Date posted: 18/10/2016

10 key skills that make you more employable

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Getting noticed in the crowded job market is essential, especially when you're starting out in your career. Knowing the skills and attributes employers are looking for can really help you present yourself in a positive light. Drawing on a recent survey*, the following are the top 10 skills employers want with some surprising results.

  1. Work ethic
  2. Verbal communications skills
  3. Energy and enthusiasm
  4. Analytical and critical thinking
  5. Problem solving
  6. Team work
  7. Interpersonal skills
  8. Written communication skills
  9. Self-management
  10. Initiative and enterprise

*Source: 2015 Employability Skill Survey (Victoria University Careers and Employment Service)

Even though the mix of skills and attributes that make it to the top 10 hasn't changed much in the last five years, employers still want well-rounded people with a mix of technical and soft skills or C-skills. What's changed is the ranking of these skills. Interpersonal skills have risen to the top, while subject knowledge and technical skills take more of a backseat.

Ready, willing and able

According to the survey, work ethic tops the list of most wanted attributes employers look for in graduates today. Employers want people they can rely on. People who are willing and able to take responsibility and do high quality work.

Walk the talk

Communication skills come a close second. Employers expect graduates to have the tools to be good communicators. These include writing and speaking in a way that is clear and sensitive to different audiences.

A good fit

Skills 3-6 show employers clearly want graduates who can make a positive contribution to the workplace from the day they start. They can apply their technical skills effectively by using their powers of analysis and critical thinking and really work as a member of a team.

Making your mark

Skills 7-10 show good marks alone are not enough to impress potential employers. Life experience such as flatting, overseas travel, and interests beyond work and study do matter. A genuine interest in the organisation and its work also count.

On the whole, many of these skills are transferable - useful for a range of positions and job scopes. Depending on the nature of the job you're applying for, you should consider highlight different types of transferable skills in your CV.