A well-written job description will explain not only what tasks the job-holder is expected to undertake, but also the knowledge, skills and attributes (collectively known as competencies) the employer requires. Employers come up with remarkably similar answers when asked to list the qualities needed for success at work.
Listed here are the qualities and attributes identified and categorised by the Policy Forum of the Council for Industry and Higher Education.
Click on the groupings below to view the competencies and indicators.
- Cognitive skills / brainpower - The ability to identify and solve problems, work with information and handle a mass of diverse data, assess risk and draw conclusions.
- Generic competencies - High-level and transferable key skills such as the ability to work with others in a team, communicate, persuade and have interpersonal sensitivity.
- Personal capabilities - The ability and desire to learn for oneself and improve one's self-awareness and performance. To be a self-starter (creativity, decisiveness, initiative) and to finish the job (flexibility, adaptability, tolerance to stress).
- Technical ability - For example having the knowledge and experience of working with relevant modern laboratory equipment.
- Business and/or organisation awareness - An appreciation of how businesses operate through having had (preferably relevant) work experience.
- Practical and professional elements - Critical evaluation of the outcomes of professional practice; reflect and review own practice; participate in and review quality control processes and risk management. Employers also look for subject specific knowledge depending on the job and vocational area concerned.
You may find it profitable to identify examples of your own skills development during study and map these against the list of qualities and attributes typically desired by employers. This would be of great assistance in translating your learning experiences into language helpful to employers.