What is one skill that employers look for in recent graduates?
To help you understand what employers look for in recent graduates, we asked hiring managers and CEOs this question for their best recommendations. From Microsoft Office skills to the ability to work well on a team, there are several skills that employers expect recent graduates to demonstrate in order to qualify for new professional roles in their organization.
Here are nine skills that employers look for in recent graduates:
- Microsoft Office Skills
- Enthusiasm and a Zeal To Learn
- Critical Thinking
- Ability To Write Clearly and Concisely
- Soft Skills
- Ability To Learn Fast
- Ability To Work Well on a Team
Microsoft Office Skills
One key skill that employers will always look for in recent graduates is having great Microsoft Office skills. While it isn’t cheap and easily accessible for some people, it’s very important that recent graduates should hold on to any Microsoft Office account they have, or can get, and use it as much as they can to review all of the applications. By far the three most important applications to brush up on and practice using are Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Most, if not all, companies use these three applications in their daily projects and tasks and will require all of their employees to have sufficient knowledge of them. Learning and understanding Microsoft Access and Publishing are important and a bonus. However, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are a must know before applying for a job and employers will more than likely want to know your Microsoft Office competency.
Himanshu Agarwal, WorkBoard
Enthusiasm and Zeal To Learn
Recent graduates fall into two buckets – graduates with prior experience and graduates with no experience. Irrespective of these two segments, a common quality that is expected from the graduates is a zeal to learn quickly and adapt to new challenges after their college lives. Employees look forward to adding value to the team and in turn to the organization by recruiting enthusiastic graduates. Also, having young and enthusiastic minds on the team not only adds value to the team but also increases the productivity of the whole organization.
Sri Sagar Kalisetty, Terkel
While it is important to consider that recent graduates are making a big transition from the college classroom to the job boardroom, professionalism is still incredibly important. Exuding professionalism may include, but is not limited to showing up on time, getting along with your colleagues, coming to work with new ideas and so much more. Doing so will give other colleagues the ability to have immense respect and gratitude for college graduates as they climb their way through the ever-evolving job market.
Kate Lipman, embrace Scar Therapy
Graduates are often new to the workplace. They may have had part-time work previously or even completed an internship, but that is very different from taking on their first full-time role. The expectations on both sides are different. Essential in any job, it really comes to the fore when someone is placed in situations in which they have little previous knowledge or expertise, such as starting your first permanent job. Being able to logically review the information given to you and analyze it to determine what you need to do, what questions you need to ask and how to approach a given task is a highly valued attribute.
Critical thinking can be learned, but it needs to be consciously applied regularly before it becomes a habit. Graduates who have already developed that habit will likely become effective more quickly than those that haven’t.
Gary Warner, Joloda Hydaroll
Ability To Write Clearly and Concisely
It might sound simple on the face, but finding recent college graduates who know how to write at a professional level has been difficult to come by. Many are decent enough writers in their own right, but they trend towards more overly expressive prose that’s more appropriate for thesis papers. Professional writing, especially copy and marketing, is more about brevity and being concise. Taking large ideas and distilling them down into digestible bits of data for the audience or consumer. That can be a big change for many entering the workforce, and I wish there was more of an emphasis on this style of writing in college.
At the end of the day it’s definitely a skill that can be taught, and anyone willing to put in the time and focus, should make the adjustment in very little time. That doesn’t mean college campuses shouldn’t look into tweaking their curriculum to better align with real-world needs in the marketplace.
Devin Schumacher, SERP
The most wanted skill that employers are looking for from the next generation of leaders is soft skills. With modern technology meeting via Zoom, texting, and conversing via social media; sometimes people lose the ability to communicate verbally.
Communication is key to collaborating cross-functionally and handling conflict resolution. The best way to build soft skills is practice, practice makes you comfortable. Instead of texting someone; make the phone call, instead of meeting via Zoom try meeting face to face (socially distance if required) and lead meetings (presentations) with social organizations to help build the skill set.
TK Morgan, Tuesday At 1030
Ability To Learn Fast
The vast majority of employers put heavy emphasis on the ability to learn fast. They want their ideal hire to go through the onboarding process and become a valuable asset to the team as soon as possible. They want new employees to quickly use the knowledge acquired during onboarding or other training and put it to good use swiftly and correctly.
Michal Laszuk, PhotoAiD
Ability To Work Well on a Team
Since recent graduates don’t have a ton of work experience under their belts, we prioritize candidates who have the ability to work well on a team. This key skill demonstrates so many other important traits we search for in a new hire, such as adaptability to changing circumstances, the ability to communicate, and a committed work ethic. Plus as you can imagine, a more experienced employee will feel undermined if they are forced to work with a younger employee who doesn’t work well with others. As a company that has multiple departments all working toward the same goal to meet the demands of our customers, teamwork is the foundational requirement that all new team members must have in order to successfully grow within the company and support those already established.
Oliver Zak, Mad Rabbit