How to hone employability skills

How to hone your employability skills: 9 useful tips

Employability skills and personal values are critical tools and traits you need in order to succeed in the workplace. These are all elements that you can learn, cultivate, develop and maintain throughout your career. Find out how to hone your employability skills with these 9 useful tips.


By Sushil Bahl

One of the major priorities of MBA students is to land a ‘great’ job in a great company! There are a number of factors that are involved to make this happen, beside the luck factor. Personality, past work experience, grades and extra-curricular activities at the campus, the reputation of the institute they pass out from, are some of the key factors along with how they fare at the PI and GD process conducted by the recruiters at the campus or outside.

What recruiters are looking for is the ‘employability’ of MBA candidates. How they will fit in the culture of the company, how they will perform, how they will be loyal and grow in the organisation, in the short-term as well as long-term.

Critical employability skills
Undertaking a simple survey, and from my industry and academic experience, I have found that there are some critical employability skills that employers demand of MBAs, and other job seekers. There are two dimensions to what they look for, professional abilities and personal values.

  1. Interpersonal abilities: The ability to relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, and mitigate conflicts at the workplace given the amount of hours spent at work each day.
  2. Leadership and management skills: While there is some debate about whether leadership is something a person is born with, or developed, these skills are about your ability to take charge and manage your co-workers.
  3. Communication skills: Written, verbal and listening. One skill most mentioned by recruiters for all-round effectiveness. Successful communications is very critical in business and industry today.
  4. Teamwork. Because so many jobs involve working in one or more work-groups, you must have the ability to work with others in a professional way to achieve identified common goals.
  5. Planning and organising: Deals with your ability to conceptualise, plan, organise and execute projects or jobs within a time frame and in the desired quality. It also involves goal setting.
  6. Flexibility, adaptability and multi-tasking: Your ability to set priorities and adapt to situations. Handle multiple work assignments and tasks.
  7. Problem solving and creativity: Involves the ability to find solutions using creativity, rationale, and experience within the reality of situations. It also involves conflict management and resolving complaints.
  8. Analytical and research skills: The ability to review, assess and decide on a solution, seeking multiple perspectives, and identifying issues that need to be addressed. And then doing it…
  9. Multicultural sensitivity and awareness: There is always a big issue of diversity and multi culture in the workplace. Recruiters seek people who will fit the company’s culture, and can manage people from different backgrounds and cultures in the organisation.

Some of the most important characteristics of values sought by recruiters include:
Honesty and integrity: This is respected and expected more than any other value, especially in light of so many scandals in the corporate world today!
Dependability and reliability: To deliver promises, and deliver goods. You must be ready to take responsibility for your work, and be fully accountable for everything concerning your work.
Positive attitude, energy, passion: Job seekers that get hired, and employees that get promoted are the ones with high energy and passion. They demonstrate enthusiasm through their words and actions.
Self-motivated and ability to work independently: Your self confidence, your being a self-starter, and your being able to do work without much supervision. A person, who is hard working and committed to achieving excellence.
Willingness to learn and grow: No matter what your age or experience, you should be willing to learn. Jobs are constantly changing and evolving, and you must show openness to learn and grow with the changes.

Once you have identified the sought-after skills and values, and assessed the degree to which you possess them, remember to document them and mention them in your resume and interviews and land that coveted job you always aspired for.

Related Posts:  IIM Kozhikode: Post Graduate Programme in Liberal Studies & Management

The writer is a corporate professional, author and academician.


(First appeared in Advanc’edge MBA magazine)