Massey's Employability Characteristics

Skills Reflection

Massey's Employability Characteristics

It is never too early to give thought to "How am I going to find a job when I leave University?" Massey has developed FIVE Employability Characteristics which we believe that students and graduates need, not least because "employers employ PEOPLE and not DEGREES". Your degree is certainly important but fortunately you are much more than your degree alone, and many people will have similar, if not identical, qualifications to you.

We believe that it is critical that you work towards developing, and strengthening, these Employability Characteristics whilst at university. Many students do, but often struggle to articulate to an employer how the many activities in which they have been involved have contributed to their employability. These include, but are not limited to, part-time and/or vacation work, active involvement in on and off-campus clubs and societies and undertaking voluntary work.

Massey's Employability Characteristics defined





Tū hihiri


Te hihiri o te mahara

The power of the mind, to be ever present and aware of opportunity.

A combination of individuality, creativity, and leadership that enables a culture of innovation, risk taking, and opportunism, enabling entrepreneurship and facilitating knowledge transfer.

Global citizenship

Tū te Ao

Global Citizenship

Kia tū ki te tangata ki te ao, he tangata nō te ao

To stand in this world as a citizen of the world.

Engaging ethically and efficiently in the professional context and also understanding and engaging with diverse communities and cultures in a global context.

Information literacy

Tū mātau

Information Literacy

He kairapu ko ia ka kite

He who seeks shall find, shall be informed.

The ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand, and to communicate that information effectively through oral, written, or visual methods in order to inform, motivate, and effect change.


Tū māia

Self Management

He kai kei aku ringa!

Food grown by oneself, self sufficient.

Working independently, taking responsibility for personal actions such as planning and organization, having the confidence and self-awareness to plan and realise goals and ambitions, and being adaptive to respond to changing situations.

Exercising leadership

Tū rangatira


Kia raranga he apataki, me he hiku roa

Uniting a group for support to follow, as if a long tail, where the leader journeys.

Ability to work confidently and collaboratively with a group of people, and as a leader when necessary, including encouraging and motivating team members toward a shared vision to achieve goals.

Why is this important?

Prospective employers will expect you to be able to describe your experiences and skills in a way that shows their relevance and usefulness to the organisation. Given this, the skills and characteristics that you highlight in your applications and interviews must clearly and concisely match the needs of the recruiter concerned. This applies equally to applications for voluntary or paid work or further study. You'll need to show what have you done, what this means for your competence, confidence and experience and the skills that you have, as a result, developed. Crucially, you'll also need to show what can you do for the organisation. How do your skills fit their need now, and into the future?

This means that you must:

  • Clearly understand the skills and characteristics that you possess, and be able to offer evidence of where these have been developed
  • Ensure you these are the ones needed by your target audience
  • Structure your answers and materials to make them easy to understand and meaningful using relevant language.

In doing this, it's vital that you access any job description that you have, the organisation's website, resources such as the Careers NZ jobs database and, where possible, talk to people at the organisation and/or in similar roles. Where you are applying for further study you should research the course by exploring its course description and modules, find out what you can about the people teaching and the areas of specialist research and clearly understand what the end result of the course might be.

At the present time, work is being undertaken on a system through which you'll be able to record, reflect upon and articulate your development of these employability characteristics.

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