5 Skills Graduate Employers Look For and How To Get Them

Athena Barris

Apr 30 • 2 minute read

So being a student is a lot of fun, but let’s face it, thinking about how to maximise your job prospects for a graduate job, is rarely a priority. That being said, there’s a tonne of chill stuff you can do between your studies, to build up a kick-ass repertoire. You’ll easily get the top skills that graduate employers seek. Without compromising your student life.

1. Teamwork

“The ability to work well within a team”. A classic. Highly sought after by all graduate employers. Collaboration, compromise and influence are essential to be able to operate smoothly and efficiently as a team. And these skills are easily developed through part-time work and summer internships. Especially in hospitality environments where you’ll need to utilise your communication and teamwork for shifts to run smoothly and ensure customers are happy. You’ll also earn yourself a nice bit of extra money. Win-win.

2. Leadership

Leadership and team management are about being able to direct a team to do the best it possibly can, getting the best out of your workforce and deciding where to focus your efforts. Leading a team by setting direction is a really important attribute to demonstrate for a graduate job. While it may seem difficult to find a position to practice leadership whilst young, there are plenty available. Societies and sports clubs can surprisingly see you get better at more than just drinking, partying, and facing lectures with a hangover from hell. If you can wangle your way in to the committee you’ll be able to boast leadership skills. Sure it's an informal environment but it's a transferable skill.

3. Problem solving

Independently finding a solution, working it through and presenting it when a problem arises. Problem solving involves a combination of initiative, creativity, resourcefulness, analytical thinking and determination. And there’s no better way to experience situations that require you to be proactive, innovative and responsive to a challenge, than volunteering and travelling! Sun, fun, new opportunities, new people and new skills. As well as championing your problem solving skills, you’ll also develop resilience as you’ll inevitably face setbacks, changes in plans, and stress on your journey. Also building rapport with strangers? You’ll have nailed it.

4. Commercial Awareness

It is a little more than just knowing what the job description means. Graduate employers love candidates to have an awareness of how their industry works. Having some knowledge on current business trends and the impact these may have on a given industry will really make you stand out from the others that are applying for that graduate scheme. And there’s no better way to really stand out from any competition than embarking on a business venture! Whilst it may seem like a big deal, you don’t need to be the next Zuckerberg to reap the benefits. A business venture shows real entrepreneurial flare and initiative, and you’ll definitely develop commercial awareness for the industry you’re entering. Your ambition won’t go unnoticed.

5. Creativity

Ok, you don’t actually need to be an artist, or even be within the creative industries to demonstrate creativity. It’s all about using fresh thinking, innovation, imagination and intuition, to come up with ideas that could develop a company. Almost all of what’s already been mentioned will give you the chance to use your initiative, try out some ideas, and get creative. Getting involved in a business venture sure as hell demonstrates creativity, even if it lands on its face! Getting a part-time job or internship and thinking about what you could do to make something better, or fine tune it, is a great way to practice thinking outside the box!

It’s all very well having these skills - but make sure employers know! Keep your Magnet.me profile updated with your skills and experiences. That way graduate employers can easily see when you’re their perfect match, and approach you for opportunities that match your profile and interests.

It’s never too soon to start exploring companies and jobs you may be interested in, on the UK and NLs biggest student and graduate jobs website. You can find graduate jobs, graduate schemes, internships and inhouse days from over 1,500 graduate employers.

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