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Careers & Enterprise Centre

What is Employability?

Employability is an important concept to think about throughout your time at Durham. No matter what you want to do once you graduate, you will need to consider whether you have the skills, experience and personal attributes that a future employer is looking for when hiring.

Increasingly, employers are saying that a degree is not enough and that they are looking for students that can demonstrate a range of skills and show that they are 'work-ready'.

At Durham, there are many ways to increase your employability. The best thing to start with is a Skills Audit to consider where you are now.

Here are some key employability skills to consider:

  • Effective Communication - Covering written, verbal and listening skills. Being able to express ideas with clarity and focus in writing, discussions and presentations.
  • Teamwork - Ability to take on different roles in a team and work well with others to achieve the aims and objectives.
  • Commercial Awareness - Understanding of a business or sector. How do they operate? What are their aims? What are the challenges they face?
  • Problem Solving - Identify potential problems, assessing the risks and apply logical and creative thinking to come up with solutions.
  • Leadership - Being able to motivate, inspire and make the most of other people's strengths. Coordinating activities, delegating and assigning tasks and setting deadlines.
  • Project Management - The process of planning, monitoring and controlling in relation to a particular project.
  • Time Management - Ability to manage your own time and prioritise to be more productive and efficient in completing tasks.
  • Initiative - Being proactive and enthusiastic, identifying opportunities, recognising best practice and generating new ideas.
  • Adaptability - Flexibility to work in different environments and teams on a range of projects and tasks.
  • Enterprise and Innovation - Ability to identify opportunities and gaps in the market and to create new and innovative ways to solve problems.
  • Computer literacy - Familiarity with the basic functions of the Microsoft Office suite and the ability to accept, learn and adapt to new technology.

One other key attribute that employers are mentioning more and more often is that they are looking for students who are 'work ready'. It is essential that you understand the world of work and how organisations operate, in particular, a company you may be interested in.

Work Readiness - Being fully prepared for the world of work and aware of how the working world operates.

Focussing on and improving the above skills are a great way to increase your employability throughout your time at Durham and there are a number of ways to develop and demonstrate those skills.