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Employability Skills: Skills for Getting a Job

Soft skills are necessary professional skills you should develop to thrive in your career path. Developing soft skills enhances your chances of employment, retention, and promotion.

The past decade of technological advancement ushered in a global shift to a new system of work and job skills defined by an ever-expanding group of new technologies. The ability of companies to fully harness the new technologies and the opportunities they bring depends on the availability of talents.

What are Job Skills?

Job skills are abilities and competencies that prove you are a good fit for a job. Job skills are necessary for productivity. The level of skills employees has influences the quality of work they produce.

You can acquire job skills through learning and consistent practice. Learning can take place through seminars, workshops, training, and online courses.

There are job-specific skills required for a job role identified as hard skills. Also, there are soft skills, also called transferable skills, that can be generally used across jobs.

Soft skills vs. Hard skills

Soft skills build or enhance personal attitudes towards work and people. It imbibes in employees self-awareness, social skills, and professional attitude necessary to build a positive culture and achieve overall productivity efficiently in an organization.

A recent survey suggests that Americans when hiring for a job and the perfect candidate doesn’t exist 75 percent will most likely hire a job candidate who has soft skills and not the right experience or qualifications.

If no perfect candidate existed, rather than choose someone with direct experience or qualifications and poor personal skills;

36 percent of Americans would most likely choose someone enthusiastic and willing to learn,

27 percent will hire candidates with excellent personal, communication, and time-management skills,

11 percent will go for a dependable candidate.

Hard skills are measurable and job-specific skills that involve using technology to achieve tasks or duties. You can acquire hard skills through e-learning platforms, graduate school, vocational training, and on-the-job training. In other words, You can prove your hard skill competence through a certificate, degree, apprenticeship, or work experience.

Examples of hard skills are;

  • Project management skills

  • Programming skills

  • Marketing skills

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) skills

  • Content creation skills

  • Social media management skills

  • Research skills

  • Design skills

  • Google Analytics skills

Why do you need to acquire skills to get job?

Employers now hire more based on demonstrated skills and competencies.

A recent study from the Burning Glass Institute reports multiple technology companies will prioritize skill-based hiring over degree-based hiring.

The emergence of new professions due to technology results in a problem of skill shortage; employers are actively searching for competent job candidates to reduce the skill gap.

According to the World Economic Forum, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less. 94% of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job.

One way to build your career is by learning the right skills for successful working life. Mastery of key skills sums up your employability skills and determines and improves the rate of productivity.

Top job skills employers look for in 2022

Here are some job skills essential across jobs and industries.

Communication skills

Communication is one of the most relevant skills required across jobs. Communication is the successful transmission of information from a sender to the receiver. Communication is only said to be successful when the receiver can easily comprehend and process the information received.

An organization requires communication at all levels and areas of duty. Employers must interact with employees and vice versa. Also, employees must interact with themselves. Thus, it is essential to be proficient in communication.

Proficiency in communication skills takes two forms; both are necessary to have.

  • Written communication: Written communication helps create valuable content; such as emails, blog articles, newsletters, reports, circulars, proposals

  • Oral communication: Oral communication skills help build presentation and customer service skills. It helps to develop competencies in face-to-face interviews, staff meetings, business meetings, presentations, telephone calls, public presentations, and video conferences.

Active Learning skills

Active listening is an integral part of communication. Active listening is listening to and comprehending a speaker, responding appropriately, and acting on the knowledge or information received.

According to the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, 20% of inputs generate 80% of outputs. When applied to communication in the work environment, it means listening 80% of the time and 20% for talking. The elements of active listening are;

  • Paying attention, especially in face-to-face meetings

  • Exhibiting appropriate body language

  • Giving feedback

  • Providing appropriate response

  • Deferring judgment

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills help you identify, break down, define, and analyze problems to discover the root cause, employ relevant ideas, or develop new ideas to proffer solutions. The proposed solutions are then evaluated thoroughly to determine their effectiveness.

The purpose of establishing businesses is to solve societal problems; this shapes a company's goal. Thus, many employers are keen on employing candidates that are skillful in problem-solving.

Problem-solving is essential to overcoming the barriers that prevent the immediate achievement of personal and organizational goals.

Critical thinking skills

Critical thinking objectively analyzes common problems and develops new ideas to solve the problem effectively. Critical thinking combines analytical, creative, and problem-solving skills.

Critical thinking skills involve researching a problem. Problem-solving starts by finding out the root cause of the problem. The findings then help to break down the problem into components and analyze them. The next step is to develop diverse ideas to form a new idea as an effective solution to the problem. Then finally, evaluate the solution.

Businesses need critical thinkers to adapt and stay on top of the competitive and rapidly changing business environment.

Teamwork skills

An effective administration demands collaboration and co-0rperation among people. Teamwork skills enhance the ability to work with co-workers to achieve a goal.

A company has people with diverse educational backgrounds, skills, strengths, and gifts. Teamwork skills come in by bringing these people together to form a team.

Teamwork is the backbone of a company's success. Teamwork activity involves other skill set like:

  • Communication

  • Active listening

  • Empathy

  • Awareness

  • Collaboration

  • Critical thinking

Leadership skills

Good leadership skills are top of the list of professional skills employers focus on when hiring people and promoting an employee to a managerial position within the organization.

Leadership is an important skill to organize, coordinate and influence the behavior of a team in the workplace. Leadership skills enable managers to transform and organize goals into tasks, coordinate team efforts, and influence the team's positive attitude toward success.

Some skill sets that build leadership skills include:

  • Communication skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Active listening

  • Problem

  • Adaptability

  • Teamwork

  • Problem-solving

  • Delegating tasks

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one of the key skills for an employer, manager, and team. A recent survey indicated that 70 percent of the employees whose primary feelings towards work were negative had supervisors that showed little emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence skills in the workplace begin with personal emotional growth. As an individual, it involves recognizing various aspects of your feelings and managing them to interact, accept feedback and criticism, and make decisions effectively.

Proficiency in this skill set enhances the ability to understand and manage your own emotions in positive ways to communicate effectively, empathize, manage conflict, think critically and creatively, and solve problems.

Interpersonal skills

Co-workers use Interpersonal skills when communicating and interacting within and without the workplace. Interpersonal skills are essential for collaboration, teamwork, and productivity in the work environment.

Interpersonal skills create a company culture that promotes high levels of workforce engagement. Some interpersonal skills employers look out for are;

  • Communication

  • Active listening

  • Empathy

  • Conflict management

  • Teamwork

  • Flexibility

Closing Thought

Soft skills are not independent of each other. To thrive in a job position, you need to develop a group of skills. Also, some important skills like leadership and team skills require other skills to build them.

Soft skills are necessary professional skills you should develop to thrive in your career path. Developing soft skills enhances your chances of employment, retention, and promotion.

For people without experience, entry-level jobs, developing soft skills serve as the employability skills you may need to convince potential employers of their capability and potential to grow.

You can show your employability skills in your cover letter and resume during your job search. Today, almost every job requires soft skills as a job requirement.

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