Common to all roles and workplaces, this set of qualities is a must-have for any employee
Careers advice, Office Life

Employability skills: transferrable competencies to reinforce your candidate’s image

Common to all roles and workplaces, this set of qualities is a must-have for any employee

Employers are always in search of the candidates that can offer a wide range of competencies beyond the job-specific skillset. These qualities and talents that surpass the formal requirements for the position are usually referred to as employability skills and are requested across the variety of job offers.

According to the Business Dictionary, employability skills are “a group of essential abilities that involve the development of a knowledge base, expertise level and mindset that is increasingly necessary for success in the modern workplace. Employability skills are typically considered essential qualifications for many job positions and hence have become necessary for an individual’s employment success at just about any level within a business environment”.

Basically, employability skills (sometimes called foundational skills or job-readiness skills) refer to a set of transferable soft skills and personal attributes that permit a person to collaborate well with others, apply the knowledge and experience to offer solutions and fit into any work environment. Unlike professional qualities, the employability skills are not job-specific and, on the contrary, generic in nature, common to all work roles and workplaces across all market industries.

So, which skills belong to the concept of employability and, therefore, you should try to develop? The list is long, but the most requested transferrable skills can be split into ten categories:

  • communication
  • teamwork
  • problem-solving and resilience
  • initiative and enterprise
  • planning and organising
  • self-management
  • adaptability and collaboration
  • learning
  • technology
  • leadership

Among the most important skills are the ones connected to teamwork, problem-solving, and self-management.


Teamwork stands for the capability to get along well with the people you work with and be collaborative for the sake of achieving a shared goal. In fact, synergy has become a nowadays buzzword. The power of collaboration should never be ignored: well-functioning teams reach better results and achieve much more than any of its members could if they tackled the task on their own. Teamwork means being able to work well with people coming from different backgrounds, ages, religions, and political options. The accountability for the results is common, that is why collaboration implies mutual respect and recognition of team members’ strengths and weaknesses.

Problem-solving and resilience

62% of recruiters identify problem-solving as a “skill that gets you hired”. Problem-solving, indeed, is highly valued by HR managers. All enterprises are challenged with many obstacles, both on macro and micro level, so, to top the list of HR department preferences, an employee should be able to come up with multiple ideas, rapidly solve the problem, cope with difficulties, and demonstrate the right attitude. Problem-solving skills include the ability to analyse facts and figures, define challenges and objectives, assess the progress, offer solutions and work under pressure.

Resilience is the “rubber ball factor: the ability to bounce back in the event of adversity. It is the ability to cope with and rise to the inevitable challenges, problems and setbacks you meet, and come back stronger from them”. This skill is something that employers have increasingly started to take into consideration. Surely, you are not expected to be a “robot” without fragility, however, as a candidate, you need to prove that you react to challenges positively and are able to develop strategies to manage the difficulties.


Successfully managing your work towards the business objectives, prioritising your activities, organising your time effectively – these are the qualities that make part of an employee’s self-management that is very appreciated by recruiters. It also comprises the ability to take the initiative, showcase flexibility and trust-worthiness, and to think creatively for possible improvements. Self-management gives you “the resources to minimize time-wasters in order to complete high-quality work within a specified time frame” – and consequently brings you some wonderful job offers.

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