With the rapid development of society, the competitions between companies are also increasing, what the employer want for the graduates are not only focus on the degree but pay more attention to their employability skills. In order to win their competitors in the fierce competition, employers want graduates who have a wide range of skills to bring to the work environment and need the employees with multi-skilled to fulfil many different roles. (Foster, 1998, p.4). So graduates who coming into the workforce must have the skills needed by employers.
With the purpose of making ourselves become more competitive in the future job market first we should find out what the employability skills the employer want for graduates, then according to the employability skills do the personal SWOT analysis and make an action plan to improve ourselves.
Discussion of employability skills
What skills do employers want?
‘Employability skills are defined as skills required not only to gain employment, but also to progress within an enterprise so as to achieve one’s potential and contribute successfully to enterprise strategic directions.’ (DEST 2002a)
Today, despite the degree, companies are paying more attention to the employability skills of the graduates, but there is no uniform standard of employability skills. What employability skills the graduates should have are depend on company’s actual operating conditions and different companies have different standards. Through a wide range of literature research, the result of what the employability skills needed by companies are almost the same, and can be roughly divided into the following eight basic skills: “Communication skills, Teamwork skills, Problem solving skills , Self management skills, Planning and organizing skills, Technology skills, Life-long learning skills and Initiative and enterprise skills.” (MONASH, nd)
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Why do companies want these skills?
“The CIPD’s views are based on the latest CIPD/KPMG quarterly Labor Market Outlook, a survey of over 1,400 UK employers, the key attributes employers look for in school leaver recruits are communication skills (40% of employers rank this in their top three required attributes), work ethic (39%) and personality (32%).” (CIPD,2006) .Communication happens all the time in the workplace, having effective communication skills can make us have a good relationship with colleagues and superiors ,thus can create a good working environment and help us complete the work more efficiently. What’s more , have good communication skills not only can make the existing customers become more satisfy with the products and services provided by our company but also can attract more clients cooperate with us .
In Today’s society, only have the individual working ability is not enough, more and more works need a group of people to complete together .Work in groups can speed up the progress of work and also through brainstorming to create a better idea of the company
Problem solving skills
In this competitive world, companies will faced various problems at any time, solving the problem successfully enable the company ride out the storm or it will fail.
‘Companies also need graduates have self-management skills to complete the work alone or almost alone, without the need for someone to stand over the employees constantly and tell them want to do.’ï¼ˆFoster, 1998, p.14ï¼‰.
Planning and organizing skills
Employers need graduates to make plans and organize the limited sources to achieve both short and long-term goals of company.
In the technological age, technology skills become increasingly important, company need employees proficiency in using computers and telecommunications systems, understanding current trends and developments managing information through technology.
Life-long learning skills
In order to make the company development sustainably, only require employee continuous learning can let the company keep pace with this rapid-developing society, and employees who have the life-long learning skills can also bring benefits to the company.
Initiative and enterprise skills
Employees recruited by the company are all with multi-skilled, the company may frequent transfer their employees to different departments and to take different roles within a company. (Heather and Peter, 2006, p.2) .So this require the employee have the initiative and enterprise skills to adjust themselves easily to new situations and can take the job quickly.
Personal SWOT Analysis
After identify the employability skills that needed by companies, I make a personal SWOT analysis based on actual experience and self assessment test through the internet.
I have good team work and organizing skills. According to the results of my self assessment test, I have a great mark in humanistic-encouraging and affiliative. (See Appendix 1) In the group work I can build on ideas with other members and as team leader I usually will make plans to allocate tasks to the group members to make sure everyone enjoys the tasks they are assigned to.
I am good at Self management. I can management my time well and get thing done without being pushed. Usually I will write down the things what I need to do and sort them out according to the importance and the time sequence. After that I will write them to the calendar so that I can know clearly what and when should I do next
I do well in learning. I willing to put in time and effort to learn new skills. As a student, beside the major I also join the free English class and the Assessment Centres mini module to improve myself.
I have technology skills. I am not only having the basic computer skills but also can use specialised software packages. Since I have learned the business decision modelling in my first year and now I also learning the applied management and decision modelling, all of them need to use the specialised software packages so I learned how to use them in the course.
I have no employment experience, even the part-time job experience.
I am weak in problem solving; when I face problems usually I can not see all sides of them and can not provide good solution of them.
My Communication skills are weak. I am an introvert (result in appendix 1) and I am not good at communicate with others .I feel shy when I talking to strangers.
I can find a part-time job through the “future” of our school to learn new skills to enhance my CV.
I am more employable than others if I get work experience in UK. 65% of international employers indicates that they are more willing to employ They are more willing to recruit graduates with overseas work experience (Archer and Davison, 2008.).
I have an opportunity to get a good job if I return to China after I graduate. ‘China is widely expected to become the world’s largest human capital market in the future, requiring an explosive number of talented professionals. Companies seeking to hire Mainland Chinese returnees: born and raised in China, studied/worked in the U.S. or Europe and then returned to China. They offer international experience, plus language and cultural skills but are in short supply’ (Davy, Lau).
I can enjoy a variety of preferential policies for overseas student which provided by the Chinese government if I back to China.
In recent years, “explosive” growth trends of Chinese overseas students choose to return home which will increase the competition of getting jobs in China.
Employment pressure both in China and UK. ‘not only Chinese graduates for job-hunting with anxiety, graduates of British also face the same problem. The jobs shortage was blamed on a “substantial backlog” in the number of jobless graduates from previous years – creating additional pressure on the employment market in 2010.’ (Articlesbase,2010).
Personal Action Plan
After I finished the personal SWOT analysis, according to my own situation I make an action plan base on SMART
Skill to be improved
Participating in the activities that organized by school community orinvolvingin the school communitydirectly.
Make a lot of friends.
Take the initiative in making acquaintances.
Do not feel nervous when talking to strangers
Take the mini module about communication that provided by the “future” in our school
Presenting and participating in class discussions
Through the IELTS test to improve my English speaking, writing, reading and listening skills.
Take the IELTS test
Target date: Christmas holidays
Problem solving skills
Apply for the volunteer opportunities provide by the “future”Helping people solve problem while improving my problem solving skills.
Become a volunteer
Analysis the requirements of school assignments
Meet the assignment requirements of teachers
Target date: Deadline of assignments
Initiative and enterprise skills
Specific Actions: Find part-time jobs in our school or become a volunteer
Get part-time jobs, become a volunteer
Measure: Semester 2
Become a trainee of a company for 1-2week
Work in a company as a trainee
Target date: Christmas holidays
Specific Actions: Working on group assignments
Measure: Do the Group work assignments
Target date: Deadline of group assignments
Planning and organisation skills
Specific Actions: Arranging study and daily lives at university
Measure: Make plans everyday and do thing according to plans
Target date: Everyday
Summing up the gaps in skills and knowledge
Specific Actions: Do self-reflection whenteachers give assignment feedback
Target date: At the end of semester 1
Learning new skills that needed by employers
Specific Actions: Attend courses and finish courses
Target date: Semester 2
Specific Actions: Learn something about Photoshop or database.
Participate the relevant courses
Target date: During semester 2
There is no doubt that employees who having a good degree will gain an excellent starting point, since a good degree helps employees open the door of finding a job, however, a degree alone is not enough, employers want much more from their graduate employees, they want employees can bring benefits to the company and let the company in an invincible position during the fierce competition. Through extensive research I summed up eight kinds of employability skills that most needed by companies. And I made a personal SWOT analysis based on employability skills and self assessment test through the internet and actual experience which made me become more aware of myself. After that I made an action plan for myself. I’ll stick to the plan and I hope that it would help me improve my employability skills after I finish it .And get a good job in the competitive job market after I graduate.
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