Employability, in the past was referred to as job-seeking skills such as writing a good covering letter, having a captivating CV, but today our graduates are expected to not only be accomplished in one discipline or another, but also have a set of skills, attitudes and beliefs that will enable them to win the job they want
So what do we need to do to be more employable in a highly competitive job market? Reflection. With teaching in HE institutions, focussed on producing ‘desirable employees’, it has become necessary to be able to reinvent ourselves – a continuous learning – a learning to learn – constant improvement – but better done in a group.
Reflective practice is of course important and I am not suggesting otherwise and my experience of doing it in seminars certainly shows benefits, after all don’t we do it anyway? Thinking on the way home on the bus about our day at work, school or university?
I embrace the fact as well that we are not just teaching the theory, when I went to university, we were seen as empty vessels to be filled up with knowledge, thank goodness today we are not just about that. I love theory and the way we use it, interrogate it and apply to our work experience, that is the point and the best combination of doing, evaluating, redoing it – better, and so it goes on.
A final note on reflection – apart from it being about looking back, being in the present and looking to the future to improve and develop, it is also about being flexible and adaptable in our thinking, looking for new ways to develop, haven’t we done that since we were born anyway?
So let’s see it as a development tool, to help us become more employable, but don’t do it alone, look to your peers for support, buddy up or find a mentor and address any issues around your own employability gaps.
The job market is changing, more global business, more graduates, more expected of us, more of an entrepreneurial attitude and so it goes on, so be ready and never stop learning.