Developing Employability Skills
From where you graduated is important but employers always prefer those candidates who are able to demonstrate various job-related ‘soft-skills’ during job interviews.
Many of the students do not realise this during their ‘undergraduate’ or ‘post-graduate’ studies and rather they believe their degree would get themselves hired by a top-company.
When asked from the employers ‘Who is responsible for developing employability skills?‘ the typical replies were:
“Firstly it is the responsibility of their University/College and secondly the candidate himself should pay attention for developing various soft-skills related to a job”.
There are only few educational institutions that are keen to develop ’employability-skills’ among their students during their studies. Good institutions have embedded extra-ordinary series of events and training programs which help students learn and develop various job-related skills.
Students are hardly able to realise the importance of developing these skills during their studies hence institutions are held more responsible for this task.
Employers in different regions considers different ‘soft-skills’ as the ‘Top-Ten Employability Skills’ which they expect from new entrants in job markets. Overall the following skills are always remained under discussion :
Employability Skills / Soft-Skills (Transferrable Skills)
|1. Communication||2. Project Management||3. ICT Skills|
|4. Self Awareness||5. Energy||6. Enterprise|
|7. Problem Solving||8. Report Writing||9. Leadership|
|10. Confidence||11. Positive Attitude||12. Cultural Awareness|
|13. Reliability||14. Integrity||15. Adaptability|
|16. Team Working||17. Drive & Resilience||18. Numeracy|
|19. Reflection||20. Capacity to Develop||21. Enthusiasm/Passion|
|22. Planning & Organisation||23. Business & Customer Awareness||24. Stress Tolerance|
|25. Analysing & Investigation||26. Time Management||27. Global Skills [Languages]|
Source: University of Kent & local research
How one can develop these skills during studies?
- Participate actively in different clubs/societies
Get yourself actively involved in different activities being organised by clubs/societies at your Institution. Try to take a role where you can plan, organise and manage activities, this will help you develop skills like Confidence; Team Working; Planning & Organisation; Time Management; Leadership and Enthusiasm/Passion etc.
At this stage the core importance should be given on meeting deadlines and team working.
- Undertake volunteer work
Try to get yourself engaged in philanthropic activities, you can find a large number of NGOs/Trusts/Charity Organisations willing to recruit volunteers on short-term and long-term basis.
Understanding social problems and contributing towards development of society helps you develop skills like Cultural Awareness; Stress Tolerance; Energy; Reliability & Integrity etc
- Apply for Summer Internships
Keep checking out for the announcement of Summer Internship programs by the leading organisations in your region. Working for a corporate sector provides you opportunity to implement and validate the knowledge you earned during your studies. By the time you will be graduating you would have learned a lot.
These internship programmes boosts your Confidence and develop skills like Self Awareness; Business & Customer Awareness; Team working; Communication etc
- Practice making CVs, Cover letters & filling Job-Application Forms
The best way to getting closer to a perfection is ‘practice’. Internet is the best source to get sample and real-time CVs, Cover Letters and Job-Application Forms.
What you need to do is, after having consulted different samples, to make your own CV again and again (practice different areas such as Career Objective; Experience; Hobbies etc); writing Cover Letters for different jobs advertised online or in newspapers and fill different Job-Application Forms. You need not to send your CV/Cover Letter/Job-Application Form to employer at this stage.
By practice, you will have become expert and you will feel confident when applying for a job in real scenario.
- Attend different seminars and training programs
Round the year you will be able to find, on websites of training organisations and in newspapers, both free & paid seminars and training programs in your area.
Trainings are usually highly charged hence you might not be able to attend these at this stage but Seminars are mostly free.
Whether the seminars are about Health, Education, Politics or Business, try to attend them as maximum as you can. These will not only increase your general knowledge and awareness but will also help you in networking with professionals from different industries.
- Register on top online job portals (such as www.rozee.pk)
Different online web portals are now very popular and almost every large; medium and small sized organisations are used to post the job-openings on these portals. One of the Pakistan’s famous web portal is Rozee.pk
Register yourself on Rozee.pk and create your profile and keep looking for what employers demand for in candidates in different jobs advertised. This is the only way to understand employer-demands/expectations and evaluate yourself.
- Ask your friends/family members how they got employed
Learn from other’s experiences, this is the only short-cut to experience. Ask those who are successful and working at good positions that how they got employed, they might have been doing different jobs but initially you should be interested in knowing how they got their first job and then you should try to know how they got promoted/got much better job/s later in their career.
Employer’s expect different ‘soft-skills’ set from new entrants than those who have got plenty of experience.
- Never stop learning
Development ceases when one stops learning. Never let your passion for learning die otherwise you won’t be able to achieve your personal and career goals. Unfortunately, most of the fresh graduates have been found least interested in learning new skills.
Make your ‘To-be’ list and then develop your knowledge and relevant skills gradually to reach a position where you want to be.
The process of learning never ends, even when we are dying we learn how we die!
- Study beyond Curriculum
There are only few of us who study books other than the text books. Reading books and articles on different topics broaden our vision.
Few of the recommended books are:
- Think & Grow Rich
- Emotional Intelligence
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
- How to be People Smart
Follow posts of different ‘Influencers’ on Linkedin (www.linkedin.com).
There are many great websites which provides facility to read free articles and download free e-books.
Muhammad Moazam Shahbaz (Director Marketing, USA)