Literacies for Life Developing Employability Initiative

Personalised employABILITY profile

1 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Student starter kit:
Personalised employABILITY profile
Profile prepared for: A00016742
Date: 10/02/2022
Literacies for Life
Developing Employability Initiative
Curtin University, Australia

Personalised employABILITY profile

2 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Welcome to your personalised
employABILITY profile!
Literacies for Life empower people to make
informed life and career decisions that align with
personal and societal values and goals.
Your personalised employABILITY profile is
designed to help you understand the six
Literacies for Life that combine to enhance your
employability. Use these for your personal and
professional development.
Engage with resources like this one on a regular
You can revisit your profile at any time
using your student number. To access the
resources, enter your email address as the
access code.
You will have often heard the term employability
in relation to careers and jobs. When reading the
profile, resist this narrow view and focus instead
on what is important to you in your future life and
Basic literacy
Career thinking; belief in yourself and your
Rhetorical literacy
Interpersonal skills; disciplinary and digital
knowledge, skills and practices.
Personal and critical literacy
Problem solving, decision making, goal
setting and goal achievement.
Emotional literacy
Interactions and relationships.
Occupational literacy
Career thinking, lifestyle and flexibility.
Ethical, cultural and social literacy
Ethically, culturally and socially acceptable
behaviours and values.

Personalised employABILITY profile

3 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Student starter kit
The employABILITY student starter kit is an online
resource featuring a student-focussed,
personalised employABILITY self-assessment tool,
and developmental resources – the student
employABILITY resources.
The student starter kit has everything
you need to enhance your employability.
EmployABILITY self-assessment tool and
personalised employABILITY profile
The first step in the student starter kit was to
assess your employABILITY using the
employABILITY self-assessment tool. This
generated the personalised profile you are
reading now.
Use your personalised profile to see how you selfassessed against the Literacies for Life. Target
areas for development, and access the linked
resources whenever you have time.
Student employABILITY resources
Student employABILITY resources are online,
developmental resources that help develop and
strengthen employability. You will find resource
links throughout the profile; you can also access
EmployABILITY is a cyclical process! Return to
your profile on a regular basis, and make use of
the resources as and when you need them.

Personalised employABILITY profile

4 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

What is employability?
When working with your employABILITY profile,
remember that employability means to
your abilities
. Our definition of employability is:
The ability to create and sustain
meaningful life and work for the benefit
of self and others.
Rather than preparing for a single job or career,
Literacies for Life approach helps you to shape
work and career into what you need and want as
an individual.
Three crucial points to
1. Employment and employability are different
The term employability is often used to describe
skills and attributes that relate to a job
(employment) in a single profession; however,
many people in the developed world have five or
more different careers and hold 17 or more
different jobs across their working lives.
Employability changes over time as people apply
and enhance their skills and knowledge in many
different settings. You can read more about this in
a report by
McCrindle Research (2014).
2. The nature of work is changing
Many of today’s most in-demand occupations
didn’t exist five years ago. Technology in
particular is both creating new opportunities and
making some occupations redundant. Staying
ahead of the trends is a key component of
employability (
World Economic Forum, 2016).
3. It is far better to plan a life than to just plan a career
Although work is changing rapidly, you will always
be you. Many decisions about work and career
relate to personal satisfaction and personal
circumstances rather than the work itself. Plan a
life rather than a career.

Personalised employABILITY profile

5 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

When will I be employable?
A better question is, “When will I be able to do the
work I want to do?” Use your personalised
employABILITY profile to help answer this
How am I doing?
People strive to be employable—self and career
literate—for the whole of their working lives. Being
aware of your strengths and weaknesses across
the six
Literacies for Life can help you target areas
in need of development and extend areas of
strength, so that you can stay ahead.
Your employABILITY profile may change each time
you re-assess your abilities, particularly when your
goals and career paths change. It is perfectly
normal for people to self-assess lower than before
in one or more domains; employability is fluid.
As you reflect on your employABILITY profile,
identify areas of concern and target these for
development. Use the employABILITY student
resources linked with your profile, work with
career advisors at your institution, and talk with
peers, lecturers and industry practitioners.

Personalised employABILITY profile

6 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

How do I read my results?
To read your results, first look at the model below
and explore the interactive
Literacies for Life
The Literacies for Life combine to enhance
employability. When you completed the
employABILITY self-assessment tool, you assessed
yourself against all six literacies.

Personalised employABILITY profile

7 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

My results
The radar or web chart below illustrates your selfassessment in each of the six Literacies for Life,
arranged radially around a central point. The
closer the shading comes to the outside of the
chart, the higher you self-assessed in that literacy.
Your self-assessment relates to your confidence. It
will change according to your circumstances and
experiences, so use it as a prompt for analysis and
action rather than as a score card.
Personalised employABILITY profile

8 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

How do I use this profile?
First, explore the interactive Literacies for Life
. Next, use this personalised employABILITY
profile to explore each of the
Literacies for Life in
Your profile includes reflective questions and links
to employABILITY student resources. There is no
right or wrong way to use the resources; take your
time and focus on what is interesting and
important to you right now.
The questions and challenges are designed to
help you understand and develop each literacy.
Each one refers to a crucial facet of graduate
Answer the reflective questions alone or with
peers, and use your responses as the basis for
discussion with career advisors, lecturers and
people in industry.
Make it count!
Each employABILITY student resource
includes a section titled
Make it count! The
Make it count! section prompts you to take
what you developed in the resource and
transfer it to your studies, everyday
activities, career planning, CV or
professional portfolio.
Collect evidence at every opportunity and
add it to your portfolio and CV so that you
can find what you need when it comes to
applying for work.
Unsure about
professional portfolios?
There are many free portfolio websites and
programs, such as Adobe Portfolio. Your
institution may also have a commercial
portfolio platform which you can access for
free. Before you start, make sure that you
will be able to access your portfolio once
you graduate! For help and advice, click
here. For more portfolio ideas, use the
resource developed by
Manitoba Career
or seek advice from your
institutional career advisors.

Basic literacy

9 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Understanding basic literacy
Basic literacy combines your discipline knowledge,
skills and practices with your ability to interact
with other people and your digital literacy.
Basic literacy includes three qualities, listed to the
right. These qualities will be explored over the
following pages.
What is digital literacy?
Digital literacy is the ability to identify and use
technology confidently, creatively and critically to
meet the demands and challenges of life, learning
and work in a digital society. The level of digital
literacy fluency within any particular domain will
depend on the context and your level of
engagement in that context.
1. Disciplinary skills, practices and knowledge
2. Communicating and interacting with other people
3. Using digital technologies for work and learning
Basic literacy

10 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Basic literacy 1: Disciplinary skills, practices and knowledge
What are your key strengths?
How will you use your strengths in your future
life and career?
What evidence do you have, or need to create,
to show you have these strengths?
What can you do to further strengthen these
aspects of your employABILITY?
To what extent will your university program
prepare you for graduate life?
What new opportunities can you access through
your institution?
EmployABILITY development is a partnership.
What are
you doing to develop your
Think of something you could do in the next 30
days and commit to it!
How to make yourself more
If you’re unsure about what to do next,
the advice for students, and advice for
people already in industry
Note the common themes and remember to
collect evidence as you go.
Refine and retain great assessment pieces
Ask for testimonials and references when
you work or volunteer
Collect certificates
Digitise media releases
And remember, keep the evidence in your
Basic literacy

11 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Basic literacy 2: Communicating and interacting with other people
Language and understanding
How comfortable are you when communicating
with people from different cultures and
backgrounds, or with people more senior than
What opportunities can you find to develop your
language and understanding?
How can you incorporate new opportunities into
your daily life?
Can you make clear and concise oral
How can you further develop your presentation
What can you do over the next month? Think of
something and commit to it!
Do you have a network of contacts who might
help you achieve your goals?
If not, how will you build these contacts?
How can you engage your networks in your
employability development?

Basic literacy

12 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Leadership and teamwork
The following questions relate to leadership and
teamwork strengths. Using the questions as a
guide, think about whether you have experiences
that show your leadership and teamwork
strengths. If you do, write an account of these and
put them into your portfolio.
How well do you gain the support of others for
your recommendations and ideas?
How well do you listen to other people’s
recommendations and ideas?
How well do you deal with people’s problems
and resolve conflicts?
What opportunities exist for you to develop your
leadership and team work?
What evidence can you find or create for your
leadership and teamwork abilities, perhaps from
volunteering, work, sports or music?
Basic literacy

13 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Basic literacy 3: Using digital technologies for work and learning
Digital literacy involves finding, using and
disseminating information in a digital world.
How confident are you in learning and using the
digital technologies associated with your
How proficient are you at using digital sources
to gather reliable information about career
How confident are you when interpreting large
How aware are you of your online presence and
the messages it gives to others?
Being digitally literate implies having skills and
capabilities across a number of domains, including
the ability to
use technology;
find, use and critically evaluate information;
curate data and media sources;
communicate, collaborate and participate in
online environments;
manage your online identity as well as your
personal security and privacy; and
create online content, not just consume it.
Skills such as flexibility, adaptability and being a
life-long learner are essential in order to maintain
relevant digital literacy skills over time. Your
digital literacy skills and capabilities need to grow
and be nurtured, they need to be scaffold through
your learning and, ultimately, they need to be fitfor-purpose.
Beside your studies, what are you
doing to enhance your employability?
You answered a similar question in the selfassessment tool. This is what you wrote.
If you didn’t respond, the text box will be
empty. Use the space to answer the
The most important person in your employability
development is you. Make sure you include
actions in the box above, even if these are yet to
be implemented. Ask questions and collect
evidence whenever you can.

Rhetorical literacy

14 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Understanding rhetorical literacy
Rhetoric is effective or persuasive speaking or
writing. This includes speaking or writing within
the digital domain.
Rhetorical literacy combines the language,
communication and interaction capacities within
basic literacy with problem solving, decision
making, goal setting and goal achievement.
Rhetorical literacy is one of the attributes
employers look for at graduate level. To do well in
this aspect of employability you need to be able to
articulate and show examples drawn from your
Rhetorical literacy includes two qualities, listed to
the right. These qualities will be explored over the
following pages.
1. Solving problems and making decisions
2. Achieving goals, tasks and deadlines
Rhetorical literacy

15 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Rhetorical literacy 1: Solving problems and making decisions
Use the following questions to develop ideas and
How good are you at making informed, quick
and clear decisions that motivate other people?
How often do you change your work or personal
life to make it more satisfying and
To what extent do you consider cultural,
business and economic contexts when
approaching a problem or situation?
How often do you contribute novel ideas that
help resolve a problem or situation?
How often do you anticipate problems before
they happen?
You as a problem solver
Collecting the evidence!
Think of a time when you offered a unique and
novel idea that added new knowledge and
insights to a problem or situation.
This might have been at school, at work, in a
social situation or in a team assignment at
Follow the steps below to put together a
Describe the situation
Describe the problem or challenge
Describe what you did about it
Describe how your actions resolved the
problem or challenge
Describe how will think differently about
your problem solving and/or decisionmaking abilities as a result of this
Combine the sentences to create a statement
and add this to your portfolio. The statement
will be useful when you address selection
criteria. You could also align it with a graduate
attribute, learning outcome or accreditation
In the future, use the above steps or choose
from a set of
critical reflection strategies and

Rhetorical literacy

16 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Rhetorical literacy 2: Achieving goals, tasks and deadlines
Use the following questions to develop ideas and
How often do you set realistic goals and
How often do you
achieve the goals and
deadlines you set?
When goals and deadlines are not achieved,
what are the reasons for this?
List your reasons in the notes field below. Add
solutions and try to apply these in the future.
Then, attempt the 20-minute challenge to the
20-minute challenge!!
Reflect on one instance when you set and
achieved realistic goals and deadlines.
What were the factors that led to success?
What challenges did you overcome?
If you were to coach someone else in the
same situation, what five things would you
advise them to do or not to do?
List two goals or tasks towards which you can
start working now.
Commit to starting one of these within seven
days. Put a deadline in your calendar and
follow the tips you listed above.

Personal and critical literacy

17 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Understanding personal and critical literacy
Personal and critical literacy relates to your career
thinking, your belief in yourself and your
confidence that you can complete your studies.
The literacy also takes into account how you
understand and apply your learning.
Personal and critical literacy includes four
qualities, listed to the right. These qualities will be
explored over the following pages.
1. Career Commitment
2. Believing in yourself
3. Your ability and willingness to learn
4. Putting theory into practice
Personal and critical literacy

18 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Personal and critical literacy 1: Career commitment
Few people stay in the same profession for their
whole working lives. If you’re unsure about your
career thinking, create a career action plan using
the resource below.
How did you choose your major?
This is how you responded to the question
when you completed the self-assessment tool.
If you didn’t respond, the box will be empty. If
this is the case, use the space to answer the
question now.
Personal and critical literacy

19 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

What is your career thinking now?
Do you intend to work in your discipline
for the whole of your career?
This is how you responded to the question
when you completed the self-assessment tool.
Take some time to think about it now, using
the questions to the left as a guide.
If you didn’t respond, use this space to
answer the question.
Sources of advice
Great sources of advice: The university’s
careers service and student support office,
program coordinators, counselling services
and trusted members of your personal and
professional network.
Would it help to read about careers in your
field? If so, click here to find career stories.
Before you read the career stories, make a
note of the things you would like to look out

Personal and critical literacy

20 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Personal and critical literacy 2: Believing in yourself
Efficacy is another word for belief. Believing in
ourselves means that we are more likely to see
challenges as opportunities rather than threats.
We are also better able to cope with setbacks. Put
simply, people with high self-efficacy tend to learn
and achieve more than other people.
How is your self-efficacy?
You might remember answering the following
questions when you completed the selfassessment tool. Take some time to think about
them now.
Believing in yourself – your self-efficacy
In general, do you feel that you are able to do
things as well as most other people?
Do you have respect for yourself?
Are you proud of your successes?
Believing that you can complete your
studies – your academic self-efficacy
Do you have the confidence to ask questions in
lectures and tutorials?
Do you have the confidence to ask for help
when you need it?
Do you know the standard required to get good
Are you confident that you can pass each study
module or unit?
Do you understand your study materials?
If you answered no to any of these questions,
follow the link below to the resource on positive
self-talk. Low self-efficacy can be a major
challenge, so seek help and advice if you feel
Seek help!
If you are struggling with your studies, seek
help! Universities have a wide range of help
available, so please talk to someone straight

Personal and critical literacy

21 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Personal and critical literacy 3: Your ability and willingness to learn
Learning is a constant part of life and career. The
following three challenges involve different forms
of learning that enhance employability and
Stay up-to-date with ideas
Follow and read general websites such as
Wired or The Conversation. Also, read
publications from your discipline: for example,
Mining Monthly or Anthropology Today. Your
university and public library will subscribe to
some pay-to-view industry journals. If they
don’t subscribe, make a request!
Milestone tracking
Number of classes to complete
Things I need to develop
Evidence I need in order to get work
Ideas for getting ahead

Personal and critical literacy

22 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Personal and critical literacy 4: Putting the theory into practice
Graduate employers know that you have a degree
and the knowledge that comes with it. They want
to know whether you can put the theory into
How often do you see the relevance of each study
unit (module) to your future career?
If it doesn’t seem relevant, ask the lecturer to help
you understand how the learning will be useful as
a graduate.
Have you already applied some of the knowledge
and skills gained in your studies when in a
workplace, as a volunteer or in a placement?
Look for opportunities to do this and write down
what you did. The stories will be invaluable when
you seek a placement or graduate work.
The self-assessment tool asked you to
consider what you would change or add if you
were designing your degree program.The box
will be empty if you didn’t respond, so take
the time to answer the question now.
Take control! What can you do to
develop anything you feel is missing?
Take the volunteer challenge
The best way to find out what kind of work
you like is to get out there and do some!
Whether or not you have paid work at the
moment, remember that employers value
volunteer work just as highly as paid work.
Take the
volunteer challenge to find out why.
Emotional literacy

23 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Understanding emotional literacy
Emotional literacy is one of the most important
aspects of our work life and personal life because
it determines how we interact with people and
how our relationships function.
The following questions will help you to gauge
your emotional literacy. Answer them honestly –
you don’t need to share them with anyone else.
Can you tell how someone is feeling by looking
at their facial expression and body language?
If someone is upset, can you help them feel
When making decisions, do you listen to your
feelings to see if the decision feels right?
Can you handle stressful situations or problems
without getting too overwhelmed?
Do people come to you when they need help?
If so, what is it about you that makes you
Watch other people over the next few days and
identify people who are emotionally literate.
What do they do, or not do?
What could you try in your next conversation?
Learn More
Read the Emotional Intelligence (EI) Lifehack
by career coach Hannah Braime, who shares
7 practical ways to enhance your emotional
Occupational literacy

24 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Understanding occupational literacy
Occupational literacy adds to our understanding of
career exploration, awareness and flexibility. It
requires us to think about career fit, lifestyle and
alternative careers. For some people, occupational
literacy reveals possibilities they hadn’t previously
Occupational literacy includes two qualities, listed
to the right. These qualities will be explored over
the following pages.
1. Career awareness and exploration
2. Having a ‘Plan B’ for your career
Occupational literacy

25 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Occupational literacy 1: Career exploration and awareness
Have you thought about:
Identifying careers that best match your
interests and skills?
Making a well-informed choice about which
career to pursue?
Finding work that is meaningful to you?
Careers are rarely linear and they are rarely
experienced as we had imagined them. In the
career story link to the right,read about a
university graduate who decided to create a
portfolio career – a career that features several
different concurrent roles.
To explore how this thinking might influence your
decisions, try one of the resources to the right.

Occupational literacy

26 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Occupational literacy 2: Having a ‘Plan B’ for your career
How will you cope with the disappointment if your
first career choice does not work out? Could you
create a good back-up plan if your preferred
career option does not eventuate?
What is your ‘Plan B’? Will you be happy with it?
How long are you prepared to wait for your
preferred career?
Which of your skills, strengths and knowledge
could you apply in another profession? Take a look
at the ‘Writing a cover letter’ resource to the right
to discover top skills for 2020.
In the career story link to the right, read about
author Liz Byrski and her career journey of 50
Ethical, cultural and social literacy

27 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

Understanding ethical, cultural and social literacy
Literacies for Life encompass our respectful
relationships with other people. To uphold
ethically, culturally and socially acceptable
behaviours and values in our personal and work
lives, we need to know what is acceptable and
how to enact it.
Ask yourself the questions below and look for
opportunities to work or study with people from
different backgrounds, communities and beliefs.
Do you accept responsibility for the results of
your work, decisions and actions?
Do you always uphold the ethics and values of
your profession, community or workplace?
Do you uphold and encourage responsible
behaviour towards the community and the
Do you uphold and encourage responsible
behaviour in your digital profile?
Do you uphold and encourage ethical behaviour
in digital domains?

Personalised employABILITY profile

28 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

The Literacies for Life model was developed by
the Developing Employability Initiative at Curtin
University in Perth, Western Australia.
Many items within the self-assessment tool are
drawn from or informed by extant sources; these
are acknowledged to the right.
The six
Literacies for Life combine to enhance
employability and Inform personal and
professional development.
Educators can receive an anonymised,
aggregated, cohort-wide profile summary and
assistance with the workshop and reflection
process. The self-reflection tool and profile is
made available without charge.
For more information, please visit or contact
Professor Dawn Bennett at
[email protected]
Ethical considerations
Equipping and enabling educators to embed
employability across higher education
has been
approved by the Curtin University Human
Research Ethics Committee (HREC) (number
HRE2017-0125). Should you wish to discuss the
study with someone not directly involved, in
particular, any matters concerning the conduct of
the study or your rights as a participant, or you
wish to make a confidential complaint, you may
contact the Ethics Officer on (08) 9266 9223 or
the Manager, Research Integrity on (08) 9266
7093 or email [email protected]
When completing the personalised profile tool,
students choose whether or not to include their
anonymised responses in the research database.
The database is hosted securely and all
institutional, program and personal details are
removed prior to analysis. The consent and
information form can be accessed
Brackett, M. A., & Mayer, J. D. (2003). Convergent,
discriminant, and incremental validity of
competing measures of emotional intelligence.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29,
1147–1158. (Emotional literacy items)
Byrne, M., Flood, B., & Griffin, J. (2014). Measuring
the academic self-efficacy of first-year accounting
students. Accounting Education, 23(5), 407-423.
(Critical literacy items)
Coetzee, M. (2014). Measuring student
graduateness: Reliability and construct validity of
the Graduate Skills and Attributes Scale. Higher
Education Research & Development, 33(5),
887-902. (Basic, Rhetorical and Ethical literacy
Lent, R. W., Ezeofor, I., Morrison, A., Penn, L. T., &
Ireland, G. W. Applying the social cognitive model
of career self-management to career exploration
and decision-making. Journal of Vocational
Behavior, 93(2016), 47-57. (Occupational literacy
Mancini, T., Caricati, L., Panari, C., & Tonarelli, A.
(2015). Personal and social aspects of professional
identity. An extension of Marcia’s identity status
model applied to a sample of university students.
Journal of Vocational Behavior, 89(2015), 140-150.
(Critical literacy items)
Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent
self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press. (Critical literacy items)
Smith, C., Ferns, S., & Russell, L. (2014).
Conceptualising and measuring ‘employability’:
Lessons from a national OLT project. Proceedings
of the ACEN National Conference, Gold Coast
2014. (Critical literacy items)

Personalised employABILITY profile

29 © Copyright 2017 Dawn Bennett | [email protected]

I would like to acknowledge team members and
colleagues who provided critical feedback and
advice, and technical expertise, during the
personalised employABILITY profile’s
development: Emily Bennett, Lynne Roberts,
Nicoleta Maynard, Sally Male and Karen BurlandClark, Rosie Halsmith, Kate Farrell, Marina Harvey
and Rachel Sheffield. The web design was expertly
done by Kelvin Tamzil and Mark Sanders at
Cognitia Design Solutions. Heartfelt thanks go to
project manager Philippa Munckton, without whom
the Initiative’s work would not be possible.
The Developing Employability Initiative is
supported by a National Senior Teaching
Fellowship awarded by the Australian Government
Department of Education and Training.
Dawn Bennett
Professor of Higher Education, Curtin University
July, 2017
Revised March 2018