What Employers Value
"Will I ever find a job?"
This question is on the minds of most college seniors. In addition to good grades, internships and co-curricular involvement, employers seek broad-based skills and personal attributes.
When writing cover letters and being interviewed, students should emphasize competencies in:
Idea generators, problem solvers and optimists who motivate others to do their best work. Leaders are integral to any organization. They have foresight, impeccable organizational and teamwork skills, and a drive to excel.
Strong verbal, written and computer literacy skills can set job candidates apart from competitors. Beyond articulation, poise and manners, good communicators are adept listeners, quick thinkers and competent presenters. Today's advent into social media presents opportunities for new graduates to make a mark. Their familiarity with its technical and social use can make them an asset for organizations venturing into that area.
Individuals who are committed to an organization and its mission make decisions with objectivity and intelligence, act cooperatively and without pretense, and are well respected among peers. They impress supervisors with their ability to motivate and empower others.
- Interpersonal proficiency
Confidence, composure and assertiveness are among the most valued interpersonal skills sought by employers. These traits combined with an ability to manage conflict, appreciate and respect diversity, and have a sense of humor are well respected and in demand.
- Personal accountability
Honesty, loyalty, reliability, open-mindedness, diligence and self-motivation rank high. They are the foundation of a person's reputation.
- Passion for success
Demonstrated drive and passion reflected through words and actions attract attention and leave a favorable impression.
- Left- and right-brained aptitude
Out-of-the-box thinkers who can bridge creativity with practicality are prized for their decision-making and problem-solving capabilities. They can readily assess situations, seek multiple perspectives, identify opportunities, and follow through to produce results.
Managing multiple assignments and tasks, setting priorities and adapting to changing conditions and work assignments are essential work skills.
Maintaining a forward-thinking outlook is key to today's changing market. Persons who are open to change and willing to learn new skills boost their employment rating.
- Liberal Arts Valued by Employers
Employers seek a broad range of skills plus in-depth knowledge of a specific area. They value a student's ability to apply knowledge to the real world and conduct research.
Source: Association of American Colleges and Universities 2010 national survey by Hart Research Associates.