What Employers Desire in Fresh Graduates | #iPunchPost #GraduateEmployability

A few months ago, my iPunch article entitled ‘Fresh graduates: Unemployed or unemployable?’ was published and I received some emails and shout-out on it. Today’s article is a follow-up to it.

Every organisation has a fundamental unique purpose it aims to achieve, which sets it apart from other competitors. For a successful actualisation of this unique purpose, organisations need humans and not machines; that is why every job vacancy you see either online or offline is a cry for help by an employer.

The survival of any enterprise is hinged on the quality of its people. Any job seeker (fresh graduate inclusive) that hopes to secure a job must develop capacity to see from the employers’ perspective.

Many job seekers are clueless about what employers require of them if they must be considered for a particular job. Some others feel that employers’ expectations from fresh graduates are too high and unrealistic.

Let’s briefly consider a few of such expectations by employers and how to meet them.


#1 – Employers’ Desire Fresh Graduates that would add VALUE:

Every employer is always willing to hire an employee with the hope that such an employee would add ‘value’ to the organization. The interpretations of ‘employee value’ by employers differ from time to time and can often be quantified as either work experience or educational qualification.

In the real sense of it, the true value of an employee cannot be ascertained accurately. This is because the true worth of an individual in the talent marketplace is not static but changing as an individual’s career unfolds. A few factors that affect it include intellectual factors, demographic factors (such as age, population, labour/job demand etc.) and economic factors.

It must be noted that in the talent marketplace, your value to a potential employer changes at every stage of your career and in the different positions you occupy per time. For you to succeed in your career journey, you need to understand what determines value in the job marketplace and how you can influence it.

#2 – Employers’ Desire Fresh Graduates that would be a GOOD FIT in terms of skills set:

A larger percentage of fresh graduates lack the basic composite skills and personal attributes that give them the capacity to function adequately in the world of work. Possessing the requisite skills needed to function in the workplace is a demonstration of your market readiness to potential employers. When examining whether or not you are a good fit for their organization, employers look at such critical attributes/traits which include but not limited to the following:

Professionalism – Employers are looking for job seekers that understand the level of professionalism expected of them in the corporate world.

Positive Attitude: Do you possess abundance of enthusiasm and a ‘can do’ attitude? Are you accountable and can take initiative with the business’ best objective? Then, employers are in dire need of you.

Self-management: Employers are looking out for responsible job seekers that are willing to take on tasks any time. They would prefer to hire self-starters who are assertive, resilient, balanced, reliable and able to juggle tasks without panic.

Analytical Thinking: This is the ability to analyze facts and situations, as well as the creative thinking necessary to work through problems and develop solutions in a collaborative manner. Creative problem solving and applying imagination is in high demand by most employers.

Technologically Savvy: In today’s 21st century job market, it would be almost impossible to believe that job seekers would exist without having computer proficiency and hope to secure employment. Given the rapid pace at which technology is advancing, a smart job seeker is expected to evolve along with changing technological trends, if not such a candidate’s job search may be dead on arrival!

#3 – Employers’ Desire Fresh Graduates that would be able to CONNECT theoretical knowledge with business realities:

Life on campus and life in the corporate world are fundamentally different. The knowledge fresh graduates acquired on campus will be critical to their success in the corporate world but the process of succeeding in school is quite different from the process of succeeding at work. There is a business side to the way the corporate world operates. It is all about value creation and return on investment.

Employers are always delighted to hire fresh graduates that are able to connect the dots of their course of study and business realities. You must realize that every organization has a unique personality, which is its culture. Make sure you are well aware of this culture before applying to organizations for a job. Your chances of success are higher if you do because employers want employees who flow with their culture and enthusiastically embrace it.

In closing, Fresh graduates need to be organization savvy. Being organization savvy simply means learning how an organization really functions. Employers are excited when they encounter fresh graduates that understand how organizations work and operate.

Every organization is set-up to make profit and would employ any applicant that is focused on helping them make more profit. So I ask you, are you the one?

N:B:- This article first appeared in the iPunch column of The Punch Newspaper which was published on Friday, February 20, 2015 both online and in print.


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