Top 5 Employability Skills For Recent Graduates

Employability is perhaps one of the most ambiguous words out there. It is used in several contexts and is often interpreted as the ability of a student to bag a job right out of college. But with the growing number of applicants that are well versed in the traditional theoretical and practical knowledge they are presented with inside the classroom, it has come to mean something not entirely different but, broader in application and understanding.

Today, employability refers to a set of skills and achievements that ensure being hired but, also being successful in the long-run and profitable to the workplace and the chosen profession. It includes academic prowess but, also several personal attributes that can make an individual stand out from the prolific pool of applicants.

The Economic Policy Institute, a think tank based out of Washington DC in the United States, reported(1) that the unemployment rate for students that graduated in 2015 was a whopping 7.2% whereas 14.9% of the total number of graduates was underemployed i.e. working in positions that were below their skill level. These statistics are representative of the growing competition for jobs and how the slightest of skills can make the largest of differences.

Hence, these ‘employability’ skills can be detrimental to the vocational future of the students.

Several research organizations including the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a non-profit organization that links universities in the United States with employers, have delved deep into these employability skills that are absolutely essential for recent graduates.

These organizations collected data from over 260 of the largest employers in the United States and hence can be accredited to be a fair representation of the general opinion.  These lists most frequently include the following:

1. Ability to be a team player and collaborate

All workplaces are characterized by a number of employees working towards the fulfillment of organizational objectives. These employees come from various backgrounds and have eclectic interests. Hence, the ability of a new recruit to cooperate and coordinate his/her efforts with that of the team is of vital importance. Furthermore, new employees are often placed in groups and therefore the importance of  team spirit cannot be understated.

2. Time Management

We’ve all heard the maxim, “Time is money.” This is perhaps truer in the 21st century than at any other point of time in the history of the World.  Time Management is crucial for planning and prioritizing assignments. It also improves employee productivity and their decision-making skills. The ability to achieve more in a shorter span separates under-achieving graduates with the employable ones.

3. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are the skills we use to communicate with others.  They are imperative for the fulfilment of team objectives and also to maintain a positive workplace and social presence. Informal communication channels form an important part of a business and hence, being an able communicator with highly refined interpersonal skills goes a long way. The ability to communicate is also important for the influence an employee holds over the customers.

4. Technical Skills

These skills are important for higher employee productivity. These include the ability to scrutinize quantitative data, the ability to research and obtain information from varied sources, write and edit reports and proficiency in certain standard computer softwares and the technical knowledge related to the job.

5. Leadership

In the fluctuating economic environment within which most organizations operate, the ability to lead when the situation calls for it becomes what differentiates employable students from the rest of the student population. That is why companies often seek out empathetic, innovative and confident employees.

6. Spirit of Creative Inquiry

Gone are the days of  restricted competition and uninformed consumers. With the advent of the digital revolution and social networking, consumers are astutely aware of the range of products available and the startup bubble has spiked the market with innovative never-before-thought-of goods and services. As a result, creative inquiry and spirit of innovation have become the most important skills to have.

Companies need to think of singular products and services to differentiate themselves from the abundance of producers in the market. In such circumstances, employees that can think beyond predetermined norms and have an out-of-the-box outlook to their work reach the top of the employability standards.

These skills are essentially gained from everything students go through in their quotidian pursuits. Interacting with a diverse student body, being proactive in teams and extra-curricular societies, completing assignments in a timely manner and performing well in academics instills these skills in prospective employees. But, with the increasing competition, it is important to refine these skills to their optimum level.

Hence, Oust provides students a platform that under timed circumstances, allow them to nurture their time-management skills. With interactive games that aim at educating the masses through creative interactions, Oust provides its users ample opportunities to interact with friends and peers and in the process enhances their interpersonal skills.

The level of determination required to regularly interact with the creative interface and the variety of challenges available improve the students’ persevering abilities and forces them to find creative solutions at each stage.  Thus, making the users more employable!

oust get hired

Pick A Course That Really Matches Your Interests

Selecting a course of choice is one of the toughest decisions a student has to make in his or her academic life. And it is not just the course, it is also about from where you want to study and how you would like to go about it.

For a few “sorted” students, choosing a course is simple. What they want to do is something very specific – maybe, study medicine or engineering. For them, it is almost a job they have to take up as soon as they finish school.

But a majority of students tend to choose a course depending upon the grades they score in school – rather than do something that really interests them. To make matters worse – sometimes the pressure is so immense from both family and peers that it becomes impossible to feel confident about the decision.

So how does one choose a course that is perfect for them? It’s simple! Just go through the following points:

1. Note down your interests and skills

Ask yourself a lot of questions such as “What’s your personality like?” “Where do your interests lie?” “What is your Plan of Action for the next 3 years?”, etc. Draw up a list of work-related values and skills. A combination of answers will push you in the right direction and help you in figuring out the course that works best for you.

When you sit down to evaluate yourself, you will learn a lot about yourself and the outcome might surprise you! You could also take the help of a career counselor to help you take various assessment tests.

(Follow this Quora profile to get the best advice on education and career from our very own team member! :))

2. Ask yourself “3 Ws”:

Why that course?

Do yoU want to improve your career by extending your skill set? If the answer is yes, then you should choose a course that adds to your existing skills. Also, consider prospective careers & opportunities and try to gauge if you would really be interested in them.

What are you really interested in?

It is really important to sit down and think about what you want to study. Is it because you can see an exciting career ahead? Or is it something your parents want you to study? Are you sure you aren’t choosing that course because all your peers too have opted for it?

Where would you like to study?

Would you want to study while enjoying the comforts of your home? Or would you rather go out, move to a different city and live in a hostel where there are more opportunities for you to learn lessons the hard way?

3. Do your research

You need to sit down and narrow down all your options that are really worth it and of course, sound practical. Read student blogs or go to online forums to see what others have to say about the courses. Talk to your seniors and even take advice of your professors.

4. Prioritize!

You may find the perfect course, University and city! But please remember to take the final decision only after you have considered the costs such as tuition fee, accommodation and food expenses, travel rates, etc. You have get your finances in place first.

5. Career prospects

Studying overseas can be difficult, especially if you are undertaking the studies over an education loan. So think of it as an investment for your future and that also means your salary. Figure out where other international students have worked after graduation. Is there any active alumni network? Are there enough opportunities to meet industry leaders and entrepreneurs during your course?

6. Check out the curriculum

You might have picked up a field of engineering, but what if it requires you to study bio-medical or genetic engineering as well – something you aren’t comfortable with? So if you want to work on robots rather than human body parts, look minutely into the course content and subjects.

7. You can always change your mind

 NEVER think that if you have made a decision, you cannot undo it. Talk to the student counselors and see if there are options out there for you. Don’t spend next 4-5 years staring at the textbooks you have no interest in at all.

You need to remember just one thing: “Keep that passion alive!”

Is taking a gap year really worth it?

“Gap year” is that 1 year timeframe where students take a break after completing school to travel, take up a vocational course or even pick up an internship! This term, although popular in western countries, has the potential to invoke responses that range from “being indifferent” to “having a full-fledged battle in some households” – especially in India.

Usually a student takes a gap year for two reasons:

1) He or she is completely exhausted due to extensive school years.

2) He or she wants to take some time off to understand where their interests lie and plan the future accordingly.

And it is a fact that taking a gap year is not for everyone but it still might do wonders for some students. You will agree the debate on “whether or not should one take a gap year” has been going on for a long time which is why it is all the more necessary to analyse the pros and cons of the same.

Have a look:


 1. Adds to the experience

Whatever you do in that gap year prepares you better for the University – both academically and socially. People who take a gap year always quip that their family and friends have noticed how much they have changed when they return! A gap year introduces you to so many ideas, cultures and people that it is impossible to stay the same.

 2. It’s a really long holiday

 It will definitely be your longest holiday ever because soon after that you will get sucked into the rigours of dealing with University and then work life!

3. Earning money is possible

You can have a working gap year. You can choose to work at a local school or a radio station to earn for accommodation and food wherever you are.

4. Acquire new skills in the process

Your skill set could range from speaking a new language or learning to rev up a dead car engine. It can be anything! By the way, this will also make your CV look more impressive!

5. Life away from home

There’s no doubt that you will become more independent while staying away from the comfort and luxuries of life! Battling home sickness becomes a lot easier when you are out there on your own – figuring out what you plan to do in the future.

6. Pushes you to meet new people

 Imagine the number of new people you will get to know and interact with in one year! If you are an introvert, then taking a gap year will only force you to come out of your comfort zone and socialize. After all, what’s the fun in being surrounded by the same set of faces and personalities?

7. Work on your aptitude

If you are not traveling or working somewhere in those 12 months, then utilize the time to get cracking on your competitive exams. Oust app offers a range of mental exercises that will enhance your verbal and logical reasoning and keep your mind agile.

To practice while on-the-move, download the app and finish modules diligently. Also, don’t forget to follow the official Facebook page as well.


1. It’s expensive

 If you want to travel or be a part of an organized gap programme, then taking such a long off can be a super expensive affair! So get your finances in place.

2. Old friends would have moved on

 When you will come back to see your friends, there’s a high chance of them becoming your seniors at the University and having a different social circle altogether. That might make you feel isolated!

3. Getting back to studies is painful

 It is a little difficult to get into the serious study zone – especially after a 1 year-long break!

4. Being disorganized can be bad

 If you don’t plan those 12 months properly, you might just spend most of the gap year doing literally nothing and that’s not great for your CV.

5. Homesickness can always creep in

Yep. You might regret your decision to spend a year on road and away from family.

6. The break can be stressful!

Sorting out travel plans, scavenging for good internships or picking the right vocational course can be a frustrating process. And when your year doesn’t roll out to be how you wish – it is all the more stressful and of course, demotivating!

There’s no denying that spending time abroad will enhance your CV, make the young person learn valuable skills and ensure an experience of a life time. The advantages of a gap year can’t be touted enough! But a gap year is not for everyone and there are other things you must consider. So if you are thinking of taking a “break” – evaluate your situation before arriving at a decision.

Planning to study abroad? Here's what you should know

If you ask any youngster about where he or she plans to do higher studies, you will be surprised to get “a foreign university” as the most preferred choice. According to the 2015 ‘Open Doors Report’, a rise of 29% was observed in the number of Indian students heading to the US alone from 2014 to 2015.

Sure – living in a foreign country for a long period of time sounds nothing less than a fantasy for any fresh-out-of-the-school youngster. But the truth is deciding on a degree from a foreign university isn’t all fun and games.

Like everything else, one needs to gauge the pros and cons of getting into a foreign university. Please note we are not opposing the idea nor are we favouring it. We just feel it is important to take an informed decision. After all, it is your education that we are talking about!


1. Global exposure

In terms of personal development, an international move would increase your chances of getting exposed to high-profile projects that might not be available back home. It’d also expose you to a whole new culture. You will meet people from diverse backgrounds and this will only shape your personality better.

2. Varied study programs

The best thing about any international university is the plethora of courses they offer to all students. You can choose from a wide variety of subjects – depending upon your choice and capability. Foreign language, performing arts or even sports besides the usual curriculum is a possibility.

3. Better chances of employability

A degree from a reputed international university will definitely improve the chances of employability with the world’s biggest firms. Studying abroad will automatically give you an upper hand as a lot of employers seek culturally diverse and globally exposed candidates.

4. Broadened intellectual interest

Studying along with peers from different parts of the world will do wonders to your intellect. Learning about new cultures, values and ideas is always a good idea, isn’t it? Moreover, to be able to understand the global markets, it becomes necessary for a person to venture out to other countries to understand the situation better.

Such experiences are valuable to those who plan to come back to India and start something on their own. Hence, pursuing a degree from an international university will give him or her an extra edge over the others.


 1. Adjustment issues

Though some students adapt to new environments quickly, there are many who are not able to do so. They may feel home sick or socially isolated. The reasons for the same can be many. They might even leave the program in the middle due to this.

This move is literally like pouring the student loan amount down the drain. So if you have adjustment issues, then you might want to rethink your decision.

2. Student loans

This is always an issue wherever you go – home or abroad. So until you are sure of your finances, don’t proceed. The interest rates may be affordable but being constantly under pressure to perform just so you get a great job to clear off your loans is nerve-wrecking and avoidable

3. Inaccessibility to accommodation

As a student, you might not be entitled to a room in the hostel. This means you will have to find out accommodation, manage food and pay off utility bills on your own – which means added cost to your overall study expenditure.

4. No placement guarantee

No matter how good the university is, there is always uncertainty around getting placed! The remaining few months are a nightmare for most students because – well – who doesn’t want to get a good job and be able to pay off education loans, right? So yes, there is a lot of planning to do and the outcome might not always be what you desire.

But despite the cons, it is absolutely possible for you to achieve that coveted degree from an international university of your choice! However, a lot of thought must go into taking the decision if all the money, efforts and time is worthy of heading abroad.

If you are confident about following your dreams, then go for it! There’s nothing better than pursuing the goals you wish to accomplish.

So students, do you have any more points to add to this list? If so, please let us know. Team Oust will be more than happy to help!

Also, please remember to download the app to earn coins. Followed our team member on Quora yet? Do that and stay updated with the latest advice on study hacks, career, exams, etc.

Good luck!

Top Certifications 12th Students Can Pursue

There’s no doubt that 12th class is the most important academic year for students in India. They not only have to prepare for board exams but also sit for competitive tests to secure a spot in a college of their choice.

While regular study sessions and tuition classes form an integral part of the students’ daily schedules, they can also benefit lots if they take up small certification courses along the way – to gain basic knowledge in a particular field.

Team Oust has hand-picked a couple of them:

Read more

How much are you aware of the startups?

 In the second of the series on general awareness we do raise an important issue of awareness on Startups!
What you got to do!
  • Play the challenge in OUST
  • Post the best idea in a startup which you feel & experience & upload it our Facebook page
  • You can upload any number of suggestions
Prizes will be picked on the basis of the topping the leader-board.  We want you spread the awareness on Startups!
Top 3 chosen will prizes in the form of Flipkart/Amazon vouchers
Startups have changed the world in many ways.
Driven by the desire to change things the way they work, entrepreneurs strive to realize the true potential of their business ideas. But, lack of deep pockets and competition from bigger market players is something that kicks the startups out of their road to success. It is these initial times and hardships that startups need a backing. And, this is exactly where Angel Investors come into play.
Angel investors are usually experienced entrepreneurs who themselves have been through the same phase and the ones who understand what it takes to create a billion dollar company out of an Idea. With handsome amounts of money in their pockets and a will to trust others with their finances, these ‘Angels’ step in and provide the initial support and sometimes mentor-ship that helps startups successfully take over these crucial and challenging times.


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    • All students  are invited to participate in the Oust
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    • Students will know their score as soon as they finish a challenge of 5 questions and in total 10 challenges
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    • Students can only participate in the contest via the Mobile Phone (only Android devices with version 4.0 or higher). Only one entry per person allowed.
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