Top 20 Employability Skills: Definition and Examples

For many people today, a career for life is no longer an option. Most people will hold jobs with a variety of employers and move across different employment sectors throughout their working life.

Employability refers to your ability to gain initial employment, maintain employment, and obtain new employment if required.

According to STEMNET (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Network), “employability” is defined as “transferable skills needed by an individual to make them ’employable.”

Employability relates to your knowledge, skills, and attitudes, how you use those assets, and how you present them to employers in today’s context.

Do you have what it takes to make every employer fight for you? Do you want to know the skills you should have to be considered employable?

You’re about to learn what some of the most desirable employability skills are, why should learn them and how you can learn them.

What are Employability Skills?

Employability skills are abilities to have a set of highly desirable, transferable skills that turn you into a very attractive candidate or employee.

They can be defined as a set of skills employers want from a potential employee.

There are skills that are peculiar to the employee which employers look out for and also skills which would ensure that the employee contributes a lot in the business organization.

Employability skills have been described as the essential skills, personal qualities and values that enable you to thrive in any workplace.

All employers value these skills. In your job application you should highlight examples of when you used these skills.

You should also explain how these skills can benefit the business and make you the best candidate for the job.

Why Learn Employability Skills?

Employers value employability skills because they regard these as indications of how you get along with other employees and team members and customers and how efficiently you are likely to handle your job performance and career success.

It shows them that in hiring you, they get an asset and they would get value for their money.

Having an employability skill also shows you are ready for the position you want to be offered. You cannot apply for the post of manager and not have managerial skills.

Experts are highly sought after in the world today. It would be best if you get skills that would set you apart from the rest.

An employer would most likely hire a person with employability skills than one without because they believe it would aid in a productive and smoothly functioning workforce.

Emphasis is always made towards the learning of these employability skills.

Employers value these unique attributes in their potential employees because they have always been necessary for a productive and smoothly functioning workforce.

Enterprises spend a substantial amount of time and money, developing these foundational and work-readiness skills.

How Do I Learn Employability Skills?

In the world today, all you need is to have the interest to learn something. Where to learn anything from is barely an issue anymore. All you need is the drive and a working internet connection.

You can also build your employability skills through participation in paid work, unpaid work and volunteering, sport and other hobbies, community or other group activities, listening and watching people, paying attention, online platforms.

These employability skills are all vital to finding a job and having a successful career, and can also be developed in no time.

Even if you are in the university getting a degree, you can also get these skills. Employability skills like critical thinking, time management and team work would be a common feature of attaining your degree.

One of the best ways of developing your employability skills is with a university degree. You can also get these skills online through platforms like YouTube, Coursera and others.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Employability Skills?

This depends on if you already possess any skills for being employable. If you have any employability skills, it would be easier for you to gain more.

You can get these skills within a few months. If you have non, it would take a while for you to build up these skills.

Top 20 Employability Skills

#1. Administrative Skills

Administrative skills are one of the most important employability skills which employers look out for. They are qualities that help you complete tasks related to a business.

You can be employed based on this skill because you can be able to fill paperwork properly, meet internal and external stakeholders, present important information, and work on developing processes.

Employers look out for administrative skills because they keep business processes running smoothly. Any successful, efficient organization should have both administrative professionals who have strong skills in this area, as well as individual contributors who have good administrative skills.

#2. Organizational Skills

Organizational skills are the abilities that let you stay focused on different tasks, and use your time, energy, strength, mental capacity, physical space, effectively and efficiently in order to achieve the desired outcome.

Having organizational skills shows you are organized and your employer can trust you with certain peculiar projects.

#3. Management Skills

An employer would likely not employ a person who would misuse the resources of the organization.

You have to show that you have good management skills which can help in coordinating and making use of organizational resources sensibly and improving the efficiency of your coworkers.

To effectively use this skill, you must have forward planning and strategic thinking and the ability to self-motivate.

#4. Marketing Skills

This skill depends on the organization you’re working for. If your employment entails promoting any product, service, or idea, it encompasses that you possess many different marketing skills and personal qualities.

The process begins with analyzing your audience and defining their perceptions of your product, service, or idea.

Also, identifying those features or aspects of what you are marketing that will be most appealing to your audience is essential.

#5. Creative Thinking Skills

Creative thinking is the ability to consider something in a new way. It might be a new approach to a problem, a resolution to a conflict between employees, or a new result from a data set.

Employers in all industries want employees who can think creatively and bring new perspectives to the workplace. Creative thinking might mean devising new ways to carry out tasks, solve problems, and meet challenges.

It means bringing a fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, perspective to your work. This way of thinking can help departments and organizations be more productive.

#6. Collaboration Skills

Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together for a common purpose to achieve business benefits.

Basically, collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.

In the workplace, collaboration occurs when two or more people work together towards a common goal that benefits the team or company.

Collaboration skills aren’t a skill set in themselves, but rather a group of different soft skills and behaviors that facilitate collaboration and teamwork. It is one of the top employability skills employers look out for.

#7. Customer Service Skills

Bad customer service skills has rendered most business bankrupt. This is the reason why most employers look out for people who have good customer care skills and can make a customer come back after the first business.

Customer service is the support you offer your customers before and after they buy and use your products or services that helps them have an easy and enjoyable experience with you.

Good customer service typically means providing timely, attentive, upbeat service to a customer, and making sure their needs are met in a manner that reflects positively on the company or business. This is an employability skill worth learning.

#8. Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills help you determine why an issue is happening and how to resolve that issue.

It’s one of the key skills that employers seek in job applicants, as employees with these skills tend to be self-reliant.

Problem-solving skills require quickly identifying the underlying issue and implementing a solution.

#9. Communication Skills

Communication skills allow you to give and receive information. Research has shown that employers consistently rank communication skills as one of the most commonly requested skills in 2020 job postings.

Using, improving, and showcasing your communication skills can help you both advance in your career and be competitive when searching for new jobs.

#10. Adaptability Skills-

This is a skill every employer cannot afford to do without. It means being able to rapidly learn new skills and behaviors in response to changing circumstances.

If you have adaptability skills in the workplace, it means you are flexible and have the ability to respond effectively to your working conditions, even if things don’t go as planned.

Adaptable people can possess elastic-like energy, a willingness to bend and break habits, to challenge themselves when their circumstances change. Employers constantly look-out for this skill.

#11. Time Management Skills-

Time management skill refers to the ability to plan and exercise conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.

The 5 key elements of time management are a conducive environment, setting priorities, eliminating non-priorities, goal setting, and forming the right habits.

#12. Technology Usage Skills-

In this time and age, almost all employments would require that you use a form of technology to do your job more efficiently.

If you are to work in a place that deals with mathematics, computer science, mechanics, and information technology, you should ensure you have very sound knowledge of how to use recent technology.

For example, retail and food service workers often need to know how to use point-of-sale (POS) software. For computer programmers, knowledge of various coding languages is considered a technical skill.

#13. Information Usage Skills

Information use has to do with understanding what information sources people choose and how people apply information to make sense of their lives and situations.

Different individuals and groups interpret and use information differently. Good information, it is believed, improves decision making, enhances efficiency, and provides a competitive edge to the organization which knows more than the opposition.

You should ensure you know how to well use the information given to you.

#14. Personality Traits

Personality traits reflect people’s characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Being honest and taking responsibility for your actions are admirable qualities and are personal traits that employers look out for.

Adaptability and affability are great traits that can help a person get along well with others.

Compassion, understanding, and empathy are also personality traits that help a person relate well to others. You should ensure you have this employability skill.

#15. Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are one of the employability skills that employers look out for. This skill can help you in all aspects of your career, from applying for jobs to seeking career advancement.

Having relevant examples of your leadership skills can be especially helpful when you’re writing your resume.

If you’re applying for jobs that require you to take initiative and be a leader whether as a manager or among your peers, you should list leadership skills on your resume.

#16. Motivational Skills

Motivational skills refer to the actions you take to elicit a desired outcome, response or behavior. These skills encourage you or others to achieve your workplace goals.

The motivational skills you use depend on various factors including your own style, your target audience and the personality of the individual you want to motivate.

The actions you take to motivate need to relate to your professional working style.

When your motivational techniques align with who you are and how you normally act, it makes your motivational efforts more genuine. A person who has motivational skills is also very highly sought after.

#17. Initiative Skills

We do not find initiative skills in every person. It is the ability to be resourceful and work without always being told what to do. It requires resilience and determination.

People who show initiative skills demonstrate they can think for themselves and take action when necessary.

Initiative skill is a self-management skill, and self-management is one of five key life and work skills for Young Professionals.

Using your initiative skills makes you a desirable candidate for jobs and opportunities as you are showing you can think for yourself, as well as proving that you will continue to develop and grow in your role.

#18. Team Structure Skills-

Team structure refers to the composition of an individual team or of a multi-team system.

Basically, team structure is an integral part of the teamwork process. You have to have the skills to properly cope with a team to avoid conflicts.

You must be able to ensure to balance within the team, ensure visibility and transparency, foster a culture of collaboration; amongst others.

#19. Writing Skills-

Writing skills are an important part of communication and one of the major skills most employers look out for.

Good writing skills allow you to communicate your message with clarity and ease to a far larger audience than through face-to-face or telephone conversations.

You might be called upon to write a report, plan or strategy at work; write a grant application or press release for the organization you work for.

A well written CV or résumé with no spelling or grammatical mistakes is essential and also goes a long way to show you have good writing skills.

#20. Public Speaking skills-

Starting from the moment you show up for your interview, you should be able to mesmerize your employer with your words.

This entails having good control and construction of the English language. Being able to take on a stage and impress an audience with your words, hold their attention and pass the required knowledge is a skill which most businesses look for.

This is one of the employability skills employers look out for.

Frequently Asked Questions

EES stands for Essential Employ-ability Skills.

When you get the opportunity to learn a new employability skill, receive training for a different activity, or take a study course paid for by your employer–do it! Cross-training, new skill sets, and further education show that you are intelligent and value life-long learning.

Managerial skills, intuitive skills, and problem-solving skills are the top 3 employability skills.

You can find out by doing your research, asking former employees,or even asking the organization for the required skills

This depends on the position you are applying for. Find out what skills are required for the position.


If you intend to be self-employed, you can afford to overlook these skills.

However, if you want to be employable, you should have these employability skills as they would ensure you get accepted for positions you are applying for.

These skills would ensure you connect with co-workers effectively, solve problems efficiently, be a part of and understand the role you are to play in the team, make responsible, tough, and good choices when faced with them.


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