop as one gains more and more experience in the work place. Acquiring them is a continuous process and cannot be accomplished overnight.

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Discussion Board

How can one develop employability skills to succeed professionally?

Rohit Chopra
Excellent article Paridhi, we need these skills to survive and thrive in the workplace! 🤗🌺