The Most Sought-After Graduate Skills Employers Look For

If you’re nearing the end of your degree and getting closer to graduating, you’re more than likely thinking about what job you’re wanting to go into. 

Whilst your time at university will equip you with important experience and transferable skills that you will take through into the working world, there are also certain skill sets that employers look for when recruiting for entry level positions. 

If you’re getting closer to the start of your career journey, you can get ahead of the game with our guide on the most sought-after graduate skills!

graduate skills

Most Sought-After Graduate Skills 

There’s no denying that academic achievements are important when applying for jobs, and whilst there are necessary qualifications needed for many different job roles, they’re not the only crucial factor. 

There are common key skills that employers will be looking for when recruiting for graduate jobs, and it’s vital that you showcase these skills in your CV, within cover letters and during interviews if you want to obtain a job once you finish university. 

Whilst the specific skills and experience you’ll require will depend on the type of job role you’re applying for and the industry, there are some core graduate skills that all employers look out for. 

Without scaring you, research suggests that 80% of employers believe that current graduates don’t arrive fully equipped with the skills they require to be work-ready upon graduating university. 

So, to help you get a leg up in your career once you finish university, we’ve listed the most sought-after graduate skills below so you can stand out from other candidates! 


1. Good Communication 

Within any workplace, the ability to communicate well through written communication, verbal communication, typed communication and even body language is important for any professional, no matter the industry or the specific job role. 

When applying for graduate jobs, your interview is the perfect opportunity to showcase the communication skills that you possess, so make sure to be confident, actively listen to the interviewer and ask questions. 

There are a few examples you can showcase your ability to communicate well, such as through completing presentations at university, completing written assignments or taking part in public speaking to name a few.

With the rise of remote working within the last few years, it’s also important to be able to communicate effectively through digital channels such as email, instant messaging, and video software’s. 

If you have experience learning online during the pandemic, then you may already possess these strong communication skills! 


2. Time Management 

Time management is another sought-after skill for graduates, as employers want someone who is able to work efficiently and can complete tasks in a timely manner. 

Whilst it can be hard to showcase your time management skills in an interview, you can give examples of when you had to complete assignments for a deadline, or had to juggle many different tasks as well as studying. 

If you’re someone who’s struggled with managing your workload at university and have got into the habit of leaving deadlines until the last minute, this is something you need to ditch if you want to be successful in any graduate job!


3. Teamwork 

For a successful transition into pretty much any workplace, teamwork skills are crucial as you will need to build and maintain collaborative relationships to work efficiently. 

Employers strive for graduates with teamwork skills as you will need to work cooperatively with others to meet company goals, which means taking on other people’s ideas, appreciating diverse viewpoints, as well as supporting other members of the team. 

You can describe your team working abilities by detailing how you were able to work well within a group to complete projects whilst at university and were able to make the most of everyone’s contributions. 

Having good people skills is not only important to help you land a job, but it’s also important for building positive relationships with your colleagues, which will make your work life more enjoyable! 


4. Problem-solving 

When it comes to important graduate skills, problem solving is up there with one of the most sought-after that employers want. 

No matter the type of job or the industry you’ll be working in, there will always be problems that crop up from time to time in the workplace which you will need to solve. 

Whilst you’re not going to be expected to solve huge company problems from the get go, employers will want to hire someone who can think for themselves and decide upon the best course of action for problems that may arise.

If you’re successful in your job application and invited for an interview, a hiring manager may ask you to state a time where you’ve showcased good problem-solving skills. 

Being able to approach problems from different angles and think creatively will make you an asset to any organisation!


5. Digital Literacy & Technology Skills 

In today’s digitally-driven world, employers are increasingly prioritising those with strong digital literacy and technology skills. 

Employers across various industries seek graduates who are comfortable navigating various software and online platforms, can properly communicate in an online environment, manage their ideas in an online environment, and can also stay up to date with existing technologies. 

Maintaining an online presence is also increasingly important for graduates in today’s digital age, so make sure to use online platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to create profiles and network with others. 

Depending on the sector you want to go into, you could even create your own career focused social media page.


6. Leadership and Initiative

If you’re a graduate trying to get a leg up in your career, another important skill that employers look for is leadership skills. 

Even if you’re not applying for a management position right away, demonstrating leadership potential is highly desirable to employers in any sector as this shows you can take charge, inspire others, and drive projects forward. 

You can develop your leadership skills through extracurricular activities such as joining societies and clubs at university, taking part in internships, leading group projects, or even volunteering can significantly enhance your employability.


7. Emotional Intelligence 

As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, employers are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence in the workplace. 

There are many reasons why emotional intelligence is a valuable skill, firstly it can help you understand and manage your own emotions effectively, so you can make better decisions, set realistic goals, and handle stress more effectively.

Secondly, this skill is crucial in building meaningful relationships and collaborating with colleagues due to the fact it enables you to communicate more effectively, resolve conflicts, and work well in diverse teams.

By understanding and managing your own emotions effectively as well as empathising with and relating to others, you will be able to foster healthy work environments and productive relationships!


8. Creativity 

Whilst creativity is traditionally associated with fields such as art, design and advertising, it’s a skill which is highly valuable across all sectors. 

Creativity is crucial for university graduates for a variety of reasons, one being the fact that those who can think creatively often bring a diverse range of perspectives, ideas, and approaches to the table which creates more productive work environments. 

Another reason this skill is so important is because creative individuals can quickly adjust to new situations and find creative ways to embrace change in this rapidly changing and competitive job market. 

There we have it, we’ve explored the most sought-after graduate skills that employers prioritise when making hiring decisions. 

As a graduate, if you develop and showcase a broader skill set that goes beyond subject-specific knowledge it will enhance your employability within the job market.

The team here at Essential wish you the best with embarking on the road towards the job you really want!  

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