You might have heard the word “employability” being used when people are talking about graduate jobs. But what is it?
Employability is defined, in line with the University Employability Policy and Strategy, as “the capability to secure and maintain satisfactory work”, and is all about what skills you have and how you can demonstrate to employers that you have these skills.
Much of the ordinary, everyday activity that students undertake can make a contribution to their employability development (e.g. working in groups, planning projects, undertaking part time work, giving presentations).
As well as really specific technical skills, which are usually related to a very specific occupation (e.g. C++ programming in IT jobs, different types of Engineering jobs), a lot of employability skills are soft skills: these are the ones which enable you to become more effective in your day-to-day working role, and which you will keep developing throughout your working life.
You will find that employers now expect candidates to offer more than a good academic record and degree, they also look for work experience (relevant if possible) and evidence of “employability skills” such as communication skills, team work and planning/organisational skills. Employers also look for “rounded individuals” – they want evidence that you have been involved in clubs, societies or voluntary work in the world outside University.