The top skills employers are looking for in recent grads

Image of a set of dice showcasing top skills

In today’s employment landscape, having the right skills is crucial for graduates. Employers want to hire individuals who possess the necessary skills and abilities to perform the tasks and responsibilities of the job effectively and efficiently.

The right skills demonstrate the graduate’s suitability for the role and indicate their potential for growth and success within the organisation. Having the right skills allows graduates to stand out from the pool of applicants and increases their chances of being shortlisted for interviews.

It also gives them a competitive edge and enables them to negotiate for better compensation packages. In addition, having the right skills allows candidates to adapt to the market’s changing demands.

As technology advances and industries evolve, new skills and capabilities become essential for job success. Therefore, continually developing and updating your skills is critical for long-term career growth and staying relevant in the job marketplace.

Digital image of people standing out with top skills

So, what are the top skills employers look for in recent graduates?

Skills employers want typically include a mix of technical, soft, and transferable skills from graduates. These skills are crucial for success in the workplace and can vary based on the industry, company, and specific role. Here’s a comprehensive list of skills that are often sought after by employers:


    • Technical Skills: Industry-Specific Knowledge: Understanding industry-specific tools, technologies, and practices relevant to the job.
    • Computer Proficiency: Familiarity with relevant software, programming languages, and computer applications.


Soft Skills

    • Communication: Strong verbal and written communication skills, including active listening and clear articulation of ideas.
    • Teamwork and Collaboration: Ability to work as part of a team, contribute to group goals, and resolve conflicts constructively.
    • Adaptability and Flexibility: Willingness and ability to adapt to change, learn new skills, and handle evolving responsibilities.
    • Problem-Solving Skills: Capacity to analyse issues, identify solutions, and make decisions to resolve challenges effectively.
    • Critical Thinking: Ability to evaluate information, think critically, and make informed judgments or decisions.
    • Time Management and Organisation: Skills to prioritize tasks, manage time efficiently, and stay organized to meet deadlines and achieve goals.
    • Leadership Skills: Aptitude to lead, motivate, and inspire others, even without formal authority.
    • Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing one’s emotions, as well as being empathetic and understanding of others’ emotions.
    • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution: Ability to negotiate effectively and resolve conflicts to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

Transferable Skills

    • Customer Service: Understanding and meeting customer needs, ensuring a positive experience, and handling complaints or inquiries.
    • Sales and Marketing: Understanding marketing principles, sales strategies, and customer engagement techniques.
    • Project Management: Planning, organizing, and managing projects to achieve specific objectives within defined timelines and budgets.
    • Research and Analysis: Conducting research, collecting and analyzing data, and deriving meaningful insights to inform decision-making.
    • Presentation Skills: Effectively presenting ideas, data, or solutions clearly and engagingly to diverse audiences.
    • Networking: Build and maintain an effective career-growth network. This includes professional relationships, networking, and leveraging connections for career growth.


    • Ethics and Integrity: Demonstrating honesty and integrity in professional interactions and decisions.
    • Reliability and Accountability: Being dependable, following through on commitments, and taking responsibility for actions and outcomes.


Learning and Development

Demonstrating a commitment to constant learning and development by seeking new knowledge and skills.


Skills that employers look for include a well-rounded combination of those above, depending on the specific requirements of the job and the company culture. Employers want to see graduates continuously develop and enhance these skills throughout their careers to stay competitive.


Employer looking at a candidate resume


Are soft skills the most important for grads?


These types of skills are critically important and often considered foundational for success in the workplace. They complement and enhance technical or hard skills, usually transferable across various roles and industries. While these skills are critical, it’s essential to recognise that a balance of skills is ideal for career success. The right blend of technical proficiency and strong, soft skills will make you a well-rounded, sought-after professional in today’s competitive market. More and more hiring managers want their new hires to possess the required hard skills and demonstrate exceptional skills such as problem-solving, communication, and teamwork that align with their organisational values, culture, and work environment.


How do grads show employers that they have these skills and qualities?


Effectively showcasing your skills and qualities to potential employers involves a combination of strategies, from tailoring your resume and cover letter to demonstrating your abilities during the application and job interview process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help students who want to stand out from the crowd, showcase their skills and qualities to employers, and understand what hiring managers look for when hiring:


Create a Strong Resume

    • Tailor your skills on your resume for each job application to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements that match the job requirements.
    • Quantify your accomplishments wherever possible to demonstrate your impact in previous roles.
    • Clearly showcase your technical, soft, and transferable skills in the skills section and throughout the experience section.


Write an Impactful Cover Letter

    • Customise your cover letter for each application to align with the company’s values, mission, and the specific role you’re applying for.
    • Use the cover letter to elaborate on your experiences and how they directly relate to the job requirements and the company’s needs.
    • Highlight key achievements and experiences that demonstrate your skills and abilities relevant to the position.


Utilise LinkedIn and Online Profiles

    • Optimise your LinkedIn profile to reflect your skills, experiences, and accomplishments: showcase endorsements, recommendations, and relevant projects.
    • Connect with professionals in your industry and participate in discussions or groups to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.

Create a Portfolio or Personal Website

    • Develop a portfolio or personal website to showcase your work, projects, and achievements. Include descriptions of how your skills contributed to successful outcomes.
    • Provide links to articles you’ve written, presentations you’ve given, or any other work that demonstrates your expertise.

Network Effectively

    • Update your digital footprint – anything someone else can find out about you online.
    • Attend industry events, career fairs, and networking opportunities to meet professionals and hiring managers.
    • Clearly communicate your skills, experiences, and career goals during networking interactions, and inquire about potential opportunities or advice.


Prepare for Interviews

    • Practice common interview questions and have prepared responses that highlight your skills and experiences.
    • Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to structure your answers, providing specific examples of how you’ve utilised your skills in the past.
    • Showcase your soft skills by sharing anecdotes demonstrating teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, and adaptability.


Request Recommendations

Request recommendations from colleagues, supervisors, or mentors who can attest to your skills and work ethic. These recommendations can be on LinkedIn or provided upon request during application.


Participate in Relevant Volunteer Work or Internships

Engage in volunteer work or internships related to your field to gain hands-on experience and showcase your dedication and passion for the industry.


Follow Up After Interviews

Send thank-you emails after interviews, reiterating your interest in the position and briefly summarising how your skills make you an excellent fit for the role.


By incorporating these strategies, you’ll effectively demonstrate your skills and qualities to potential employers, increasing your chances of securing interviews and landing the job. Always remember to be authentic and confident in presenting your abilities and experiences.


Woman looking happy with a new job


The right skills demonstrate your suitability as a grad for the role and indicate your potential for growth and success within the organisation. Having the right skills allows you to stand out from the pool of applicants and increases your chances of being shortlisted for interviews. It can give you a competitive edge and enable you to negotiate for better compensation packages and adapt to the changing demands of the employment market. 


Remember to ensure the skills and bio sections on your Account page are current and showcasing these skills so graduate employers can find you. 

It has never been more critical to develop and update your skills continually. 


As technology advances and industries evolve, new skills are essential for job success, long-term career growth, and staying relevant in the marketplace.


Are you ready to kick-start your exciting career journey? 

Take the first step by setting up your profile now and connect with industry professionals who can help shape your future success. Seize the moment and embark on your path to professional growth!

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