The employability skills that your next boss is looking for

Crossword blocks that spell out abilities, skills, education

We all have skills that can help us get work, but what are the most important ones that employers look for on a CV or job application? Employers aren’t just looking for technical or ‘hard’ skills that will enable you to do the job, they’ll also expect you to have employability or ‘soft’ skills that will make you a valued employee and a great fit for their team.

Soft skills are related to personal attributes, behaviours and attitude. Having these employability skills can improve your chances of getting a job.

Previously, we asked Pat Cody, principal careers advisor at Careers New Zealand, how young people can increase their chances of being employed straight out of school. 

Believing in yourself is important when job hunting

It’s hard to know which skills are most important to employers. Pat Cody shared what he thinks are the most important employability skills that young people should develop to prepare for getting a job.
“First of all, it’s essential to have a certain degree of self-belief,” says Pat.
Self-belief helps you see opportunities and inspires you to act on them. Self-belief also reinforces a range of other qualities, such as:
  • Perseverance – working and looking for work can be challenging.
  • Adaptability – the world will keep changing and people need to change with it.
  • Desire to learn – this will help you to learn new skills and keep up with changes in the workforce.

Transferable skills can help you find new work

In Pat’s opinion there are no standalone employability skills, and concentrating on one specific kind of skill can be limiting. Instead, it’s important to have transferable skills that you can take to any job. These are skills such as:

  • Creativity and innovation – being able to look at a challenge and offer new solutions.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving – the ability to review and analyse information, and to consider new approaches. 
  • Communication and collaboration – these skills will help your workplace operate efficiently and effectively.