Seminar on Employability Skills
What are Employability Skills?
Employers are often looking for skills that go beyond qualifications and experience.
Your education and experience may make you eligible to apply for a job but, to be successful in most roles, you will need skills that you are likely to develop over time. Some will be specific to the job, but the vast majority will be so-called ‘soft skills that can be used in any job or employment sector. These soft skills are ‘employability skills’: they are what makes you employable.
The most important employability skills are in the areas of:
Getting along with and working well with other people, such as communication skills and other interpersonal skills;
Being dependable: doing what you say you will by the deadline you have agreed, and turning up when you are meant to be there; and
A willingness to learn new skills, whether those are job-specific or more general.
Skills that will enhance employability skills
Communication and Interpersonal Skills –These are the skills required to transmit or receive messages accurately to and from other people by speaking or in writing, without misunderstandings. These skills include:
Verbal Communication – or the words that we use, whether face-to-face or in writing. The balance between face-to-face and writing is likely to vary in different jobs, but few, if any, will not want at least some of each type of communication;
Non-Verbal Communication – or what we communicate without words, for example through body language, tone of voice etc
Listening – how we take in and then interpret the verbal and non-verbal messages sent by others, including in writing.
Basic Communication Skills:-
Listening, understanding, and speaking clearly
writing appropriately for different audiences
persuading and negotiating effectively
demonstrating empathy, assertiveness and tact
understanding the needs of customers/clients
establishing relationships and using networks
sharing information and proposing ideas
fluency in English and other languages
logically summarising information or data
What is adaptability?
Adaptability is a soft skill that means being able to rapidly learn new skills and behaviours in response to changing circumstances. Employers usually look for adaptability when hiring new staff and the skill is often included in job descriptions because of its importance for growth within a role.
Someone demonstrating adaptability in the workplace is flexible and can respond effectively to their working conditions – even if things don’t go as planned. They usually work well on their own and with team members.
People in leadership positions are often expected to manage unusual situations without explicit instruction. An adaptable leader must be able to solve problems in a fast-paced environment and trust their judgement when making difficult decisions, while still recognising that what worked before is not necessarily the answer.
How to become more adaptable at work
Whether you’re barely beginning to embrace adaptability or looking to sharpen your skills in this area, consider the following ways to increase your adaptability in the workplace:
Get out of your comfort zone
Be a better listener
Be willing to make mistakes
Find the positive
Learn from your coworkers
Find balance in your life
Practice emotional intelligence
1. Get out of your comfort zone
When you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll be presented with new situations you wouldn’t typically come across. The more you do this, the better you’ll be able to exhibit flexibility and assess how best to approach new scenarios.
2. Be a better listener
To be adaptable, it’s important to actively listen to what’s going on in the workplace. This is because the better listener you are, the better you’ll be able to understand how a situation should be handled. This will allow you to resolve any conflict or change with ease, produce the best response and create a more positive environment for all involved.
3. Ask questions
Consider asking your co-workers how they perform certain tasks and handle certain situations in the workplace. One of the greatest ways to learn adaptability is to not only observe but actively seek advice from others who excel in this area. Make sure your questions are professional and well thought out.
4. Be willing to make mistakes
Though making a mistake can be disheartening, it also provides you with various opportunities such as the ability to learn a valuable lesson, share knowledge and consider a future solution. Change your mindset when it comes to your mistakes in the workplace. The better you are at embracing your mistakes, the more adaptable you’ll be at managing the fallout.
5. Find the positive
Many things in life and the workplace don’t go as planned. When this happens, focus on the positive. This will allow you to change your mindset and pay attention to the positives. Consider what you’re able to take away from these situations and be optimistic about the future.
6. Learn from your coworkers
One great way to learn adaptability is to observe how your co-workers embrace change. Consider the way they showcase their adaptability in certain situations and how you can apply those same concepts. It can also be beneficial to ask them for any tips they can provide you within this area
What is Self-Motivation?
Above, we explored a basic example of self-motivation, but here’s a succinct definition of the concept:
“Self-motivation is, in its simplest form, the force that drives you to do things” (Skills You Need, n.d.).
It’s the drive you have to work toward your goals, put effort into self-development, and achieve personal fulfilment.
It’s important to note here that self-motivation is generally driven by intrinsic motivation, a kind of motivation that comes from sincerely wanting to achieve and desiring the inherent rewards associated with it.
Tips and Skills to Motivate yourself
Setting high but realistic goals (e.g., SMART goals)
Taking the right level of risk
Constantly seeking feedback to figure out how to improve
Being committed to personal and/or organizational goals and going the extra mile to achieve them
Actively seeking out opportunities and seizing them when they occur
Being able to deal with setbacks and continue to pursue your goals despite obstacles (i.e., resilience).
Further, there are six things you can do to maintain your self-motivation:
Continue learning and acquiring knowledge (i.e., develop a love of learning)
Spend time with motivated, enthusiastic, and supportive people
Cultivate a positive mindset and build your optimism and resilience
Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and work on them
Avoid procrastination and work on your time management skills
Get help when you need it, and be willing to help others succeed
What is Initiative?
Researchers Michael Frese and Doris Fay define initiative as “work behaviour characterized by its self-starting nature, its proactive approach, and by being persistent in overcoming difficulties that arise in pursuit of a goal.”
When you show initiative, you do things without being told; you find out what you need to know; you keep going when things get tough, and you spot and take advantage of opportunities that others pass by. You act, instead of reacting, at work.
Most of us have seen initiative in action. Maybe you’ve seen a young manager who fills her boss’s shoes when she’s sick and the rest of the team is unsure what to do, or perhaps you’ve seen a team member proposing a process improvement plan to the executive board.
The initiative has become increasingly important in today’s workplace. Organizations want employees who can think on their feet and take action without waiting for someone to tell them what to do. After all, this type of flexibility and courage is what pushes teams and organizations to innovate and overcome competition.
identifying opportunities not obvious to others
assessing the competitive advantage of ideas
identifying future requirements
developing strategic goals
being creative, initiating ideas and innovative solutions
determining the commercial viability of ideas
translating ideas into action
demonstrating sensitivities (political, commercial, environmental, cultural, and so on)
liaising with stakeholders and sponsors
using a range of business communication methods
What Are Teamwork Skills?
Working well in a team means:
Working with a group of people to achieve a shared goal or outcome in an effective way
Listening to other members of the team
Taking everyone’s ideas on board, not just your own
Working for the good of the group as a whole
Having a say and sharing responsibility
A successful team is one where everyone’s unique skills and strengths help the team achieve a shared goal most effectively.
If you have good people skills you’ll make a good team player, and skills like communication and having a positive attitude make a team great.
Why are teamwork skills important?
Teamwork is vital if you want to work well with colleagues and teammates. You will probably have to work as part of a team in many areas of life; from class projects to planning a birthday party.
The better you work with others, the more successful your team will be in achieving their goals. Employees often need to collaborate or work with others to complete tasks and projects – having teamwork skills and experience will make it a much better experience.
Even if you work well on your own, using key life skills like self-management, being a team player is a valued skill for most jobs.
What are problem-solving skills?
A problem is an unpleasant situation that prevents people from achieving what they want to achieve. Any activity to eliminate a problem is termed problem-solving.
Problem-solving skills refers to our ability to solve problems in an effective and timely manner without any impediments.
It involves being able to identify and define the problem, generating alternative solutions, evaluating and selecting the best alternative, and implementing the selected solution. Obtaining feedback and responding to it appropriately is an essential aspect of problem-solving skills too.
We face problems every time. However, some problems are more complex than others. But whether you face big problems or small ones, this skill helps solve them effectively.
Importance of problem-solving skills
Every organization has problems and every individual has problems too. For this reason, the ability to solve problems is of great importance to individuals and organizations. Some of the benefits include:
Make the impossible possible. Knowledge alone is not the key to solving problems but rather, complementing it with systematic problem-solving approaches makes the difference. This helps individuals and organizations overcome perilous challenges.
Makes you stand out. People are trained to do the usual. They have acquired skills and knowledge in what they do. However, people can hardly solve problems when they are unexpected or unprecedented ones. If you become a regular problem solver at your workplace, you are easily noticed, recognized, and appreciated.
Increased confidence. No matter where you work or what your profession is, having the ability to solve problems will boost your confidence level. Because you are sure of your ability to solve problems, you don’t spend time worrying about what you will do if a problem should arise.
Why Deadlines Matter
Typically, we have deadlines for one of the following reasons:
- To ensure that we complete our work. It’s easy to delay or forget a task that has no agreed endpoint. Deadlines help to avoid this.
- To encourage a smooth flow of work. Deadlines help us to collaborate toward achieving a shared goal, and to keep complex, multistage projects on track.
- To set expectations. Deadlines make clear what we’re expected to deliver and when. This means that we can take control of our work, free of confusion.
There can also be serious consequences for failing to meet a deadline. On a personal level, it can damage your reputation and harm your career prospects – especially if it happens more than once.
It can also be extremely damaging at an organizational level. Missing a deadline will likely impact your company’s reputation, and it can have serious financial implications if your delay triggers a penalty clause in a contract.
Tips to showcase your ability to meet a deadline
Deadlines can often be tight in careers. If you’re working with lots of different clients at the same time, it can feel like you’re constantly juggling to meet targets. To help you stay on top of your objectives, here are some helpful tips to follow:
1. Know your deadlines
Don’t miss a goal simply because you forgot about it. Make sure you’re 100% clear on when work needs to be completed. You could even record your target in a spreadsheet or an online calendar.
2. Prioritise tasks
Order your work by time factors. If you have urgent projects that are needed at the same time, work on the most important one first. If you have lots of set targets all at once, such as annual tax returns, leverage your manager’s experience to discuss the order of work.
3. Plan, plan and plan
Don’t leave things to the last minute. Plan everything through thoroughly in advance, so when it comes to working on the task, everything runs smoothly and to schedule.
4. Allow enough time
Although time can often be tight, especially when you’re working to a budget, make sure you’re realistic with your schedule. Leave enough time for tasks so they can be completed to a high standard, without being rushed. Where possible, give yourself a buffer, which can allow for any unforeseen delays and overruns. Time management is a crucial factor.
5. Understand the requirements
Before starting a task, make sure you are clear on exactly what you need to deliver. Ensure you have all the necessary information and resources. It’s also important to check for any changes to legislation or accounting standards, as this may affect the level of work you need to do and how long it will take you to complete. Ignoring this may mean making time-consuming changes to your work further down the line.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If there are any uncertainties, or you face difficulties, be proactive by trying to find a solution as soon as possible. Seeking advice from a manager can help you clear things up so you can move forward and get back on track.
7. Remove any distractions
When you have a tight goal, you’ll need to give the task your undivided attention. Find space in a meeting room so you won’t be interrupted, tell people you are working towards an important deadline and set your calendar availability to ‘busy’.
8. Ask for help
Despite following the steps above, if you still don’t think you will be able to meet the deadline, speak to your boss as soon as possible to see if someone else can help you.
What Are Technical Skills?
Technical skills are the abilities and knowledge needed to perform specific tasks. They are practical and often relate to mechanical, information technology, mathematical, or scientific tasks. Some examples include knowledge of programming languages, design programs, mechanical equipment, or tools.
While technical skills are often most important for jobs related to information technology (IT) and other fields in the sciences, many other industries also want employees with at least some technical skills.
In addition to the technical skills that are needed in the workplace, your command of job-specific skills can help ensure you get hired or promoted. Often technical, hard, and job-specific skills are interchangeable, but this is not always the case.
Of course, required skills will vary based upon the job for which you’re applying, so be sure to be specific when listing hardware, software, programs, applications, etc.
Depending on the job you seek, a batch of skills can be referred to as a skill set or hybrid skills, as these skills often go together within a specific profession or industry.
SWOT Analysis Worksheet
|What do you do well?||What could you improve?|
|What unique resources can you draw on?||Where do you have fewer resources than others?|
|What do others see as your strengths?||What are others likely to see as weaknesses?|
|What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)?||What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them?|
|What do you do better than anyone else?||What will the people around you see as your weaknesses?|
|What personal resources can you access?||Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest?|
|What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths?||What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress)?|
|Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?||Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings regularly, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.|
|What opportunities are open to you?||What threats could harm you?|
|What trends could you take advantage of?||What is your competition doing?|
|How can you turn your strengths into opportunities?||What threats do your weaknesses expose you to?|
|What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet?||What obstacles do you currently face at work?|
|Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice?||Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles?|
|Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes?||Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing?|
|Is there a need anywhere that no one is filling?||Does changing technology threaten your position?|
|Could you create an opportunity by offering a solution to an existing problem?||Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?|
|Networking events, educational classes, or conferences.|
|A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience?|
|A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking, project leader...|
|Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help in a new assignment?|
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