Skills Employers Look for in College Graduates

In this article, we have listed top 10 most sought-after attributes and skills to put on a resume that hiring managers want from your recent year’s graduating class. So if you’re on the hunt for an entry-level job, you should review about learning what these skills are and how to master them, and be sure to check out Monster’s grad site for more great info.

10 Skills Employers Look for in New Grads

1. Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills help you determine the source of a problem and find an effective solution. Although problem solving is often identified as its own separate skill, there are other related skills that contribute to this ability. Some key problem-solving skills include: Active listening. Analysis.
A whopping 85.5% of employers want to see new college graduates to have excellent problem-solving skills. Many hiring managers use behavioral interview questions—phrases such as “tell me about a time when” or “give me an example of” —to assess a job candidate’s problem-solving ability.
You don’t need job experience to provide proof that you’re a problem solver. Think about times where you were proactive, innovative, or highly responsive to a challenge, like that time you helped solve a customer complaint while working at the campus coffee shop. You can also show that you took the initiative to identify a problem and then solved it.

2. Analytical Skills

Those with strong analytical thinking skills are often capable of quickly analyzing a situation, topic or problem, and often work well in a team setting to accomplish goals. Many hiring managers (78.6%) want to hire entry-level workers who possess analytical skills, that means they’re searching for critical thinkers—people who know how to gather and evaluate information and then make good decisions based on that intel.

3. Ability to Work in a Team

Teamwork skills are the qualities and abilities that allow you to work well with others during conversations, projects, meetings or other collaborations. Having teamwork skills is dependent on your ability to communicate well, actively listen and be responsible and honest.
It goes without saying that nobody likes the employee who wants to take the spotlight. But unlike your career as a student, where you’re really the only one who can make or break your success, the workplace depends on teams of people to get the job done. No surprise, then, that 76.3% of hiring managers want to know you can collaborate well with lots of different personalities.
You’ll need to learn how to delegate, take direction, value differences of opinion, and play to your and your co-workers’ strengths and weaknesses. Being a team player is all about being reliable and trustworthy.

4. Written Communication Skills

Good communication is always going to be among the top skills employers look for. The survey found that 73.3% of managers feel writing proficiency is the most desirable hard skill among recent college graduates. Therefore, submitting a well-crafted cover letter is crucial.
You’ll want to highlight experiences on your resume that demonstrate your writing skills. If you volunteered to be the scribe for a group project in college, for example, include that on your resume. And depending on the nature of the industry—marketing, communications, or journalism to name a few—you might also submit writing samples with your application. A writing portfolio speaks for itself and shows what you’re capable of producing on the page.

5. Initiative

Tied with leadership and technical skills, a healthy 72.5% of hiring managers reported they want newly minted college graduates who know how to take initiative. This is where the maxim “Show them, don’t just tell them” applies. In the experience section of your resume, cite an example of a time when you deal with a difficult situation in a direct way or a time when being proactive enabled you to head off a problem.

6. Strong Work Ethic

No matter what field you’re in, being dedicated to and engaged with your work is a must—so says 71% of employers considering you for a position at their company. Best of all, you don’t need any job experience to demonstrate a strong work ethic. You just have to show up on time, be committed to doing quality work, and strive for improvement.

7. Technical Skills

Technical skills are talents, abilities and knowledge related to information technology. This includes skills related to the use, administration, development, design and architecture of technology. Use of internet tools such as search, social media and software as a service tools.
Technical skills round out this three-way tie. Many industries, not just jobs in the technology sector, call for professionals with technical abilities. Case in point: 64.9% of hiring managers said new grads should possess technical skills. Describe how you’re applied your technical skills in the past. For instance, if your resume lists that you have Java experience, it should also describe how utilized the program on a particular project in college.

8. Flexibility/Adaptability

Adaptability or Flexibility as a skill refers to the ability of a person to change his actions, course or approach to doing things in order to suit a new situation.
According to the survey, 63.4% of managers are looking for new grads that can roll with the punches and land on their feet. If you’re resistant to change or learning new things, you’ll have a hard time convincing companies that you’re worth the effort to train. The pandemic of 2020 taught employees to be ready for just about anything—including a sudden shift from working in an office to working from home. Let it be known that you’re not intimidated by change and can adjust accordingly.

9. Detail-oriented

Being detail-oriented means paying close attention to all of the small particulars when working on a task or project. Detail-oriented employees complete each assignment as flawlessly as possible before moving to the next task. This means the projects Detail Oriented people submit are usually high-quality work with little to no errors. Detail-oriented employees focus closely on each project and constantly find ways to finish their tasks efficiently.
According to the survey, 62.6% of managers are looking for new grads that have meticulous attention to detail. As a result, make sure your resume is impeccable, free of typos and grammatical errors, and organized with the use of clear, concise, and effective language.

10. Leadership Skills

Leadership skills are abilities that allow you to plan strategies, organize individuals, delegate responsibilities, motivate action, and build rapport with those you work alongside. Key leadership skills are often soft skills.
It’s a tall order: 60.3% of hiring managers want potential hires with great leadership skills. Believe it or not, there are ways you can show possible employers that you have leadership potential before you even enter the workforce.
If you held a leadership role in college (e.g., president of the French club), highlight it on your resume. If you emerged as the informal leader on a group project, talk about the experience during the job interview. Also, get letters of recommendation from former internship managers that speak to your leadership skills.

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