Unlike what several people think, many skills that are essential for employment are already within us. They are not specific skills learnt at school or at work, but ‘transferrable skills’ which we have learnt through life. These skills are developed through different everyday activities at home, with our friends, through our hobbies, etc. These skills are also commonly referred to as ‘soft skills’ which help the individual in their search of employment.
So what are these skills exactly?
These are skills, abilities and traits which affect and are affected by one’s personality, attitude and behaviour. They are beyond those “hard skills” which are specifically technical to a particular job or task. A few of the most commonly known soft skills are: communication, team work, leadership, listening and time management, amongst others (Rao, 2010). These skills are hard to quantify and measure.
So you might ask: “How come I don’t know that I have them?” Usually it’s because these skills are quite ordinary and we don’t typically notice them. Most of the time we take them for granted. In fact, we rarely focus on them or work to improve and develop them.
Why are Employability Skills important?
These skills are especially important at the interview stage of employment search. When two people are qualified for the same job, these developed skills may give an edge to one interviewee over the other. Qualifications and experience, although very important when seeking employment, are not the only things an employer looks for. One’s soft skills are very sought after too.
These soft skills are also important as they make you become a more successful professional and make you present yourself more professionally. By using these skills, you may have better relations with people you work with. “Soft skills close the barriers and build the bridges among the people at the workplace” (Rao, 2010, pg. 7-8). Furthermore, soft skills actually help you grow as a human being as they build confidence and self-esteem.
Rao, M. (2010). Soft Skills. New Delhi, India: I.K. International Publishing.
Ann Julene Hili is a Career Guidance Practitioner with Willingness. She specializes in working with teens and young adults who are in their educational and career transitions. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.