Skills employers want and new graduates lack
Itâ€™s important that you are knowledgeable in your field: an engineer must have engineering knowledge; an accountant needs an accounting background; a nurse needs a medical education. Your GPA is indicative of what you have learned in your field. More than half of employers recognize this by screening applicants by GPA, using a cutoff of 3.0. Add an internship or two in your field and you show an employer that youâ€™ve tested your new knowledge.
However, employers say other skills and abilities help job seekers stand out from the crowd of degree-holders. They want new hires who will fit in with co-workers and into the workplace, and are able to get the job done.
Unfortunatelyâ€”and ironicallyâ€”the very qualities employers look for are the qualities they find lacking in many new graduates. Employers say new graduates lack face-to-face communication skills, especially writing skills. They say many students tend to lack presentation skills, teamwork skills, and overall interpersonal (gets along well with others) skills.
Employers also note that new grads tend to lack a good work ethic. Some say students have trouble with time management and are unable to multitask in order to meet deadlines. Some new hires do not have realistic expectations for their new positions: they are not loyal to the organization and they â€œhave a high sense of urgency and want to climb the ladder overnight.â€ Other employers say new hires lack professionalism: they lack maturity and knowledge of business etiquette, including how to dress appropriately.
Start Now. Call on Campus Resources for Help.
Itâ€™s a buyerâ€™s market, meaning, employers have a minimum number of positions to fill, so theyâ€™re going to be rather picky about the credentials of the new graduates they hire.
Hereâ€™s failsafe advice: Start today. Stop in at your college/university career center. Trained, professional staff members are available to guide you through the job-search process and teach you how to take the various steps with success.
These experts can critique your resume; help you put together an award-winning cover letter; practice interviewing with you; teach you the etiquette necessary to make it through a luncheon interview; show you how to dress professionally for face-to-face conversations with employers; and give you ideas for how to demonstrate those much needed qualities and skills employers look for.
Plus, these career counselors know the employersâ€”they work with them on a regular basisâ€”and can put you in touch with the organizations looking for new hires. (Note: A recent online ad for â€œcareer adviceâ€ put the cost at more than $800. Students will find these services are free or very low cost on campus.)
Donâ€™t be fooled. A career counselor wonâ€™t find you a job or â€œplaceâ€ you in a position. Theyâ€™re on campus to teach you something more important: the knowledge to successfully find a job todayâ€”and in the future when youâ€™re looking for your second, third, or 10th position!
Beginning your search early is smart. According to an early 2008 survey, of those graduates who began their job searches before March 1, more than half had secured a post-graduate job by April 30. With the tight job market, it may pay to be an early bird!
Get experienceâ€”it pays!
Work experience adds considerable value to your resume. Ninety-five percent of employers prefer to hire new graduates who have some work experience.
When employers want to hire someone for a full-time position, many look first to their own intern pools. But besides a potential job offer, internships pay in other ways, including in actual compensation.
Among employers who pay their interns, the average hourly wage at the bachelorâ€™s degree level is $15.99 to $17.79. This amount could be higher or lower depending on the employer, your degree, and the location of the internship.