'Employability' seems to be the word of 2015. But what does it mean? It seems to mean different things to different people. I know there is a lot of work being done currently in the higher education sector to explore this further.
To me (and it may seem obvious) it means that you are prepared to be 'employed'. By this, I mean you have made that connection from what you have studied to what career options you have and you are ready to continue your learning in a work environment. Those are the candidates who stand out to me throughout the recruitment process as ready to make that next step from study to work.
It is not necessarily about a set of skills (e.g. communication or negotiation skills) that you have....we can build those skills further if needed. I believe it is more a state of maturity or self-awareness in relation to your career. For example, you have prepared yourself for the workforce by doing your research, knowing your options, assessing those options and putting a plan into action.
At an assessment centre (or interview) it is very clear to me which candidates have a clear idea of why they are there (i.e. why they want to work for Suncorp) and the skills they have to contribute. Employability shows through in those candidates who are able to articulate the knowledge and skills they have and how they have used them or will use them in the role they have applied for.
To be employable means you are ready to commit to managing your career and your development. From a team and communication perspective, you are aware of how you interact with others and tailor your approach to the situation you are in (e.g. going from group activity to one-on-one interview).
How do you become 'employable'? Its about truly understanding your course and what your career options are at the end of that course. Finding out what experience you need to gain now to help you when applying for roles later. Being able to identify and articulate the skills that you have and the skills you need to develop further.
Lastly, all work experience (whether course related or not) will help you to build your 'employability' by giving you exposure to working with others, meeting expectations, being accountable and learning how to manage yourself professionally.
If you are at university working towards a career....you need to think about your career throughout your course...not just when you've finished.