What are employability skills?

You might have heard of employability skills. You might have heard that they are a pretty crucial part of getting a job. But what are employability skills exactly? And how can you get them? Let’s take a look.

So, first up: what are employability skills?

Firstly, employability skills are core skills required for almost every job. You’ll need these skills to get hired and be successful in your role.

  • Motivation – the enthusiasm and dedication you bring to the job
  • Leadership – how to step up, show initiative and lead others
  • Dependability – the ability to show your employer they can depend on you to get work done
  • Critical thinking – this is your ability to understand, analyse and interpret information
  • Team work – how you interact with others and bring value to a team
  • Resilience – how you adapt to challenges and achieve a positive outcome in the face of adversity
  • Communication – how well you communicate with others whether written or verbal

We got the low-down on employability skills from Kerry Silverson, Coordinator of Skills Development at Charles Sturt.

“Employability skills are non-technical skills and competencies which are an important part of effective and successful participation in the workplace. You need employability skills to get a job and most importantly they will help you keep a job. Employability skills are needed in all industries and can help you change careers if and when needed.

“There are many ways to develop employability skills. Mentoring, volunteer roles, workshops, jobs and Charles Sturt’s student leadership program STRIVE. Identify the skills you want to develop and then talk to the team at Charles Sturt to help you plan how you will work on your skill sets.”

How can you develop employability skills?

When applying for jobs, having strong employability skills can help you stand out to employers. If you can show employers that you have high level employability skills with concrete examples, you’ll give yourself the best chance at scoring a job interview.

And our courses are choc-full of employability skills. Take for instance our Bachelor of Business (with specialisations), Bachelor of Information Technology (with specialisations) and Bachelor of Arts (with specialisations) where you’ll gain aptitudes and skills relevant to almost any job! Our broad-based degrees let you shape your career path and give you transferable skills that will allow you to adapt to the future needs of industry. You get valuable employability skills and build the career you want.

A person presenting from their laptop

10 ways to develop employability skills

Here are some simple ways you can develop and strengthen your employability skills while you study with Charles Sturt. And these apply if you study online or on campus.

   Get job-ready with our Careers and Skills Hub

When you study with us, you’ll have access to a whole portal of career preparation goodness!

  • Practice your interviewing skills online and receive feedback on your résumé.
  • Build your employability by joining an online workshop.
  • Expand your network with our mentoring program.
  • Access a broad range of tools and resources such as self-assessments and aptitude tests.
  • Get advice on career pathways, core skills and much more!

“The Careers and Skills Hub is a team of professionals who are able to deliver workshops, discuss in appointments any concerns questions or ideas about skill development, mentoring or job hunting. Check us out.”

  Get a taste of leadership

Being a leader is another great way you can show employers that you have the employability skills needed to get the job done. There are opportunities for you to explore leadership roles at Charles Sturt. Here are a few:

  • Volunteer as an Orientation leader and help new students get settled in at their very first week of uni.
  • Become a Residential leader and support a group of students who are living on campus.
  • Get involved with student representation through Student Representative Committees, University Committees and Boards or Student Sentate.
  • Explore a range of sports leadership positions. You could apply for volunteer positions in media and communication, sports photography, sports training and team manager.
  • Learn to be a leader with our STRIVE program. The program gives you access to resources, concepts and strategies that will develop your personal and professional leadership skills.

“STRIVE is a great self-directed resource that can help you develop skills connected to leadership and employability. Not just for leaders – there are currently 22 modules to select from that cover industry level skills needed in most industries. If you complete ten modules, you can get a certificate in leadership and acknowledgement on your AHEGS (Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement) when you graduate. Modules are developed for practical demonstration of skills and self-reflection to assist learning.”

  Become a confident public speaker

Practice your public speaking skills through oral presentations or debating. Becoming a confident public speaker could start with something as simple as asking questions during your lectures or tutorials. Toastmasters International offers some great opportunities for you to get your confidence up through public speaking. You might also have opportunities to strengthen these skills through oral assessments within your course. A good tip is to practice in front of a mirror, record your oral presentation or get feedback from friends or family. Look at things like your body language, vocal projection and eye contact. The more you practice, the easier it will become!

  Be a team player

Hone your teamwork skills through group assignments or by playing a team sport. Be the group member who sticks to project deadlines, supports the team and gets work done. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with other students at Charles Sturt. And the more you’re able to adapt and interact with diverse groups of people, the easier you’ll find it out in the world of employment. We have a wide range of sports clubs across our campuses for you to have fun, get fit and be part of a team. If sport isn’t your thing, join a course-related uni or social club. Being a team player shows that you can cooperate, get along with and support others. It’s quite likely that you’ll be part of a team at some stage of your career. Strengthen your employability skills by showing employers that you’ll be an asset to their team.

  Give back to the community

When it comes to developing employability skills, volunteering is right up there! Volunteering is just as credible as any paid work you may have undertaken. It gives you the chance to gain hands-on skills and get industry experience. Doing some volunteer work shows employers that you’re motivated, socially responsible and proactive. It shows employers that you really care about your community. You could volunteer your time and share your skills with:

  • local community organisations such as the SES or Rural Fire Service
  • the industry you want to work in
  • fundraising, marshalling or events
  • community centres or charity organisations
  • an animal shelter, Wires or the RSPCA
  • bushfire or flood recovery efforts
  • environmental conservation.

  Work part-time

You could work part-time at Charles Sturt in a variety of roles ranging from customer service and student communications to student ambassador roles. When you study with us, you’ll also have access to hundreds of job opportunities via our Careers and Skills Hub jobs board. Whether you’re looking for casual or part-time work, internships or a graduate program, you’ll find plenty of options to further develop your employability skills. When you work part-time, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with people from all backgrounds and develop a solutions-orientated approach to your work.

  Get creative online

As we step into the future of work, one thing is certain. Technology will play a big role in your future career. That’s why it’s a good idea to become comfortable and competent with technology so you can apply your tech-savvy knowledge to your future employment. A great way to explore technology and showcase your creativity to future employers is through online platforms. You could start a blog or use social media to explore the industry you want to be part of. Tapping into online media will give you valuable communication skills that can be applied across diverse careers. You could become an advocate for causes you really believe in and share news and information with the world. A portfolio of online content would perfectly complement your résumé and make you stand out from other applicants. So get creative and show employers what you’re made of!

  Help solve problems

Demonstrate your problem-solving skills by adding value and proposing solutions to issues that impact your local community. Council and community meetings are a prime opportunity for you to share your ideas and have your voice heard. And if you take on a solutions-orientated approach, you may find that you’ll blitz your job application criteria or interview. Employers often ask questions about a time where you’ve solved a problem or the steps you took to resolve a situation. If you start to exercise your problem-solving employability skills now, you’re sure to have plenty of examples to give when it matters most.

  Understand your future workplace

Navigate the world of work by focusing on understanding workplace roles, rights and expectations. This will help you perform your future role to a high standard. It pays to do some research on the organisation you want to be part of. If you can show that you understand their mission, vision and values, you’ll be able to clearly communicate how you can help the organisation achieve its goals. It’s also important to know and understand your own values and goals so that you can align these with the right career for you.

  Show resilience and adaptability

Don’t let obstacles stand in your way. When presented with a challenging situation, use your critical thinking skills to come up with a positive solution. Your resilience and adaptability will really pay off when you’re applying for jobs. But it’s also important to know when to get support. So, carry a positive attitude but make sure you put your hand up and ask for help whenever you need it.

Over to you!

It’s never too early to start working on your employability skills. So think about your employability skills now so you can prepare yourself for the career you want. And when you study with Charles Sturt, we’ll be there to support and guide you every step of the way.