What is so important about ‘Employability Skills’?

Feb 14, 2020


Have you heard the term ‘employability skills’ and wondered “what does this actually mean?”

Employability skills are general workplace skills, personal qualities and attributes that enable you to thrive in any workplace, and are highly valued by employers.

In addition to education, training, and experience, employability skills distinguish an individual when employers are recruiting for the ‘right match’ between applicants and a vacant position.  Evidence of having employability skills will make you stand out when you are applying for employment. In fact, at least 72% of employers believe employability skills are just as important, if not more important, than technical skills (http://lmip.gov.au Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, June 2019 Improving the employment prospects of young people: A resource for career practitioners)

So, what are they and how do I know I have them?

There are eight core employability skills (adapted from Youth Central website 2019)

Communication Skills

Communication is about being clear about what you mean and what you want to achieve when you talk or write. It involves listening and being able to understand where someone else is coming from. Communication skills include non-verbal communication, such as the body language you use.

Examples of ways to develop or demonstrate your communication skills:

  • Write assignments and reports as part of your education and training
  • Blogging or using social media
  • Engage in presentations and/or discussions as part of your class work
  • Work or volunteer in customer service
  • Get involved in a local sporting, social or recreation club
  • Be aware of how you hold your body


Teamwork is about being able to get along with the people you work with. It involves working together to achieve a shared goal.

Examples of ways you can develop or demonstrate your teamwork skills:

  • Work in group assignments as part of your education and training
  • Volunteer work
  • Think about how you can work better with other people at your workplace
  • Join a sporting team

Problem solving

Problem solving is about finding solutions when you’re faced with difficulties or setbacks.

Examples of ways you can develop or demonstrate your problem-solving skills:

  • Undertake research assignments as part of your education and training
  • Do a course that looks at problem solving
  • Talk to other people about how they have solved a problem
  • Have a go at fixing a broken thing around the house by looking up ‘youtube’ to find out how to fix it

Initiative and Enterprise

Initiative and Enterprise is about looking for things that need to be done and doing them without being asked. This can also involve thinking creatively to make improvements to the way things are done.

Examples of ways you can develop or demonstrate your initiative and enterprise skills:

  • Approach organisations and businesses about work placements or internship opportunities
  • Set up and participate in a fundraiser in your community
  • Make or propose changes to the way a group you belong to does things
  • Do things around the house without being asked

Planning and Organising

Planning and organising is about working out what you need to do, and how you'll do it. Planning and organising involve things like developing project timelines and meeting deadlines.

Examples of ways you can develop or demonstrate your planning and organising skills:

  • Develop a study timetable and stick to it
  • Organise some independent travel
  • Manage your time around work, study and family commitments
  • Help to organise a community event
  • Do regular chores at home


Self-management is about being able to do your job without someone having to check up on you all the time. It is also about being able to stay on top of your own deadlines and be able to delegate tasks to other people to make sure things are completed on time.

Examples of ways you can develop or demonstrate your self-management skills:

  • Do volunteering, work experience or an internship
  • Ask for new responsibilities at work
  • Develop a study schedule and stick to it
  • Keep your room tidy at home


Learning is about wanting to understand new things and being able to pick them up quickly. It also involves taking on new tasks and being able to adapt to change.

Examples of ways you can develop or demonstrate your self-management skills:

  • Do a short course or online course
  • Researching skills as part of your training and education
  • Research courses that you would like to do
  • Start a new hobby
  • Join a volunteer or sporting group
  • Teach yourself a new skill


Technology is about being able to use a computer for word processing, using spreadsheets and sending email, or knowing how to use office equipment like a photocopier. Technology also involves using social media, working with design or video editing software or knowing programming languages. Other technology skills relate to hardware, like knowing how to use EFTPOS, a cash register, a camera or a recording studio.

Examples of ways you can develop or demonstrate your technology skills:

  • Do a short course or online course
  • Use online databases and search engines for sourcing information
  • Ask for extra training at work
  • Find out what technology is used in the job you want and how it’s used
  • Make a list of all the technology you’re already using in your day-to-day life

Want more information? 

Student Success and Wellbeing staff provide career information, guidance and education through self-help and online tools, as well as face-to-face and telephone support, available between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Please call 1800 882 661 or call in to your nearest campus to make an appointment, or view more at Career Services.

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