Over the last few years, many college graduates have struggled to find jobs. To help these and future graduates, we wanted to share the top 10 job skills that hiring managers want in 2013 graduates. This is not scientifically compiled list but it is based on conversations with hundreds of hiring managers, HR managers and recruiters over the last 12 months.
- Work Ethic: Managers want graduates who learn quickly while paying their “dues”. Paying your dues is not just doing mundane everyday work. It also means producing consistent high quality results. People who learn quickly and produce high quality work are promoted quickly in most organizations.
- Internship Experience: Internships provide students with an opportunity to learn what is expected in the workplace. Some managers believe graduates with intern experience integrate into their positions much faster than those who do not have it. This is a great advantage in a tight job market. Here is a good piece of advice to rising freshman in college: “The day you start college is when you start looking for your first internship.”
- Ability to Follow Directions: Believe or not, there are many people who do not know how to (or will not) follow directions. Following directions can quickly win the trust of managers and co workers. Does following directions mean blindly following orders? No, it does not. Part of following directions is questioning to get clarification. Some graduates fear asking questions because they feel it will make them look dumb. A “dumb” question that leads to a good job is better than a half done job any day.
- Knowledge of Accounting, Finance and Budgets: The economic times have made employers highly attracted to grads who understand the basics of accounting and finance. They want grads who can understand balance sheets, budgets and the business decisions that can be made from them.
- Interpersonal Skills: The ability to collaborate with people of different ages, cultures, ethnic backgrounds and levels of an organization is very important in the workplace. Today’s graduates will have to learn that e-mail, social media and texting is no substitute for being able to have a face to face conversation. Further, most companies require people to work in collaborative teams so listening and social manners are important as well.
- Communication Skills: The people who know how to present and defend their ideas on paper and in front of a room move up fast in an organization. As a graduate, you may not believe that you will have to do a presentation or that your reports will be read by upper management but it does happen. Foreign language skills are also extremely attractive to employers especially for those who work internationally.
- Problem Solving Skills : Creative thinkers and problem solvers are highly valued especially in technology and engineering based industries. Hiring managers are looking for grads who can think on their feet and come up with sound strategies to solve problems on the job.
- Knowledge of STEM Subjects: Science, technology, engineering and math concepts are ingrained into the fastest growing and highest paying jobs in the economy. (Apple, Google and many others) It is always a great idea to sharpen your knowledge of computers, statistics and other technical areas beyond the basic requirements.
- A Sense of Adventure: Sometimes a hiring manager may be looking for a new grad to go out to a remote site in the Chilean mountains for 6 weeks to help out on a problem project. Graduates who are not afraid to travel or take on a hard projects gain stronger experience and better opportunities later in their careers.
- Good Eye Contact and Firm Handshake: These two pieces of business etiquette convey confidence, character and sincerity. If you want to go far in your career make improving your business etiquette a priority.
Why These Skills Are Important?
These job skills are important for grads to develop because they can help open the doors to better career opportunities in the future.
- 13 Common Complaints Employers Have About Recent Grads (onlinecollege.org)
- 5 Helpful Job Websites for New Grads (money.usnews.com)
- Freshmen Are New Quarry as Tech Companies Hunt Talent (ere.net)
- Top 17 Key Job Skills Employers Want In 2012 (hintonhumancapital.com)
- 4 Lessons Peyton Manning Can Teach Green & Environmental Job Seekers (hintonhumancapital.com)