Career Advice for New College Graduates -- What Employers Really Want


Back to Blog

Career Advice for New College Graduates -- What Employers Really Want

Categories: Professional Development

If it's nearly May, college graduation is right around the corner.

Let me be the first to congratulate you, new graduates-to-be!

You’ve worked hard, done your best, learned an enormous amount, and are eager to get out there and make it in the business world. We welcome you in advance -- your skills, your individual gifts, your enthusiasm, your tech-savviness, your open-mindedness, and your valuable contributions to your chosen fields.

Yes, the job market is still tight. There are some scary statistics floating around. According to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, greater numbers of newly minted college graduates are more likely to work in jobs that don’t require a degree, pay little, and are part-time than ever before in the past.

Yes, there is also still a lot of competition for plum positions, and probably always will be.

So, how can you get the competitive advantage and land the jobs you’ve eagerly trained for? How can you ensure that you’ll be the one who forges ahead with a brilliant, fulfilling, and lucrative career?

I want you to consider the possibility that with all of your courses, all of your homework and papers, all of your studying and test-taking, you might still be missing some valuable work-life skills -- skills that employers see as vitally important ... skills that will make the difference between a good job or unemployment.

There’s been a lot in the news and all over the Internet about the difficulties that Millennials still face in the job market, and the "softer" skills they are lacking. Employers complain they can't find new hires with good communication skills, good leadership skills, the ability to think outside the box, the ability to initiate. They complain that new graduates are tech-savvy but not people savvy.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities offers Top Ten Things Employers Look for in New College Graduates:

  1. The ability to work well in teams -- especially with people different from yourself
  2. An understanding of science and technology and how these subjects are used in real-world settings
  3. The ability to write and speak well
  4. The ability to think clearly about complex problems
  5. The ability to analyze a problem to develop workable solutions
  6. An understanding of global context in which work is now done
  7. The ability to be creative and innovative in solving problems
  8. The ability to apply knowledge and skills in new settings
  9. The ability to understand numbers and statistics
  10. A strong sense of ethics and integrity

Here’s my suggestion. If you know you need help in any of these areas, why not brush up on those skills yourself, to give yourself that vital competitive advantage?

Start your post-college life off right by being proactive, learning the needed skills, making the contacts and relationships you need to start and further your career.

Don’t wait around for a great career to “happen” because, chances are, it won’t. But you can make it happen.

By the way, if you are looking for a fantastic college graduation present to help that grad (or new hire) brush up on business and leadership skills, etiquette skills, presentation skills, and much, much more, we’re excited to announce our new, 10 "mini" book series, "Your Competitive Advantage."

Back to Blog