mindreaderv2
 

What do employers want in new graduates? We asked graduate employers from a range of industries in the Graduate Outlook Survey (GOS) 2013. We’ve summarised the best bits below.

 

On this page:

 

What graduate employers want vs.
What graduates think they want

What skills, knowledge and qualities do employers look for?

In GOS 2013, we asked graduate employers to rank the top three selection criteria (aside from qualifications) looked for, favoured and rated highly in potential graduate employees (ie. you). Then we asked YOU in our Graduate Opportunities Survey 2013 what you thought employers wanted. Here’s how your responses compared:

 

What employers want in their employees: What grads think employers want:
Interpersonal communication skills
This is about how well you can communicate with others in and outside of the company, over emails & letters as well as in conversation.

1

1

Passion
How much do you know about the industry? How much drive do you have? How committed are you to the company ideals? How positive is your attitude?

2

3

Logic & technical skills
How good are your critical thinking and analytical skills? How well do you solve problems? Can you think laterally? What technical skills do you have?

3

4

Academic results
How good are your marks?

4

6

Work experience

5

2

Cultural alignment/values fit
Do your personal values align with those of the company? Is your personality one that will mix well with others who already work there?

6

9

Emotional intelligence
How aware of your own strengths and weaknesses are you? How confident or motivated are you?

7

7

Teamwork skills

8

5

Activities
What do you do besides study? Both in and outside of uni (eg. clubs, volunteering, hobbies)

9

10

Leadership skills

10

8

Make sure you check out employer profiles in our career search to learn exactly what individual employers are after.

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Which disciplines are in demand?

Around a third of employers who responded to GOS 2013 indicated that they had trouble sourcing graduates from particular disciplines. The chart below shows you the degree areas they had most trouble getting graduates in. Some employers selected more than one discipline, and that has affected the percentages.

Use our career search to find out which employers want students from your degree area.

 

29.2%
26.4%
18.1%
15.3%
11.1%
8.3%
6.9%
Sciences (excluding Earth Sciences)
4.2%
5.6%

 *Chart is based on only a section of employers surveyed – those who said they had trouble recruiting. See GOS 2013 for more details.

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Key tips

keytip1 Even if employers put emphasis on a skill or attribute, it doesn’t mean that’s all they’re looking for. Do some self-assessment to figure out what your strengths are, and learn to highlight them. Your skills might fill a place the employer didn’t realise they needed until you walked in!
keytip2 Keep a positive attitude, and show that you’re willing to learn. Employers are more likely to be put off by poor attitude and a lack of drive than they are by someone without leadership and communication skills.
keytip3 You can always learn new skills! Take up a short course, or get some hands-on experience by helping a volunteer organisation.
keytip4 Still missing out? Make sure to check out our tips on dealing with rejection, and then bounce right back!

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Real opinions from real graduate employers

Lack of technically skilled graduates in the IT (software engineering) sector. Applicants fail to communicate their skills properly, or show a lack of attitude to being a professional who can self-learn and upskill themselves over their career.

The combination of a strong history of academic achievement, along with strong interpersonal and leadership skills, self-awareness, humility, and resilience. An alignment with our mission and vision is also critical.
Good communication skills, sound technical knowledge (for technical roles), professional attitude, constant learner, not afraid to ask questions and actually retains the knowledge, researched the company and role.

A combination of good team fit and a passion / drive for the work. We do interesting work but it is long hours, so an applicant needs to have a passion for it.

Outstanding graduates require a combination of strong academic results along with involvement in extra-curricular activities. They need to be self starters, thrive on solving problems and have the ability to be learn and be coached. They must also demonstrate career ambition and good communication skills.

Maturity, strong passion, clear direction and career pathway, understanding of requirements within the organisation and cultural fit.

Hunger to think outside the box and build a career that is sustainable despite peer trends

Well written, concise, professional; solid academic performance with some quality vacation work and extra-curricular such as other work history and involvement with professional associations, volunteer organisations, student societies.

Demonstrated passion and knowledge about the industry they are applying to. Extra activities that align with company values and objectives.

Clear effective communicator who is able to demonstrate a passion for the job, willingness to learn and motivation to be proactive in their learning and work. Tidy, appropriate dress, polite and friendly.

Poor interpersonal ability and a lack of self-awareness or humility. Wanting to join for reasons other than our core mission as a not-for-profit. Lack of leadership ability or resilience. Poor academics (more than 2 fails, or below a 70% average).

Bad grammar & spelling (willing to accept the occasional mistake but most cover letters and CV’s are littered with them), not following the application process (eg. emailing the wrong email address, not attaching a cover letter), excessively long CV’s, cover letters that don’t explain why they are suited to the role.

People who just want any old job – we want people who want our job. We also need them to be articulate and able to communicate – in code, visually and with their teammates. People who want to work completely independently or overstate their own abilities are a turn-off.

Generic and impersonal cover that that is not addressed to the reviewer. A sell approach including why the candidate would be better than others (a sign of arrogance) and little passion for the… area beyond wanting to “get a job”. A CV that is either too long with excessive detail or too brief or that includes irrelevant work experience and overly focused on long lists of awards that may not be relevant.

Inferior graduates tend to not be clear on what they want or looking for. Their results are often mixed. They don’t tend to speak clearly or concisely and don’t do their homework on our organisation and having a view on whether they are a good fit.

Lack of demonstrated initiative, focus on technical skills without acknowledging importance of people related skills such as team work, leadership and emotional intelligence.

Poor communicator, aggressive or entitled attitude. Poor time-keeping, rudeness, does not demonstrate ability to be flexible, listen or be self-motivated to learn. Inappropriate dress.

Attitude, attitude, attitude. Presentation, enthusiasm, hunger for learning and resilience. A questioning mindset, strong emotional intelligence all go a long way to a meaningful “partnership”.

An intriguing, independent, freethinking, individual with the desire to want to learn and grow within our organisation. Open and fresh with drive to make a difference.

A candidate that transcends their degree by displaying excellent communication skills, passion, knowledge and desire to be in the industry.

An outstanding graduate is an individual who is passionate, driven and open to learning. Someone who can fit into a team whilst bringing a spark to the organisation.

Yes. Shows personality and character. It is a good indicator of an individuals interests and social influences. I carefully consider these applicants.

Yes. Sometimes positively as it showed some candidates were networking themselves and developing skills during their extra-curricular activities. Othertimes it was negative as they we’re whining about previous employers.

Yes. Absolutely crucial.  Always, look at this.  We want people who display emotional intelligence and integrity. Often, you can discover this by Googling them!

 

Yes. Looking at their previous work history and whether they have run small business projects etc.  Looking at the extent of their friendship circles and what they like to do in order to get an idea of team fit.

Yes. Greatly. It provides us an insight into their social responsibilities, awareness, and professionalism.

Yes. To see how normal they were and what their interests may be! It would be naive of me to assume they were perfect and never drank and went to parties. It also adds a dimension of how they communicate with a team, anger issues, language etc.

 

Read more about impressing employers with your social media on our page Social Media for Careers.

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The information and research on this page comes from the 2013 Graduate Outlook Survey of graduate employers in Australasia. If you are interested in viewing more of the survey findings, visit GCA or email research@graduatecareers.edu.au

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