Employers Want What in College Graduate Job Candidates?

You could have the most beautiful resume filled with what you deem amazing experiences, but have you really stopped to evaluate if those experiences mean anything to a potential employer?

Based on national research conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) here are the top six factors (in order of preference) that influence employers when deciding between two equally qualified candidates (qualified meaning they have relevant work experience):

1. Leadership positions
2. Major
3. GPA
4. General involvement in extracurricular activities
5. School attended
6. Volunteer work

Additionally, here are the top five skills/personal traits (in order of preference) that employers are seeking in job candidates:

1. Communication skills
2. Analytical skills
3. Teamwork skills (works well with others)
4. Technical skills
5. Strong work ethic

If you are an underclassman, use this information to help you prioritize how you spend your time at Auburn. You know you’re attending a great school so that’s already taken care of, but are you involved? Are you pursuing a meaningful major? Are you keeping your grades up? (Being in a meaningful major helps keep grades up, and CDS can help you in identifying what that is for you.) IMPACT is a great way to start volunteering. Seriously, every Auburn student has the resources available to be the most competitive job candidate out there. But you have to do it on purpose. You also have to pursue related work experience, whether you volunteer your time or get paid.

If you are an upperclassman, you have to work with what you have. But make sure you brainstorm through ALL of your experiences to figure out how to best communicate the skills listed above as well as the skills sought in a particular job. Check out this tip sheet to help you identify your transferable skills.

Resource: NACE 2010 Job Outlook

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