This is a guest blog post from the University of Queenland’s Unlocking Your Employability course lead and project manager of UQ’s Student Employability Strategy.
Employability is one of the ‘buzzwords’ of the moment – most people have heard the term, but they may not know what it really means. If you Google ‘employability,’ you’ll probably find lots of different definitions and certainly loads of sites with information on ‘employability skills’ or ‘employability skills frameworks.’ And, if you search for information on what employers are looking for in job candidates, you’ll find a plethora of lists of ‘top ten employer expectations.’
So let’s break it all down.
Employability is basically what the word suggests – employ and ability – so it’s about your ability to secure a job and function effectively in it. Don’t confuse this with employment which is just about the process of obtaining a job. Actually, employability can be compared with the idiom, “talk the talk and walk the walk,” where ‘talking the talk’ is a job candidate convincing a potential employer that they can do the job, and ‘walking the walk’ is actually being able to do that job.
Put yourself in the place of an employer. Why would you hire one person over another? Think about it this way: If you’re planning on moving into a professional role, employers will expect you to have a degree, that’s just the basic requirement. After all, you can’t be a teacher without a degree in education and you can’t be an engineer without an engineering degree! However, employers are looking beyond a degree to what makes you employable, which is your potential to perform well in the role and make a valuable contribution to the organization. This is more than just having knowledge of a professional field. It’s about being able to put that knowledge into practice and draw on a range of skills and attributes – such as confidence, resilience, adaptability, collaboration, and communication – to be effective in your job.
So how do you become highly employable? You do this by undertaking a range of activities while you are studying for your degree and after. Employers highly value graduates who have stepped outside the classroom and have had part time work, travel, volunteering, sporting, and other development experiences. The important thing is to understand from those experiences what makes you particularly employable and how you can articulate your potential to an employer. In Unlocking Your Employability you will learn how to market your skills to employers and maximize your career success!
Unlocking Your Employability is a unique course in that it talks the talk and walks the walk. You’ll learn more about what employability is and what employers expect. We’ve spoken with local and international employers and you’ll find their insights really valuable. The course will also teach you how to ‘make sense’ of your experiences so that you can realize your potential and differentiate yourself from other job candidates. We’ve talked to students and graduates around the world about how they developed their employability. Their stories will inspire you to start thinking about all the things you are doing – or could be doing – to enhance your personal and professional development.
Are you ready to embark on your employability journey? Join us today and unlock your employability!
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