Skills Employers Look for in College Graduates

Skills Employers Look for in College Graduates

The day after graduation is an exciting one, but also a terrifying one. After you graduate from college, where will you go? What will you do? It's a tough world out there for graduates, and it's especially difficult for those who have limited job experience. Before you start hunting for a job, learn which skills you should put on your resume.

Problem Solving

Over 80% of employers want to see that college graduates have the ability to solve problems. During an interview, a hiring manager might ask you specific questions designed to find out how well you can solve problems. You should be ready to showcase your critical thinking skills and give an example of how you solved an unexpected problem.

As a graduate, you might not have job experience in your desired industry. If this is the case, you have other ways of showing this skill. You can talk about a time you helped a classmate with a project, or you helped your supervisor figure out a new process while you were volunteering. If your anecdote explains a problem and details how you solved it, you can demonstrate your problem-solving skills.

Analytical Skills

In addition to wanting you to be a problem-solver, your employer probably wants you to have analytical skills. According to one survey, over 75% of hiring managers hope to hire entry-level employees with analytical skills. What exactly are analytical skills? People who can collect information and then use the data to make a decision have analytical skills.

Although anyone can have analytical skills, it might take some time to improve your own skills. Consider your industry and think about what data you may encounter. Then, find a free course or a book that can help you collect and analyze the data.


Everyone wants to hire a team player. In fact, almost every single job or career requires you to work with others. Even if you do most of your work alone, you have other people depending on you. A hiring manager wants to be certain you can work with others and you won't cause conflict within the team.

Here are a few examples of teamwork skills:

Delegating tasks

Taking direction from peers

Valuing the opinions of others

Being dependable

Working well with a variety of personalities

Written Communication

As a college student, you probably spent more time than you would like writing papers. And while you may have hated that part of your education, it can help you get a job. Today, hiring managers look for employees who have excellent writing and communication skills.

The first opportunity for you to highlight your writing is your resume. First, your resume should be perfect. Check it for grammatical errors and write it in a way that's concise and clear. Secondly, make sure you have experience and skills on your resume that display your writing abilities. You might have worked for the college newspaper or have volunteered for a large project.

Taking Initiative

When you start a new job, you have a lot to learn. But this doesn't mean that your employer wants you to sit around and wait for direction. For most employers, it's a priority to hire employees who take the initiative.

You can expect everyone to go ibto an interview proclaiming that they take the initiative. If you really want to make an impression, you need to give an example of how you once took the initiative. You can even include the example on your resume. Talk about a time you took matters into your own hands to improve a situation. Be specific, and use numbers if possible.

Work Ethic

This is another skill that everyone claims to have. So, once again, it's up to you to show a hiring manager how hard you work. Instead of telling an interviewer that you're a hard worker, discuss a time when you went above and beyond to accomplish a goal.

Most importantly, you don't need any work experience to show that you can work hard. You might refer to a school or personal project. Additionally, showing your enthusiasm for the job is a great way to show that you'll be dedicated.

Tech Skills

If you think technological skills are only for people in the tech industry, you're wrong. All industries require some technological expertise. Whether you can code, do graphic design, or build websites, you can use your skills to help an employer.

Include any and all tech skills on your resume. If you haven't already taken the time to fine-tune your resume, do so. Add Google Docs, PowerPoint, and any other relevant skills to your resume.


Can you adapt to challenges? If so, you've got one highly-sought skill. There are no guarantees that your job will always remain the same, or that you won't encounter any challenges. If you're flexible, you can handle anything that comes your way.

When you interview for a position, make it clear that you don't mind change. An employer wants to know that you welcome change and can be flexible enough to grow with the company.

What Skills Do You Have?

How many of the skills above do you have? If you have one or more of those skills, you should include them on your resume. The best way to get an employer to hire you is to show them that you check off their list of skills.

Before you send in your resume, take a minute to think about your skills. Write down a list of skills and come up with one example of how you used those skills to your advantage. Then, cross off any skills that seem irrelevant to the job description. Keep in mind that many skills are transferable across industries. Add those skills to your resume.

In addition to improving your resume, you should also prepare for interviews. Do a mock interview and try to answer questions in ways that highlight your skills from above. Your efforts could get you the perfect job.

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