What Are Employability Skills?

Definition & Examples of Employability Skills

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What are employability skills, and why are they important both to get hired and to succeed in the workplace?

Many of the most highly sought-after skills today are soft skills pertaining to your ability to communicate and work with a team or hard skills focused on technology. These are the in-demand skills that make you a successful candidate for employment when you're job hunting or seeking a promotion.

What are Employability Skills?

Employability skills are the core skills and traits needed in nearly every job. These are the general skills that make someone desirable to an organization. Hiring managers almost always look for employees with these skills.


Employability skills are sometimes called foundational skills or job-readiness skills.

Employability skills include the soft skills that allow you to work well with others, apply knowledge to solve problems, and to fit into any work environment. They also include the professional skills that enable you to be successful in the workplace. These are also considered as transferable skills because you can apply them to a job in any industry.

Types of Employability Skills


All employers look for job candidates with strong communication skills. These refer to one’s ability to convey information clearly to others. Employers want employees with strong written, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills. Part of being a strong communicator also includes being a good listener; employees need to be able to understand the questions and concerns of their clients and listen to their employer’s directions.


Teamwork is important in almost any work setting. If an employee works on a number of group projects, they need to be able to get along well with others and carry their share of the workload. Even if an employee does not do a lot of team projects, they still need to be able to work well with colleagues and managers.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking refers to your ability to understand, analyze, and interpret information and draw conclusions. In any job, an employee will have to assess situations and solve problems. Employees need to think logically and make sensible judgments.


Ethics is a broad category that refers to an employee’s principles. Companies want employees who understand and follow company rules, are honest and trustworthy, and act professionally and responsibly.

  • Compliance
  • Integrity
  • Empathy
  • Discernment

Computer Skills

While most employability skills are soft skills, computer skills are hard skills that are required in all jobs. While some positions in the field of technology (such as software developers or IT specialists) require extensive programming knowledge, most jobs simply require basic experience with computers.


Employers want candidates who can use common programs like Microsoft Office, especially Word and Excel.

All candidates must exhibit a willingness to learn and adapt to new or changing technologies.

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Email Management
  • Digital Calendar Management
  • Mobile Devices
  • Word Processing
  • Search Engine Research
  • Social Media

More Employability Skills Examples

Here are more skills that employers seek in the canddiates they hire:

  • Flexibility
  • Life Skills
  • Motivation
  • Organization
  • Ability to Learn New Skills
  • Administrative Skills
  • Phone Etiquette
  • Customer Service
  • Client Relations
  • Presentation
  • Office Equipment
  • Bookkeeping Software
  • Efficiency
  • Multitasking
  • Time Management
  • Sales
  • Goal Setting
  • Prioritizing
  • Supervision
  • Troubleshooting
  • Information Management
  • Initiative
  • Proactive
  • Focus
  • Enthusiasm
  • Negotiation
  • Memory

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Add Skills to Your Resume: The right keywords can let employers know that you have the employability skills they seek, and they can increase the likelihood of your application being noticed when applying electronically.

Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: Apply the same care to include employability keywords in your cover letter.

Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: In your interview, employers expect you to be able to share real-life examples of when you used one or more of the skills listed above.

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