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12 Important Generic Skills You Need To Enhance Your Employability

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Do you want to improve your chances of getting a job or a promotion? Then you should know these 12 critical generic skills to be ahead of the competition.

Generic skills, also called ‘soft skills’, ‘transferable skills’, ‘human/people skills’ and ‘employability skills’ are those skills that employers see as critical for organizational success. Of course, ‘technical skills’ or ‘professional skills’ are still crucial for the job role. However, employers are demanding specific key skills as Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and other smart technologies cannot replace the human touch.

If you are looking for a job or seeking career advancement, here’s the opportunity to learn about these 12 generic skills that will enhance your ability to obtain and keep a job because of the value that you bring to the organization.

1. Communication (Oral and Written)

Employers want persons who can communicate clearly, orally and in writing. Unfortunately, with the increasing use of technology, we’ve picked up shorter writing and speaking ways that are not appropriate for the workplace.

Whether you’re in an entry, mid or higher-level job, you may need to explain to a customer or a potential partner about the value of the services or products that your organization offers. Here’s your opportunity to shine by showing clarity of thought, belief, and ideas.

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2. Willingness to Learn

If you are keen about learning about new areas or you are constantly renewing your knowledge and skills, then you’re a life-long learner. Employers would welcome you into the organization or offer you an opportunity to advance in another position if you show a willingness to learn, unlearn or relearn. Workplaces need to continually adjust not only due to new technologies but also to new ways of doing business due to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re willing to take responsibility for either upskilling or reskilling yourself, you’ll survive.

Don’t wait on the organization to provide reskilling or upskilling opportunities for you. Show the employer that you’re willing to learn and adapt.

3. Critical Thinking

Critical thinkers are an asset to any organization. If you:

  • can think logically;

  • gather all the relevant information necessary to come up with solutions to problems;

  • analyze the information; and

  • provide sound advice.

Then you will be in demand by employers.

4. Complex Problem Solving

Employers want persons who not only can identify the problem but also solve the problem. You will be an asset to an organization if you’re seen as a ‘Problem Solver’.

Like a critical thinker, your ability to identify the data and information needed, analyze, and bring a solution will make you attractive to potential employers or even your current employer. Your ability to work with teams to resolve problems will also enhance your career opportunities.

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5. Adaptability

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher said that “change is the only constant in life”. This means that one thing we are certain of is that change will always be occurring and will be unexpected at times.

Don’t see situations such as COVID-19, job redundancy or personal failures negatively. Rather, use these life events to adapt by becoming stronger and better. Be resilient.

Let your current or a prospective employer know that you possess this skill.

6. Creative and Innovative

If you’re creative and innovative, you’ll be attractive to employers as organizations need these critical skills to survive in a globally competitive world.

Your curiosity, pioneering, and flexible qualities will be valued by employers.

7. Teamworking

Working in teams is a common feature within organizations. This requires being able to communicate effectively with others – listening, speaking, writing- to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives.

Teamworking can either be physically or virtually. With the increasing use of remote working, virtual teamworking is a skill that will enhance your employability.

8. Leadership

Motivating, delegating, communicating, risk-taking, connecting with people emotionally, building the right culture, and making decisions are some of the qualities of a good leader.

You’re on your way to success in an organization or to gaining employment if you can demonstrate or provide evidence that you have these traits.

9. Empathy

If you can listen to others with compassion, see the situation from another person’s perspective and, understand the person’s emotions and reactions, then you have this skill which is in high demand.

Certainly, excellent communication skills would also be an asset.

10. Negotiation and Conflict Management

Situations such as closing a deal on a major project, seeking a consensus on human resource matters, and making decisions as a team require effective negotiation and conflict management skills. The goal in such situations is to reach a mutually beneficial solution.

If you can effectively handle negotiations and resolve conflicts, you will attract employment and be successful in your career.

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11. Cross Cultural and Diversity

Due to globalization, employees from all over the world can be found working in organizations. Understanding and respecting cultural differences are therefore critical for organizational success.

If you’re an effective communicator and one who respects different cultures, beliefs and personalities, these assets will put you above the competition.

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12. Initiative

An employee who can get things done without being constantly told what to do or sees an area for improvement and does something about it is indeed an asset to any organization.

When you show initiative, it sends a message that you value the organization and care about its future.

Whether you’re seeking employment or seeking career advancement, these 12 generic skills are critical and will set you apart from the competition.

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