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Furniture Factory


Employability Skills


New job

What Employers Want

Let's talk more about what employers look for in an employee. They want people who will do a great job and effectively contribute to the team. 

Smart employers take their time to get to know you as a person. It's not just about what you know and can do. It's also about who you are as a person. How you work with the team, how you get along with others, and how you perform over time are just as (and usually more) important than the technical knowledge you bring.

These are a few of the top "soft skills" employers seek after the most based on recent surveys. They apply to ALL employee types - all positions, all industries - regardless of employment type. 

What is Career Readiness?

Career readiness is a foundation from which to demonstrate requisite core competencies that broadly prepare the college educated for success in the workplace and lifelong career management.


Communicating Through Signs


Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.

Sample Behaviors

  • Understand the importance of and demonstrate verbal, written, and non-verbal/body language, abilities.

  • Employ active listening, persuasion, and influencing skills.

  • Communicate in a clear and organized manner so that others can effectively understand.

  • Frame communication with respect to diversity of learning styles, varied individual communication abilities, and cultural differences.

  • Ask appropriate questions for specific information from supervisors, specialists, and others.

  • Promptly inform relevant others when needing guidance with assigned tasks.

Using Laptop at Home


Proactively develop oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and without one’s organization.

Sample Behaviors

  • Show an awareness of own strengths and areas for development.

  • Identify areas for continual growth while pursuing and applying feedback.

  • Develop plans and goals for one’s future career.

  • Professionally advocate for oneself and others.

  • Display curiosity; seek out opportunities to learn.

  • Assume duties or positions that will help one progress professionally

  • Establish, maintain, and/or leverage relationships with people who can help one professionally.

  • Seek and embrace development opportunities.

  • Voluntarily participate in further education, training, or other events to support one’s career.



Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.

Sample Behaviors

  • Make decisions and solve problems using sound, inclusive reasoning and judgment.

  • Gather and analyze information from a diverse set of sources and individuals to fully understand a problem.

  • Proactively anticipate needs and prioritize action steps.

  • Accurately summarize and interpret data with an awareness of personal biases that may impact outcomes.

  • Effectively communicate actions and rationale, recognizing the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of stakeholders.

  • Multi-task well in a fast-paced environment.

College Students


Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism.

Sample Behaviors

  • Solicit and use feedback from multiple cultural perspectives to make inclusive and equity-minded decisions.

  • Actively contribute to inclusive and equitable practices that influence individual and systemic change.

  • Advocate for inclusion, equitable practices, justice, and empowerment for historically marginalized communities.

  • Demonstrate flexibility by adapting to diverse environments.

  • • Seek global cross-cultural interactions and experiences that enhance one’s understanding of people from different demographic groups and that leads to personal growth.

  • Keep an open mind to diverse ideas and new ways of thinking.

  • Identify resources and eliminate barriers resulting from individual and systemic racism, inequities, and biases.

  • Address systems of privilege that limit opportunities for members of historically marginalized communities

Leadership Presentation


Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.

Sample Behaviors

  • Inspire, persuade, and motivate self and others under a shared vision.

  • Seek out and leverage diverse resources and feedback from others to inform direction.

  • Use innovative thinking to go beyond traditional methods.

  • Serve as a role model to others by approaching tasks with confidence and a positive attitude.

  • Motivate and inspire others by encouraging them and by building mutual trust.

  • Plan, initiate, manage, complete, and evaluate projects.

Professional Chef


Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.

Sample Behaviors

  • • Act equitably with integrity and accountability to self, others, and the organization.

  • Maintain a positive personal brand in alignment with organization and personal career values.

  • Be present and prepared.

  • Demonstrate dependability (e.g., report consistently for work or meetings).

  • Prioritize and complete tasks to accomplish organizational goals.

  • Consistently meet or exceed goals and expectations. • Have an attention to detail, resulting in few if any errors in their work. • Show a high level of dedication toward doing a good job.

High Fives


Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.

Sample Behaviors

  • Listen carefully to others, taking time to understand and ask appropriate questions without interrupting.

  • Effectively manage conflict, interact with and respect diverse personalities, and meet ambiguity with resilience.

  • Be accountable for individual and team responsibilities and deliverables.

  • Employ personal strengths, knowledge, and talents to complement those of others.

  • Exercise the ability to compromise and be agile.

  • Collaborate with others to achieve common goals.

  • Build strong, positive working relationships with supervisor and team members/coworkers.

Leadership Presentation


Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.

Sample Behaviors

  • • Navigate change and be open to learning new technologies.

  • Use technology to improve efficiency and productivity of their work.

  • Identify appropriate technology for completing specific tasks.

  • Manage technology to integrate information to support relevant, effective, and timely decision-making.

  • Quickly adapt to new or unfamiliar technologies.

  • Manipulate information, construct ideas, and use technology to achieve strategic goals.


Colleagues Working Together

Time Management

Show up to work on time. Period. Stay until the end of your shift. Period. Get your assignments done on time. Period. You need to know how to organize your schedule on a daily, weekly, and longer basis. If you do not know how to keep and maintain your schedule, get help right away. There are many free classes available online (e.g., YouTube) to give you ideas. Pick your system and stick with it!

Remember - Early is on time. On-time is late. And late is NEVER acceptable. 

Positive Work Ethic

Bringing a positive work ethic to your job is critical. Being excited and positive are important to stand out and show your employer that you want to be there, you are committed to your work, and that you want to make a difference. Individuals who demonstrate positiveness in the workplace tend to get promoted faster, make more, and suffer from less stress and fewer health-related problems over time. In addition - you'll have a much better time at work when you make it a positive experience for you and your co-workers. 

Colleagues Working in Office

Emotional Intelligence

This may be one (if not the) most important skill of them all. This is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your emotions and those of others. You must be able to be empathetic to those around you. In other words, you must remember that it's not just about you. You need to consider others when you make decisions. What you do and say has an impact on others in the organization. What you do and say matters - and there are ALWAYS consequences. You may think that you don't care, but the only time you shouldn't care is if you don't want to be promoted or if you don't want to have a job any longer. Those with high emotional intelligence - who care about others, are empathetic, and take everyone into consideration - tend to be respected more, promoted more, make more money, and do much better in their careers. You can demonstrate your emotional intelligence as soon as your initial job interview by actively listening, showing genuine emotions (e.g., genuine - not fake - passion for the job), talking about your growth, and asking sincere questions about the company. 


Though it may be natural to want to work alone, your organization will most likely value your ability to collaborate - to work with others, share ideas, and support a team. They know that the answer and solution always lie in the team. Sure, you do well as an individual. But better solutions come when you work with others. They want to know that you can engage, communicate, collaborate, and work well with others professionally. If this is not natural, find opportunities to begin now to engage with others on projects.



Let's be honest - almost no one likes change. And when they do, it's only when they create, control, and initiate the change. Adaptability, resilience, and flexibility are all critical to successful outcomes for employees. Change is the only constant in business. Employees who cannot adapt to change are those who have the most difficult time. If you want to be on the boss' list of favorites, figure out how to roll with the changes. 

Job interview

Active Listening

Most people listen as they wait their turn to talk. Active listening is listening for meaning - they pay attention to what is being said, listen for content and context, and identify ways they can dig deeper. People want to be listened to. Listening intently is not enough...engaging with eye contact, full body language, and withholding judgment are key. Avoiding any interruption, asking follow-up questions for understanding, and rephrasing their statements can help you to better understand what they are saying. Remember - active listening is about THEM. 

Conflict Resolution

It is not enough to avoid conflict. People do that all the time.  However, conflict is a natural part of being human. The real skill is to effectively resolve conflict. This comes from understanding it, engaging others professionally and appropriately, and using interpersonal communication and interrelations skills to discuss and resolve it. These are critical skills needed to be effective at maintaining productivity and effectiveness in the workplace. 

Smiling Colleague

Other Skills

Other points that employers listed included skills such as...

  • Ability to take feedback and act on it

  • Ability to ask for feedback (don't just wait for it)

  • Be friendly and polite

  • Respect coworkers and supervisors

  • Respond appropriately to customers and their requests

  • Customer service skills

  • Reading and understanding written instructions

  • Listening, understanding, and asking questions

  • Following directions

  • Expressing ideas clearly and succinctly

  • Learning technology quickly and accurately

  • Admitting when you need help and asking for it

  • Willing to start, stop, and switch duties when needed

  • Work calmly in business environments

  • Ability to multi-task

  • Complete all tasks - even if it is uncomfortable 

  • Understand and abide by dress codes or standards

  • Exert high levels of effort and perseverance

Web Developers Team

Ethics and Personal Responsibility

  • Take responsibility for personal decisions and actions

  • Be honest and trustworthy

  • Understand and follow company rules

  • Act professionally and maturely


The ability to identify, break down, evaluate, and solve problems is essential. However, it is becoming a lost art. If you can be an independent problem solver, you will be a truly valuable asset to your boss. If you are not highly skilled at independent problem-solving, start now to learn how. It is a skill that can be learned. 

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