78% of employers recruiting graduates state employability skills are the most important factor when they are recruiting.
So what are these and what do they mean to you in terms of your behaviour?
Communicating with impact
Employers seek employees who can get their point across to others and bring others round to your way of thinking. You should be just as happy listening to other people's ideas and opinions. Employers will be looking for people who can express themselves clearly, both in a conversation and on paper.
Manage projects effectively
In business your ability to deliver work to high quality standards will be absolutely vital. The chances are that you'll find yourself juggling quite a few different priorities. Or that you'll need to implement a back-up plan if a project doesn't go quite as you expected. It means employers will be interested in hearing about how you've managed your workload, how you've handled resources to meet deadlines or budgets, and how you've used your initiative to deal with the unexpected.
You will be expected, as a minimum, to really understand how business works, and be commercially astute in your approach. That doesn't mean you need to be a City whizkid, but knowing how a business operates, particularly in terms of operational efficiency, business improvement tools and methodologies, are a must have.
Build and sustain relationships
Employers seek to build and maintain strong relationships with their clients to offer them the strongest solutions. It can also help to open up new business opportunities - if you have a good rapport with a client, the chances are they'll come back again and again and that they'll introduce the company to other contacts. You'll be able to show them that you've maintained relationships with all sorts of different people. There are lots of ways that you can do this - from keeping in touch with a contact you've made on a work experience placement through to getting to know people on similar courses at other colleges, universities or businesses.
Lead and contribute to team success
The ability to get along with and support others and to lead a team to success is very important to many employers. And there's any number of environments where you could have gained these kinds of skills. The most obvious being as part of a sports team, club or society. Or you might have tackled a course-related project as part of a group or fitted into a new team at work. Just as importantly, you'll need to think about the skills you brought to the team.
Be open minded, agile with change and practical
Businesses never stand still. Businesses and client' needs are constantly changing and that means they need to adapt their work structures and processes. That's why they are looking for people who can think on their feet and adjust to lots of different situations - without compromising on standards. You'll always keep an open mind and you'll think logically to work out the best way forward when you come across an unexpected hurdle. And to evidence it? You might have had to cover for a colleague at work at short notice. Coped well with an unexpected piece of course work. Or taken part in a scheme like the Duke of Edinburgh's Award that put you into a completely new environment.
Self-management / results focused
Businesses need employees who add value and achieve tangible results. It is important that you demonstrate your ability to set goals and targets and that you can work hard towards achieving desired outcomes. Great employees display a self awareness of what motivates them and they harness this to self manage.
Be passionate about client service
Businesses need to deliver the results their clients want. Which is why they're interested in people who'll go out of their way to provide the right solutions. So what sort of skills and experience will they be looking for? It could be that you've gone above and beyond expectations in a part-time job. For example, you might have developed a much deeper understanding of the business, who its target consumers are and who it competes with. Or perhaps you've had some ideas about how it could operate even more effectively. It might be that you've made a big contribution to a society or sports club - perhaps you’ve organised a social event that went with a bang?