The Art of Employability: Reflections on ‘Lessons from Leaders’

Mar 27, 2024 | Agency Updates

Written by Serena L. Spiezio, Executive Vice President, GAVIN.

Landing a job in a competitive market can often feel like a daunting task. How do you differentiate yourself from the countless other applicants vying for the same position? Which skills and traits are most valued by employers? These questions and more were explored and unpacked at a recent event I had the privilege of speaking at, the ‘Lessons from Leaders’ seminar at Harrisburg Area Community College.

Below are some of the pivotal insights I shared at the event on personal branding and candidacy evaluation.

The Power of Personal Branding

At the core of employability lies personal branding. It’s the conscious and intentional effort to showcase what makes you unique, professionally. Everyone has characteristics, values, and skills that set them apart, and it’s critical to project this persona clearly and consistently.

Crafting Your Narrative

My advice began with the premise that attendees must articulate their story in a compelling way. This narrative should encapsulate their career vision, accomplishments, and passions, as well as show that they have done their research on the company they are applying to. I emphasized that this story isn’t confined to a resume or LinkedIn profile but should shine through in every interaction and communication touchpoint with a potential employer.

Serena L. Spiezio shares insights during ‘Lessons from Leaders’ panel.

Developing Employable Skills

Employability is not synonymous with a static set of skills; it’s a dynamic and continuous pursuit of adaptation and growth. Employers are interested in candidates who display a willingness to learn and keep up with changes in their industry.

The Essential Competencies

During the panel, I highlighted transferrable skills such as communication, problem-solving, and adaptability. While technical skills are critical within certain fields, these competencies are universally sought-after. Make sure you spell check your communications and ensure that you are addressing the correct person and following the instructions for an application.

The Role of Continuous Learning

In today’s fast-paced world, complacency is a career killer. The most employable individuals are those who take ownership of their professional development. I stressed the value of ongoing education, whether through formal programs, online courses, or self-directed learning.

Navigating the Job Market

Finally, we tackled the practicalities of job searching and applications. The relentless growth of technology has significantly shifted how job markets operate, and understanding these changes is pivotal.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

We delved into the use of ATS by employers to manage job applications. It’s therefore crucial for candidates to tailor their application materials, including resumes and cover letters, to effectively beat the bots and reach human eyes.

The Interview as a Two-Way Street

I emphasized the need for candidates to view job interviews as not only an opportunity for the employer to assess them, but also a chance for them to evaluate the prospective employer. This two-way approach sets the stage for a more equitable discussion and empowers the candidate to make an informed decision.

Remember, the job market is continually evolving, and so too must we. By staying true to your narrative and constantly upskilling, you’ll not only succeed in landing a job but will thrive in your career. The path to employability is a personal one, uniquely yours to shape and ascend.

GAVIN is always thankful for great clients who invite us to engage with their organizations beyond what we do together. We appreciate our ongoing partnership with HACC and are always impressed with how prepared and professional their students are. HACC students make great interns and hires. HACC Yeah!