Top 6 Skills Employers Look for in Fresh Graduates

Written By Daniyal Wali

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Job Outlook 2021 survey, there are some specific skills that employers look for in new grads.

1. Know How to Solve Problems

One of the top skills that employers look for in fresh grads is problem-solving. According to a study, 79% of talent acquisition managers want new college graduates to demonstrate excellent problem-solving skills.

While many employers solely test problem-solving skills in interviews, some also use gamified assessments to assess how an individual would deal with complex situations, think under pressure and find smart solutions to novel problems.

In a gamified environment, you’ll have the opportunity to prove to the employer that you can face all sorts of problem in a workplace or remotely – especially those that require a quick response and resolution. When it comes to the interview, you'll want to prepare anecdotes that portray you as a solution finder.

2. Are Able to Work Well in a Team

No career path eludes teamwork. Guess what, 81% of hiring professionals want to know you can collaborate well with people having diverse personalities.

Even though as a student your academic success depends entirely on you, the workplace demands you to get your job done in a team. In fact, as an employee when you gel with others and are able to understand other people’s point of views, you come up with creative and innovative solutions.

The social distancing measures brought about by coronavirus have led to a rise in virtual or digital assessment centers. And many employers include group discussions or similar exercises in their VACs to test a candidate’s teamwork abilities. So, it’s a good idea to be prepared for a group exercise beforehand and polish your teamwork skills.

3. Can Communicate Effectively

Being able to communicate well is another one of the most important skills employers look for in recent graduates. It’s about being clear, concise and articulate, and this includes both verbal and written communication, as well as listening. Your verbal prowess is best displayed during job interviews while writing skills are best reflected in the pre-employment assessment.

Nearly seventy-two percent of hiring professionals surveyed said good verbal communication skills are indispensable for new grads. After all, how you speak sets the tone for how your coworkers will perceive you and form a relationship with you.

Unsurprisingly, 73% of managers also feel writing proficiency is the most desirable hard skill among the newly minted members of the workforce.

skills employers look for

4. Can Lead Like a Pro

Many of us restrict leadership to C-suite, but it isn’t just limited to it. Leadership is not just about managing people well but also about motivating employees to achieve your strategic vision.

Turns out, 68% of hiring managers want prospective hires with great leadership skills. While you may feel it would be hard to demonstrate your leadership abilities to the employer, you can do this using your resume or during the interview by highlighting how you emerged as a leader on a group project, etc. Prove your work ethic to the employer, showing that you are a positive influence on others.

5. Are Ready to Adapt and Embrace Change

If you can roll with the punches and land on your feet, you have one of the most desirable skills that employers look for – not just in fresh graduates but all employees. The Job Outlook Survey 2021 reveals that around sixty-six percent of managers look for new grads that can adapt to new situations. And surely, this skill has become much more important after the pandemic.

Recruiters may judge your adaptability by observing what you do with new information learned during assessment center exercises. For instance, you may be given a business case study scenario, so the employer can assess how you’ll alter solutions while you’re presented with a new stream of information. Make sure your employer knows that you welcome change and aren’t intimidated by it.

6. Demonstrate Leadership Qualities

Of course, you won’t be hired as a manager right away, but employers look for graduates with well-honed leadership qualities. For instance, you may be assessed on whether you have the potential to motivate teams and your colleagues. You may also be judged on that, If needed, would you be able to assign and delegate tasks, set deadlines and lead by good example.

Mention your leadership experiences in your resume, but don’t forget to give relevant examples when asked about them in your interview. Some employers also use gamified pre-screening tools that include SJTs to test a candidate’s behaviors, so don’t forget to practice beforehand to acquaint yourself with them.

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