Employability Skills List and Definition

employability skills

Do you think you should be including employability skills on your resume? Or in your cover letter? Or want to make sure that you bring up these skills in your interview?

It’s important to understand what employability skills are and what other skills are categorized as “employability” factors. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about employability skills and how to integrate it as part of your job application.

In this guide we’re going to cover:

Ready to jump into it? Let’s go!

What Are Employability Skills?

Employability skills are the top soft skills that all employers find valuable. This makes you employable. Though, employability skills don’t mean that simply listing “employability skills” as part of your skills section on your resume does the job.

These skills are classified as employability skills. This is different than something like communication skills, as that is a distinctive skill of itself.

Why Are Employability Skills Important?

Employability skills are important because they show that you have a basic understanding of how to conduct business and how to have business etiquette.

Most employees who have been part of the workforce for more than a few years will develop these skills.

If you’re curious what these soft skills are that are categorized under this “employability” group, continue reading.

By listing these skills as part of your cover letter, resume, or bringing them up in your interview, it shows your employer that you aren’t simply an entry-level candidate.

Where Are These Skills Going to Brought Up?

There are three areas where these skills might need to be brought up. You have the choice of listing them in all three of the methods below or choosing one of the methods.

Your cover letter: To bring up these skills in your cover letter, you should include short stories that speak to unique qualities or achievements that you were able to obtain from prior employment. Position your previous work experience story to align with the soft skill you want to highlight.

Your resume: To list skills on your resume, all you need to do is put together a “skills” section as part of your resume. Though, be sure that you don’t distract from your previous work experience, achievements, awards, or education. And it’s important to note that simply listing skills on your resume won’t convince your employer. Though, it may make your future interviewer ask you about the skills, in which it gives you a platform to explain prior work experiences.

Your interview: Most interviews will consist of STAR interview questions, these are situational or behavioral examples where you bring up prior work experiences. Similar to how you listed these soft skills on your cover letter, simply state them in the interview.

All sorts of previous job experiences show soft skills. For example, adaptability skills. If the management team reorganized your team and you withstood the changes, that shows adaptability. And telling that story can be beneficial to you showing off that skill.

Best Employability Skills to Use

Before we jump into the employability skills list, it’s important to note which skills are the most effective and impactful to use. And there are a few of them.

Here is a list of the best employability skills that you should reference:

These skills are generally considered the strongest. And they make you highly employable. But remember, you’ll need to show your future employer that you have them.

In order to do that effectively, you’ll need to reference in-office experiences that show you have them. Simply listing them on the resume isn’t going to be effective enough.

Employability Skills List

If you’re looking for some ideas for what to speak to, whether it’s in your cover letter, resume, or interview. Then here is a list of the most employable skills you can have:

These are some of the most valuable employability skills. For the most part, all of these soft skills share something in common. And that is the ability to be a great performer and to take initiative as well as instruction.

That’s what makes a great employee. Someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done as well as ensures that the business needs come first in terms of your focus.

These skills lean into that idea. And employers love seeing these skills as part of your application assets.

How Do You Develop These Skills

If you are reading the skills above and feeling slightly lost, maybe you feel as though you don’t have any of them. Then it might be time to rethink how you approach your work.

The best way to develop these skills is to find someone within the workplace who you feel exhibits one of them and try to have them mentor you.

All you have to do is walk up to that person, compliment them on their skills, and ask them for help.

The more you see that professional or person exhibit the skills that you want to develop, the more you’ll be able to develop them yourself. You’ll be able to ask them why they made certain choices or why they made certain communication tactics. And from there, you’ll be able to obtain through osmosis, the skill yourself.

The other way to develop these skills is to try and work with a friend or family member through a few example work scenarios. Try to have them improv the situation and then act through what you might do in the work scenario. From there, have the friend or family member provide you feedback.

Did you get the feedback you wanted to receive? If you did, you’re on your way to developing the skill you want.

Being Prepared to Speak to Your Skills

It’s really imperative that you understand your interviewer is going to question you regarding your skills. The best thing you can do is to spend time meditating on all previous employment experiences.

If you can, recall experiences that were significant. Like your environment changing. Or accomplishing a big project. Or even seeing other employees having a conflict.

Write down all of the points that you can remember from the last year of your prior employment.

Try to write them down in simple bullet points. From there, you can try to go through sample interview questions and answers which utilize these bullet points.

For example, the interview question, “What makes you unique?” is going to be a great opportunity to bring up some of these bullet points.

Be sure you develop a healthy list. If you only have one or two prior work experiences to be able to use to show your employability skills, you might not have enough prior experiences to answer the interviewer's question in a targeted way. Ideally, you develop a catalog that you can memorize and reference during the interview.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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