What Employers Are Looking for?

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Employers are placing a higher value on soft skills and hands-on experience, says a report by a University.

Employers are prioritizing adaptability, collaboration and entrepreneurial mindset in college graduates while hiring, according to the survey report “Navigating Workplace Turbulence” by a University

The report focuses on “hiring outlook, expectations from recruits, and the role of education in grooming the talent pool.”

“The crucial takeaway from the poll is that employers are placing a higher value on soft skills and hands-on experience,” the report said.

As per the report, 45 percent of respondents prioritize ‘adaptability’ as the most important skill universities should look at to inculcate in their students. They also highlight the need for an entrepreneurial mindset, and teamwork and collaboration to succeed in a changing workforce owing to Covid-19.

Recruiters are looking for more practical experience in candidates as per the report.

51 percent of HR leaders suggested offering more courses in life skills in consultation with industry while 22 percent suggested making industry internships mandatory.

These skills become more important as a majority of recruiters are uncertain about the economy due to the pandemic. Many leaders were concerned that the pandemic will have a long-lasting impact, also leading to a prolonged recession.

“This has a direct bearing on talent acquisition,” the report said. As per the report, 55 percent of respondents are looking to fill only essential positions. Recruitment in IT, Marketing & Sales, and Production/Manufacturing is likely to see an increase in the headcount as per the report.

Increasing focus on soft skills training, education, and the job have emerged as most important for today’s learners. With a cognitive transformation towards lifelong learning ability, we can envision a dynamic workspace that creates opportunities to embrace new technology. For employers and employees alike, this would entail assessing future trends of business, aligning one’s career to the same, and layering the fundamentals of functioning with intelligent technology.

The report is based on a poll taken over July and August 2020. It included 140 responses from HR leaders across large companies, medium enterprises, and start-ups, in metros and mini-metros of Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana, among others.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2020 survey, there are a handful of specific skills employers look for in new grads.

Below you’ll find the top 10 most sought-after attributes and skills to put on a resume that hiring managers want from this year’s graduating class. So if you’re on the hunt for an entry-level job, read on to learn what these skills are and how to master them, and be sure to check out Monster’s grad site for the more great info.

10 skills employers look for in new graduates

1. Problem-solving skills

Nine in 10 employers (91.2%) want to see new college graduates tout excellent problem-solving skills. Many hiring managers use behavioral interview questions—phrases such as “tell me about a time when” or “give me an example of”—to assess a job candidate’s problem-solving ability. Thus, you’ll want to prepare anecdotes that paint you as a solution finder.

You don’t need job experience to provide proof that you’re a problem solver, says Los Angeles-based career coach Nancy Karas. “Think about times where you were proactive, innovative, or highly responsive to a challenge,” like that time you helped solve a customer complaint while working at the campus coffee shop, Karas says. Even better: Show that you took the initiative to identify a problem and then solved it.

2. Ability to work in a team

It goes without saying that nobody likes the employee who wants to hog the spotlight. But unlike your career as a student, where you’re really the only one who can make or break your success, the workplace depends on teams of people to get the job done. No surprise, then, that 86.3% of hiring managers want to know you can collaborate well with lots of different personalities.

You’ll need to learn how to delegate, take direction, value differences of opinion, and play to your and your co-workers’ strengths and weaknesses. “Being a team player is all about being reliable and trustworthy,” says career coach Denise Dudley, author of Work it! Get in, Get Noticed, Get Promoted.

3. Strong work ethic

You need to be committed to your job responsibilities and understand that performing your role is more than just a means to a paycheck—after all, a company stands for something beyond business and so should you. That’s why 80.4% of hiring managers want to see new hires demonstrate a strong work ethic. Show up on time, be engaged in your work, and act with integrity.

4. Analytical skills

One in eight hiring managers (79.4%) want to hire entry-level workers who possess analytical skills, meaning they’re searching for critical thinkers—people who know how to gather and evaluate information and then make good decisions based on that intel.

5. Written communication skills

Good communication is always going to be among the top skills employers look for. The survey found that 77.5% of managers feel writing proficiency is the most desirable hard skill among recent college graduates. Therefore, submitting a well-crafted cover letter is crucial.

You’ll want to highlight experiences on your resume that demonstrate your writing skills. If you volunteered to be the scribe for a group project in college, for example, include that on your resume, advises Dawn Bugni, a professional resume writer in Atkinson, North Carolina. And depending on the nature of the industry—marketing, communications, or journalism to name a few—you might also submit writing samples with your application. “A writing portfolio speaks for itself,” Bugni says.

6. Leadership skills

It’s a tall order: 72.5% of hiring managers want potential hires with great leadership skills. Believe it or not, there are ways you can show possible employers that you have leadership potential before you even enter the workforce.

If you held a leadership role in college (e.g., president of the French club), highlight it on your resume. If you emerged as the informal leader on a group project, talk about the experience during the job interview.

Also, get letters of recommendation from former internship managers that speak to your leadership skills. “Glowing references can solidify a job offer,” says Stefanie Wichansky, CEO at Randolph, New Jersey, management consulting and staffing firm Professional Resource Partners.

7. Verbal communication skills

Seven in 10 hiring managers (69.6%) surveyed said good verbal communication skills are a must-have for new grads. Communication skills set the tone for how people perceive you and help you build relationships with co-workers.

Verbal communication prowess is best demonstrated during job interviews. Presenting answers to interview questions clearly goes a long way. You should also ask job interviewers open-ended questions to show that you’re engaged.

8. Initiative

Tied with verbal communication skills, 69.6% of hiring managers reported they want newly minted college graduates who know how to take initiative. This is where the maxim “Show them, don’t just tell them” applies. In the experience section of your resume, cite an example of a time when you deal with a difficult situation directly or when being proactive enabled you to head off a problem.

9. Detail-oriented

According to the survey, 67.6% of managers are looking for new grads that have meticulous attention to detail. As a result, make sure your resume is impeccable, free of typos and grammatical errors, and organized with the use of clear, concise, and effective language. As Monster’s resume expert Kim Isaacs puts it: “You want your resume to be as perfect as humanly possible.”

10. Technical skills

Many industries, not just jobs in the technology sector, call for professionals with technical abilities. Case in point: 65.7% of hiring managers said new grads should possess technical skills. Describe how you’ve applied your technical skills in the past. For instance, if your resume lists that you have Java experience, it should also describe how utilized the program on a particular project in college.

This article is a collection of thoughts coming from experts, HR Managers, and Experienced Educational Writers. As a part of Roorkee College of Engineering, We suggest that all students should work on the above-specified skills during this pandemic and prepare themselves for the industry.


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