Strategies to Enhance Your Job Application

Strategies to Enhance Your Job Application

Recently, I attended a career fair at one of our local universities with many of the career development educators and industry representatives sharing some interesting and critical information that all graduates and current students should be aware of.

Employers are now more than ever placing greater emphasis on a candidate’s employability skills than they are on a candidate’s grades in the selection process. While Australian employers have been following this principle for some time - interestingly international employers (who were, up until some time ago, focused primarily on grades) now too are far more interested in a candidate’s employability skills than just their grades alone. So students beware – if you think top grades alone are going to guarantee you a role, you could be sadly mistaken.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics early this year stated that youth unemployment levels had risen to 24%. This means that all students should be implementing sound career management strategies whilst studying to ensure they are able to differentiate themselves within a competitive market.

And, according to the feedback I’ve been receiving, being able to demonstrate employability and transferable skills is critical and will allow a graduate to have the upper hand in the job market.

So what are employability skills and how can you develop these?

The Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) have developed the following list of employability skills, which can also be referred to as ’soft skills’:

• Initiative
• Communication
• Teamwork
• Technology
• Problem Solving
• Self Management
• Planning
• Learning

While studying it is important to continue developing your employability skills. Here is a list of activities you can consider to increase these important skills:

• Voluntary work – even if the work is not necessarily in your field of study.
• Part time/casual work – again, either in your field of study or any other environment that will allow you to demonstrate development and growth of the above-mentioned skills.
• Join school groups, societies, committees and any extracurricular activities and ensure you are an active participant in their events.

This information is extremely valuable when developing your personal marketing document – your résumé. The fact that you will probably have limited experience in your field of study, including the information from your extracurricular and other involvements as detailed above, will allow you to create a document of substance, while demonstrating key employability and transferable skills to a potential employer.

Consider including these sections when developing your résumé:

• Extracurricular involvements: memberships and sporting involvements are always a great way to highlight employability skills;
• Volunteer work;
• Work Experience, completed either through your tertiary or secondary schooling years;
• Awards and other areas which have recognised you for your contributions and achievements;
• Technologies and understanding of computer applications, specifically if they relate to the industry/role you are targeting;
• Special projects and assignments that you received impressive marks for to demonstrate your understanding of the information. Include information about the projects, your specific involvement (especially if this was a team-based assignment) and the outcome of the project;
• Academic achievements, including the subjects you have successfully completed, especially the subjects you received top marks in to demonstrate a solid grasp of the information.

As you can see, the list is quite extensive and should provide you with some impressive information to include in your résumé, in order to highlight your transferable and employability skills to a potential employer.


Annemarie Cross is a Radio Host on, a Career Coach, Personal Branding Strategist, a triple certified multi award-winning Professional Resume Writer and Author of ’10 key steps to Ace that Interview'.