Showcase your employability skills

Employability skills, or soft skills, are the personal qualities and attitudes you have that make you a great employee. There’s nothing technical about these skills, but they are vital to have in the workplace to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.

For instance, are you a natural leader but also a great team player? Tick. Communicate well? Tick. See? Who needs experience when you’re full of amazing skills already! Now to show employers how great you really are...

What makes you so employable?

In any workplace, there are some key skills, or characteristics, that make everything run a bit smoother and so it makes sense that employers look for them in prospective employees. These include:

  • a positive attitude
  • good communication
  • team work
  • thinking skills
  • self management
  • resilience
  • willingness to learn

How do I get these skills?

Unlike specific qualifications and specialised skills, many - if not all - of these soft skills are gained in the school of life. But there’s always room for improvement, and you can develop these skills further, or back them up with evidence for your CV by:

  • taking up a new hobby or interest whether it’s a team or individual sport, music or art
  • taking part in extracurricular activities or organising events, especially if you’re at school or university
  • joining a community group or getting behind a cause in your town, marae or even your family.

 How to include them in a CV

The secret to conveying your soft skills successfully in your CV is to back them up. But given that your CV shouldn’t be more than two pages, how do you fit in the evidence? Bullet point key employability skills and include one example:

  • If you’re light on work experience, or even if you’re not, volunteer roles can show evidence of soft skills. For instance, you coached a sports team which shows leadership, a willingness to learn and self-management, or you successfully raised funds for a cause which shows thinking skills, resilience and a positive attitude.
  • Including ‘everyday’ qualifications like a drivers’ licence or first aid certificate also shows you possess soft skills, such as willingness to learn, self management and a good attitude.
  • Some hobbies may be helpful to include, such as a team sport which shows that you are, literally, a good team player.

How to include them in an interview

Unlike cold hard facts and figures such as your grades, qualifications and experience, soft skills are harder to demonstrate and prove. So how do you show employers that these skills are more than just empty words in your cover letter?

  • Use interview questions that ask for examples as an opportunity to demonstrate how you applied your soft skills in real life situations.
  • For instance, you used clear communication and resilience in a tricky situation, leadership for a successful outcome, self-management throughout a challenging project and a willingness to learn.
  • Throughout the interview, convey your positive attitude.

Showing up on time and prepared for the interview, including thorough research of the company and the job, demonstrates your self-management skills.