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10 Essential Employability Skills: Examples for Job Seekers

Article by GVI


Posted: February 23, 2023

The job market can be highly competitive, and employers expect job seekers to have developed a strong set of employability skills that stand out from the competition. Employability skills are the skills and abilities needed for successful employment. Prospective employers are looking for job seekers who display skills like communication, time management, problem-solving and decision-making, teamwork and collaboration, adaptability and flexibility, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, professionalism and work ethic, computer and technical skills, self-motivation, and critical thinking skills.

What Employers Look for in Job Seekers

Employers seek job seekers who possess employability skills. These are the traits that demonstrate that individuals can use the knowledge and experience they have gained to develop the specific skills needed for success in the workplace. Another way to think of these abilities is as transferable skills or core competencies. They are applicable across different job roles and industries, and are also important for career progression.

Communication Skills

The ability to communicate well is important in business. It involves understanding a message and transmitting it in an efficient manner at all levels of the organisation. Job seekers need to be able to effectively write emails and reports, speak confidently during presentations, listen attentively to others during meetings, and maintain strong relationships with colleagues. It is essential that job seekers demonstrate the ability to produce high-quality work and to effectively give and receive feedback.

In addition, job seekers should be able to demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively with others, to think critically and solve problems, and to use technology to communicate effectively. They should also be able to demonstrate the ability to adapt to different communication styles and to be open to constructive criticism. Finally, job seekers should be able to demonstrate the ability to use communication to build relationships and to create a positive work environment.

Time Management Skills

Time management is an important employability skill. Job seekers need to be able to plan and organise their workload in order to meet deadlines. They need to be able to effectively manage their time, prioritise tasks, plan ahead, and delegate when necessary. The ability to manage one’s own time is also essential for successful teamwork.

Time management skills can be developed through practise and self-reflection. It is important to identify areas of improvement and create a plan to address them. Additionally, it is important to set realistic goals and break down tasks into manageable chunks. Finally, it is important to take regular breaks and reward yourself for completing tasks on time.

Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills

Job seekers should be able to provide solutions to unexpected problems, think laterally, and make sound decisions. Employers look for candidates who can think analytically, come up with creative solutions, resolve conflicts quickly and fairly, multitask under pressure, and take initiative when needed. Being able to synthesise data and evaluate options are also important traits that employers seek.

Teamwork and Collaboration Skills

The ability to work as part of a team is essential in many workplaces. Job seekers should demonstrate the ability to actively contribute to team goals by communicating ideas effectively, listening to the perspectives of others, sharing responsibilities among team members, contributing different skillsets, and building strong relationships with colleagues.

Adaptability and Flexibility Skills

Job seekers should be able to adjust quickly to new environments, processes, procedures, and technologies. They should possess the ability to adjust their thought processes so they can learn new things quickly. They should also maintain a positive attitude when things don’t go as planned.

Adaptability and flexibility skills are essential for success in today’s ever-changing job market. Job seekers should be able to think on their feet and be open to new ideas and approaches. They should also be able to work independently and as part of a team. Additionally, they should be able to handle multiple tasks and prioritise their workloads.

Close up of modern African-American woman using laptop in office and planning monthly schedule, copy space

Interpersonal Skills

Employability skills also include the ability to interact professionally with colleagues and other stakeholders. Job seekers should be confident in dealing with business contacts in person, over the phone, or through correspondence. They should maintain a friendly and professional demeanor when talking or writing on behalf of their employer.

Leadership Skills

Employers look for job seekers who display effective leadership qualities. These include being able to create a vision for the organisation and inspiring others to reach its goals. Leadership also involves motivating people and taking initiative. Job seekers should show they are capable of making difficult decisions and encouraging collaboration within the team.

In addition, employers look for job seekers who demonstrate strong communication skills. This includes the ability to listen to others, provide constructive feedback, and articulate ideas clearly. Job seekers should also be able to effectively manage their time and prioritise tasks. Finally, employers look for job seekers who are able to think critically and solve problems in a timely manner.

Professionalism and Work Ethic

Being professional means consistently delivering work that meets or exceeds expectations ethically, efficiently, accurately and on time. This means being punctual, displaying integrity within the workplace, adhering to deadlines, accepting constructive feedback gracefully, providing excellent customer service, presenting yourself with respect, and displaying enthusiasm for work.

Computer and Technical Skills

Employers seek job seekers who possess technical proficiency with computer programs or technical systems relevant to their industry or current jobs. They may expect job seekers to have knowledge in a particular software program or programming language. Whether the job seeker is expected to use existing technologies or invent new ones, employers will expect them to have adequate technological fluency.


It’s important for job seekers to have the initiative and ambition needed to see projects through from start to finish. They need to be organised and driven in achieving their goals – which usually involves conquering unforeseen challenges. Employers look for candidates who demonstrate self-motivation without needing external guidance or rewards.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an important employability skill, as it involves using evidence-based reasoning in order to achieve objectives. Job seekers should be able to analyse problems from new perspectives, diagnose root causes of failure points, form logical conclusions from research data, come up with creative solutions, question assumptions, adjust their strategies based on experiences, and evaluate outcomes.

One way to develop employability skills is through an internship. GVI’s business internships offer the opportunity to develop transferable employability skills through hands-on work experience in a range of fields.

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Top 12 Employability Skills Employers Look For

Learn about the importance of employability skills in this article. Discover the top 12 employability skills that employers look for when considering potential hires.

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