It is quite evident that being employed today is very different from a decade ago. Not only do we operate within the IT world where information processing has changed and there are jobs that never existed previously, but the very nature of the working world has changed.
With the labour laws as they are, many corporates outsource IT work; IT companies come and go depending on the environment, the Rand and whether the sun is shining; and no one expects to work at a company long enough to receive a gold watch.
The job environment has also changed: more people work in teams and on sites; rewards are performance based (rather than dependent on your time at the company), and people don’t always move up into management but rather ‘sideways’ into specialisation.
Yet, job seekers are still operating within the old-style work habit when it comes to developing their careers and specific jobs.
Career Guidance teachers – remember them – used to focus on filling CVs with education and hobbies. The idea was to prove what an educated person you are, land the job and then the lucky company would steer you merrily onto career nirvana.
All job seekers needed to do was get that education. With the current job market, there is no sure thing when one lands a job. Career planning falls into the individual job seeker’s space, and having that education and experience isn’t necessarily going to guarantee you any job or career move.
While no one will deny that education is core, it is the skills that are getting the attention. So what makes a person more employable?
The following is a checklist of the ‘other’ skills that companies look for nowadays. Obviously, these need to be adapted to your specific career path but this is a good guideline to follow.
- Self-reliance skills
- Flexibility – an ability to adapt to change
- Drive and energy – willingness to get things done
- Motivation and a desire to do that extra bit
- Reliability – following up and ensuring that the job is done
- Honesty and integrity
- Ability to plan your own career
- Continuous improvement within your career – a willingness to learn and update knowledge and skills quickly
- Ability to juggle multiple priorities
- Demonstrated initiative
- Organisational skills
- Willingness to accept responsibility
- Attention to detail
- People skills
- Interpersonal skills – an ability to deal with people
- An ability to handle conflict
- Working within a team as well as independently
- Listening skills
- Business skills
- Problem solving/analytical ability – finding innovative solutions and applying knowledge to a ‘real world’ environment.
- Financial ability and commercial awareness (an understanding of the business)
- Ability to work with performance management
- Ability to conduct research
- Strategic planning
- Project management skills
- Decision-making skills
- Written and oral communication skills
- Professional demeanor and tactfulness