Seven Steps to Build on Your Employability

Aug 27, 2020

No matter what your background or qualifications, the odds are that without the right attributes, and a structured and systematic approach, finding employment is unlikely to simply fall into place.

The job market and company HR processes are riddled with a variety of specifications, approaches, thinking and red tape that make simply being employed in the field in which you are interested a challenging quest, which is certainly not for the faint-hearted. It is metaphorically speaking, a battlefield out there and as a result, any aspirant job seeker at any level requires a battle plan, the right psychological and behavioural approach, a solid set of weaponry and a multi-faceted and flexible approach as well as a thick skin, given that rejection will inevitably occur. Before launching oneself into the job market, it is a valuable coaching exercise to run through some of the basics that work and do not work and then review and revise one’s own job eligibility accordingly. Herewith some specific tips and techniques:

1. A good starting point is self-motivation and a positive attitude but be warned – this should not only be evident in your facial expression, bearing and manner, you should also have some evidence at hand to substantiate this. What achievements are you proud of? Where have you set goals and applied dedication and effort to successfully achieve them? How does your CV reflect this?

2. Specialist skills will always be needed so it is wise when planning one’s career to find a niche field that you enjoy and then consciously build your knowledge, expertise and credibility in that. Too many super keen young job seekers invest thousands in an array of qualifications which often defeat the purpose (and break the bank balance) by being unrelated or making them over-qualified at entry level where a common obstacle is the preference for experience. So how do younger job seekers overcome this? Basically for younger job seekers, the answer is to build up a part time employment track record that testifies to your work ethic and builds some basic skills such as customer service awareness or sales ability which provide a workplace advantage.

3. In a fickle and fast changing job market, loyalty and evidence of having built a career path at the same company are valued, thus job hopping simply for the sake of it is not recommended. In the case where you were only able to get contract employment, take care to reflect this in a suitable way on your CV.

4. A critical point to remember is that as your own biggest resource, you need to learn to market yourself. This starts with a realistic self and skills analysis which then needs to be appropriately communicated verbally and in writing in a profile comment. Given that very few people understand the art of a good CV, one of the best investments you can make is to get it professionally drafted by someone who knows what they are doing. What is your value add? Work on learning to define and articulate this in a convincing way. Furthermore collect written references and a portfolio of evidence to attest to this.

5. Flexibility ranks high on the list of behavioural requirements for qualifying for employability. Having fixed notions on the job type, level and package you require are likely to lead to disaster and to remaining unemployed. Yes – it is good to have an ideal, but if unemployed and earning no income it makes sense to be adaptable and resourceful. This means seeking formal work but simultaneously building on or pursuing entrepreneurial options and analysing any possibilities to keep yourself busy and earn money however “menial’ they may be. If in an interim capacity this takes you out of your comfort zone, so be it – at least you are employed which means it is easier to be employable. In fact it is wise to eradicate any perceptions you might have about job approaches, for in a fluid and fast changing arena, none of them are likely to apply.

6. The value of networking cannot be underestimated. Rather than spending money on further studies, invest time in learning and applying networking techniques which work. In adopting strategies to find employment, you will find that a variety of approaches are required.

7. Finally, dedication, determination and relentless pursuit of the objective (that of gaining employment) are non negotiable. If you consistently put in the effort in the right way, there is no doubt you will reap results. This may take time but be assured it can be done.

Believe in yourself, apply yourself and the results will come – often when least expected!

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’’ Winston Churchill

A career coach, Jennifer works at all levels to assist employed and unemployed individuals to find satisfying careers. Website: