There are a number of common themes among hiring managers regarding what skills they seek in recent college graduates. It’s important that as a recent graduate, you understand these skills. Developing a plan of action on how to showcase those critical job skills is essential. As you search for your “first job”, within your newly chosen field, rising above the competition is key.
Written and Verbal Communication Skills
Written communication skills were cited as the number one skill hiring managers are looking for in recent college grad candidates. Recent surveys show over 60% of hiring managers felt this skill was lacking in recent college graduates. Your resume and cover letter are your first impression as a candidate. It’s also the first impression recent college graduates make as a writer.
It’s important that your resume is well written, concise and without any errors. If this is an area you struggle with, it may be worth it to invest in a business writing class and to practice this skill. Presentation skills are also something you will be evaluated on during your interview. Even if you have great ideas, you still have to present them well to get buy in. Dealing with clients and customers require strong presentation skills. Recent college graduates success in most fields is largely dependent on how well you communicate your ideas and contributions.
Recent College Graduates Problem Solving
Problem solving is another area that tops the list as a desirable skill and is one where recent college graduates may struggle to demonstrate their value. Hiring managers want to know you can think on your feet and work through obstacles without a lot of direction. It is important to have some examples prepared on how your have demonstrated this skill. On an interview, you may be asked “Tell me about a time when you overcame a difficult challenge.” Be ready with a thoughtful response.
Internship experience within your chosen field helps you differentiate yourself as a candidate. It also shows you took initiative and you beat out your peers for this opportunity. Hiring managers believe that relevant internship experience means you will learn faster and be able to contribute quickly. Balancing school and work can be a challenge; however it shows discipline, commitment and focus.
You likely participated on team assignments during your undergraduate coursework. Being able to give examples of that is helpful during an interview. Your potential employer wants to know you value and encourage the opinions of others. Being able to work with all different personalities is critical to being successful. Great leaders know how to bring out the best in team members and play to their strengths. They value success as a team rather than hogging the spotlight.
Recent college graduates should keep these skills in mind, when developing your resume and cover letter. You may want to seek out a resume writing expert and career coach to help you highlight these skills. A career coach can also be instrumental in preparing for your job interview if you lack interview experience. It’s a worthwhile investment.