What are employers really looking for in graduates?

  January 11, 2017



The trouble with being a graduate is that often you get fooled into believing that simply having a degree is enough to land you your dream job. In the past, when degree educated individuals were in short supply, this may have been the case, but times have changed. Competition is now fierce for every role, and having a degree doesn't offer the edge it once did, and it's not surprising, considering that just over 530,000 people attend university in the UK each year, and when it comes to applying for jobs, estimates suggest there are approximately 39 applicants for every graduate role.

So if simply having a degree isn't enough to make you stand out, what else do you need? Research suggests it is actually behavioural competencies that employers are now on the look out for; while education is still important, many businesses are now changing the focus of their recruitment to try and identify people with the right skills and attitude to succeed in the workplace, with education being used as a less important gauge of 'right fit'. Unfortunately most businesses have a pretty defined idea of what a 'useful' business skills is , and your ability to win at beer pong probably isn't going to impress, so it's important to make sure you know what is important in the workplace and find ways to hone these skills. Some of the top skills that have been identified by employers include: teamwork, communications skills (and not just via social media), commercial awareness, leadership, negotiation skills, problem solving and confidence. But lets face it, these aren't skills that are explicitly focussed on at university, so if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to find ways to not only develop these skills, but also first assess where your skills and areas of improvement lie. Just because you've never been educated on teamwork or leadership doesn't mean you don't already have some experience or natural ability in these areas.

Creating a HappyWork profile can help you pinpoint your natural preferences, skills and behavioural competencies. Not only will you know where your strengths are, but employers will be able to see them too, helping you match your skills and interests to the right job and employer for you. Fill out your profile, for free today, and start your career journey on the right path.