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Employability and information literacy



The role of information literacy in employability

The information literacy skills acquired by students at Cardiff University can, along with those skills associated with digital and other academic literacies, enhance student employability.  The Cardiff University Employability and Enterprise Skills Strategy 2010 – 2015 (2010, p1) defines employability attributes as: “Self management; team working; business and customer awareness; problem solving; communication and literacy; application of numeracy and application of information technology”.  

Students at Cardiff University are developing information literacy within the context of their academic studies. Examples of how information literacy can be useful in the job seeking process and within employment are listed below:

  • Identifying trade publications and professional journals to improve  professional knowledge
  • Using LibrarySearch to locate career publications that can assist when preparing a CV, attending interviews or assessment centres
  • Evaluating websites effectively, using criteria including authority, accountability and currency, before including information found there in a company report or presentation
  • Using referencing skills to produce a fully referenced report for colleagues indicating the sources used to compile the report
  • Incorporating a fact or figure from researching a company or organisation when responding to, or asking a question at, a job interview
  • Using social media, such as RSS feeds and Twitter, and database alerts to stay up to date on industry/company news and developments
  • Planning a research strategy to compile a research report for an organisation including identifying the type(s) of information needed to complete the report, e.g. internal documents, legislation, regulatory materials and financial records


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Information resources to support employability

Cardiff University Library Service provides access to a wide range of information resources which can assist students in developing the specific employability attributes of business and customer awareness and the application of information technology. These resources could be used by students when::

  • Researching a company or organisation prior to starting a work experience placement
  • Preparing for a job interview
  • Completing an assignment requiring 'real world' examples

The resources listed below enable students to research companies and organisations, industries and markets to find in-depth and reliable information. They complement the extensive advice and resources provided by Careers and Employability.

To access the resources below, go to the student intranet, select the Libraries section, and then follow the link to information resources for your subject.

Guides are also available on the intranet to help you use these resources. 

Newspapers and company information

EBSCO Business Source Premier provides a large number of up-to-date company profiles and industry reports and includes SWOT analyses, competitor information and market share information.

FAME (Financial Information Made Easy) offers financial information on over 2.7 million UK and Irish companies and provides detailed figures such as turnover, profit, number of employees etc. for up to eight years.

Nexis UK offers UK and international newspapers and trade publications. It includes profiles of UK and international companies.

OSIRIS features detailed financial profiles of around 70, 000 international listed companies, banks and insurance companies from around the world.

Marketing Databases 

Keynote and Mintel provide information on UK companies, products, industries, market sizes and trends.

Passport provides international data on a number of industries and sectors.


Professional  journals and trade publications

The library also provides access to a number of professional journals and trade publications – take a look via LibrarySearchSubject Librarians can also give you advice on the journals and publications available for your subject.

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Want to find out more and raise your students' awareness of employability?

Students can access a wealth of employability information in the online careers resource Career Central and the Careers & Employability Centre at 50 Park Place.

Careers and Employability have a team of Careers Consultants and Advisers who work with individual Schools to a run programme of events increasing student’s employability including interview technique workshops and lectures on work experience and career options.  Your School’s Consultant or Adviser can also suggest how you might build employability skills into your modules and courses.

Your Subject Librarian can advise on:

  • the trade publications and professional journals available for your subject to raise awareness of new developments in your field/industry
  • using LibrarySearch, the Library Catalogue, to locate career publications that can assist students preparing a CV or attending an assessment centre
  • evaluating websites effectively, using criteria including authority, accountability and currency, when looking for career-related information
  • resources and databases available at Cardiff containing information on companies and organisations when carrying out research for a job interview or to complete an assignment using ‘real world’ examples

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References and further reading

Cardiff University. 2010. Enterprise and employability strategy 2010 – 2015. [Accessed: 18 January 2013].

CBI and NUS. 2011. Working towards your future: making the most of your time in higher education. [Accessed: 18 January 2013].

CBI and Universities UK. 2009. Future fit: preparing graduates for the world of work. [Accessed: 7 January 2013].

CILIP (2004). Information literacy: definition.  [Accessed: 25 January 2013].

Welsh Information Literacy Project. 2011. Information literacy framework for Wales: finding and using information in 21st century Wales.  [Accessed: 07 January 2013].

Yorke, M. and Knight, P. T. 2006. Embedding employability into the curriculum. Learning and Employability Series One. York: Higher Education Academy.   [Accessed: 18 January 2013].