Employability skills are general skills that are needed to get most jobs, but they also help you to stay in a job and work your way to the top.
While there will always be some job-specific skills that an employer is looking for, most employers will also want you to have some general skills. Chances are you'll be asked questions about both job-specific skills and general employability skills in a job interview.
The Federal Government has done some work with research and consulting groups to develop a list of general employability skills (new window) that are recognised by education and training providers and in the workforce.
There are eight skills that employers want you to have whatever industry you’re working in.
You have to be a good talker and maybe also a good writer (depending on the job). You have to be confident about speaking to people face-to-face or over the phone, and you may also need to write well enough to be understood in emails and memos.
You have to be good at working with people. This means both your workmates and other people that come into contact with your organisation.
3. Problem Solving
You have to be able to find solutions when faced with difficulties or set-backs. Even if you can’t think of a solution straight away, you need to have a logical process for figuring things out.
4. Initiative and Enterprise
You need to be able to think about the bigger picture and the future of the organisation you’re working for. Employers will value your ability to think creatively and to make improvements to the way things are.
5. Planning and Organising
You need to be able to organise yourself, plan project timelines and meet deadlines.
You need to be able to get on with your work without someone having to check up on you every five minutes. You should also be able to stay on top of your own deadlines and be able to delegate tasks to make sure things get done on time.
You should want to learn new things and be able to pick them up quickly. There are likely to be some changes to your job and to the structure of your workplace while you are working there. You should be able to take on new tasks and to meet the needs of a changing workplace.
Most jobs these days require you to use some form of technology. You'll need to know how to use a computer and how to touch-type for most office jobs, but there are other types of technology that you might need to be familiar with depending on the industry you work in.
The Federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education has more information about employability skills, how the list of skills were developed, and how they apply at work.