Why are these 7 skills so important to employers?

Employability skills

What is the magical power some people have that gets them a job with no actual experience in that field? 

The answer is not some magical secret – these job seekers have shown that they have the seven employability skills employers are looking for to make their business thrive.

What are employability skills?

Employability skills, or soft skills, are the personal qualities and attitudes you have that make you ready for work. They are simple skills, like being able to get to work on time and follow orders.

Unfortunately, employers tell us that only 36% of school leavers can show on their CV that they have these vital skills.

Employers continually tell us that they need young people who are work-ready. If they have the right attitude, technical skills can be taught. We find that students of all levels can achieve at school but still be unready for work.

Warwick Foy, Taranaki Futures.

Let’s explore the employability skills that employers tell us they want.

What are the 7 employability skills employers want?

  1. Positive attitude – A positive attitude is not just about being “bubbly”. It means showing that you’ll happily do the work asked of you, and you’ll stay upbeat when the work gets hard.
  2. Communication – You show good communication skills if you follow instructions well and you ask questions when you’re confused. Being able to explain things clearly is also a big plus for employers.
  3. Teamwork – Playing or working well with others is not just a bonus on the rugby ground or during that science project, it’s something employers value. Can you share the workload and be nice to your workmates?
  4. Self-management – Getting to work on time and dressed right is just one part of self-management. Not throwing your toys around when you’re frustrated and managing stress successfully are top skills that will get you a job.

  5. Willingness to learn – Learning doesn’t stop once you leave school. Employers want to know that you can learn new technologies or new skills. Being keen to learn is a good bet for getting a job.
  6. Thinking skills Employers rate thinking skills the highest when looking at your CV. Do you like to solve problems? Can you make a good decision? Do you think before you act?

  7. Resilience – Have you got grit? When something knocks you down, do you get back up again? This is resilience. Employers need you to have this skill to cope with the times things go wrong at work.

Why are these seven employability skills so essential to employers?

The world of work today is remarkably different to what your parents or your grandparents experienced and having great employability skills means you can cope with these rapid changes. Employers want employees who have the confidence, skills and agility to adapt to these new technologies, processes and other market opportunities which will help their business survive and thrive. 

Youth Guarantee website, Employability Skills Framework.

How to show off your employability skills on your CV

You have the seven employability skills, so how do you wow employers with these on your CV?

Show off your key skills in the skills list, work history and interest and achievement sections.

Show employability skills in your skills list

Bullet point up to five employability skills on your CV, with an example of how you got them.

  • Problem solving and decision making. Came up with the idea for a startup business and business plan as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme competition.

Show employability skills in your work history

 List volunteer work or paid work experience in your work history in a way that showcases your amazing skills.

  • Volunteer fundraiser, Green Light, New Zealand. Used my positive attitude and persuasion skills to convince people over the phone to regularly donate to Green Light.

Show employability skills in your interests and achievements

What you do in your spare time is a powerful indicator to employers of your range of skills.

  • Goal attack for Ferndale Club Netball (teamwork skills)
  • Hold a First Aid Certificate (problem-solving skills and resilience)

Get more examples of writing about skills on your CV

How to show off your employability skills in an interview

Your CV has impressed an employer enough to get you through to the interview stage. So how do you make your sought-after employability skills stand out?

Tell us about a time when...

Many employers use the “tell us about a time when…” technique to encourage you to talk about your experiences and it’s an excellent opportunity to knock them out with your awesome skills.

Tell us about a time when you had a customer complaint.

I listened until the customer had calmed down from shouting (Resilience) and asked questions to make sure I understood her right. (Communication). I asked how she would like to solve the problem, what would be the best outcome for her. (Willingness to learn). I then thought of what we could do to solve the problem and checked in with my supervisor to see if it was OK. (Thinking) (Teamwork). I fixed it and she was happy, and stayed a customer. I took a break off the phone for a minute then I got back to work. (Resilience) (Self-management).

Watch this space as we bring you more articles on the skills employers need you to have so you can win at job seeking.

Find out more about employability skills

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