Friday, October 23, 2009

What Employers Are Looking for in a Recent Graduate

• Employers today expect employees to be multi-skilled. For example, those in technology careers are increasingly being expected to merge technical skills with business skills. Having a foundation in both is attractive to employers. It is important for developers to work with a company’s business side in order to design and implement effective solutions. Showing employers versatility on your resume is important, but be sure to tailor your resume to the job they are hiring for so you do not appear confused about the direction you wish to pursue. A clear objective is important.

 • Companies that consider hiring recent college graduates value educational preparation, but prefer to see preparation plus application. The student who joined career-related organizations, volunteered using skills that apply to their field, and took on internship opportunities will certainly have better chances for job offers than the student who only took the necessary courses for graduation.

Professionalism is often a sticking point when it comes to hiring young employees. When job-seeking it is very important to show the job is important to you. You do this by being polite, dressing appropriately and professionally, focusing on the interview only (no cell phone ringing, looking at texts, wearing a Bluetooth, or carrying in a cup of coffee), and following up with a proper thank you email or letter. You may be highly intelligent, well-educated, and able to run circles around the company’s current employees, but if you don’t exhibit professionalism, the hiring manager is likely to see you as immature or even disrespectful and it isn’t likely you’ll be hired. Job-shadowing, internships, or part-time jobs in your field during college are great ways to prepare yourself for the real thing. It’s also a great way to network.

Why Employer Expectations are Important

Considering what employers are looking for is an important step in preparing for your career. You wouldn’t build a house for someone without knowing how many rooms and floors they wanted. You wouldn’t cook a special dinner for loved ones without knowing what foods they like and dislike. Why prepare for your career without knowing what employers in your industry are looking for? Working backwards from your goal is the best way to clear the path to it. See it, then achieve it.

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Lynn Mattoon is a Content Editor and Career Writer for Career Communities. You can follow her on Twitter at BeyondCareers.

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