Employability skills are the skills and capabilities that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations as they navigate their way through a dynamic labour market.

To be competitive, you will have to demonstrate to employers that you have the discipline-specific technical skills they require, as well as the broader range of employability skills. Your employability skills provide the link between your academic studies and graduate employment.

How do you measure up on these 8 key skills?

1. Communication

  • listen & understand
  • speak  clearly & directly
  • write to the needs of the audience
  • use numeracy effectively
  • establish & use networks
  • persuade effectively
  • negotiate positively
  • empathise
  • be assertive
  • share information
  • read independently

2. Teamwork

  • contribute to productive working relationships and outcomes
  • work with people of different ages, gender, race, religion or political persuasion
  • know how to define a role in the team
  • apply teamwork skills to a range of situations
  • identify the strengths of team members
  • coach, mentor and give feedback

3. Problem solving

  • apply problem-solving strategies across a range of areas
  • develop creative, innovative solutions
  • develop practical solutions
  • show independence and initiative in identifying problems and solving them
  • solve problems in teams
  • apply a range of strategies to problem solving
  • use mathematics including budgeting and financial management to solve problems
  • test assumptions relevant to the specific situation
  • resolve customer concerns in relation to complex project tissues

4. Self-management

  • have a personal vision and goals
  • evaluate and monitor your own performance
  • have knowledge and confidence in your own ideas and vision
  • take responsibility

5. Planning and organising

  • understand short-term and long-term planning
  • manage time and priorities – set timelines, coordinate tasks for yourself and with others
  • take initiative and make decisions
  • adapt resources to cope with contingencies
  • establish clear project goals and deliverables
  • allocate people and other resources to tasks
  • plan the use of resources including time management
  • participate in continuous improvement and planning processes
  • develop a vision and a proactive plan to accompany it
  • predict –weigh up risk, evaluate alternatives and apply evaluation criteria
  • collect, analyse and organise information
  • understand basic business systems and their relationships

6. Technology

  • have a range of basic IT skills
  • apply IT as a management tool
  • use IT to organise data
  • be willing to learn new IT skills
  • be aware of the impact of technology on your field and ensure your skills are up to date

7. Learning

  • have enthusiasm for ongoing learning
  • manage your own learning
  • be open to new ideas and techniques
  • be prepared to invest time and effort in learning new skills
  • acknowledge the need to learn in order to accommodate change
  • be willing to learn in any setting – on and off the job
  • contribute to the learning community at the workplace
  • use a range of mediums to learn – mentoring, peer support, networking, information technology, courses
  • applying learning to technical issues and people issues

8. Initiative and enterprise

  • translate new ideas into action
  • identify opportunities not obvious to others
  • adapt to new situations
  • develop a strategic, creative, long-term vision
  • be creative
  • generate a range of options
  • initiate innovative solutions

(Adapted from Department of Education, Science & Technology, 2002, Employability Skills for the Future)