What Employers Look for When Hiring New Grads

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WorkplaceYou need more than good grades to land a job.

Contrary to what most people expect, getting into the right college and getting good grades are not the most important factors that affect a recent graduate’s chances of landing a job. In fact, these things are at the bottom of your prospective employers’ list.

According to a 2012 study published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, most employers are not overly concerned with an applicant’s academic credentials. They put more weight to experiences outside of academics such as internships, employment during college, volunteer experience and participation in extracurricular activities. However, this does not mean that getting into a good school or getting good grades is not important since these factors would determine if you qualify for the right internship.

The study further indicated that 31% of employers feel that recent graduates are seriously unprepared for their job search. In addition, 50% are having difficulties finding qualified job candidates since they observed that a great majority of fresh graduates lack oral and written communication skills, decision-making and problem solving skills, adaptability (especially in managing multiple priorities), creativity and collaboration.

Faced with this reality, how can you improve your chances of being hired? Here are some suggestions that can help you get your foot in the door.

Develop your soft skills. While technical expertise and experience are extremely important in landing a job, candidates for entry level positions who demonstrate the right soft skills for the job have a higher chance of being hired. So, develop your communication skills, hone your decision-making, critical thinking and analytical skills, and learn how to work effectively in a team setting. These things can help put you ahead of the competition.  

Prepare for the interviews. Some employers feel that new graduates do not take their interviews seriously and make no effort to prepare for it. To make a more positive impact during your interview, do some research about the company and review the hiring manager’s profile on LinkedIn. Learn about things that can help you connect with them during the interview and you can surely improve your chances of getting that job.

Apply for jobs you like. Most fresh graduates apply for jobs just because it will help pay the bills. Do not commit the same mistake. Applying for jobs that do not excite you will only ruin your chances of getting hired since you will not be as motivated to prepare for the interviews. It will also dampen your performance during the interviews. So, focus on jobs that you really want and you will see better results.