What Employers Want

To gain employment, it is vital that you understand what employers usually look for so that you can demonstrate these requirements in applications, interviews and other recruitment activities.  

No matter what field you are interested in, there are sets of skills that the vast majority of employers look for in candidates. In fact for many graduate roles, these are often even more important than the specific knowledge you have acquired through your course.

Skills and qualities in demand

Some employers may describe these in different ways so check job vacancies and adverts to get familiar with the way that employers in your sector express what they are looking for.  

General skills

These include: literacy, numeracy, computer literacy, problem solving, creativity, business awareness and multi cultural awareness.  

People skills

These include: verbal and written communication, teamwork, networking and leadership.

Self-reliance skills and qualities

Theserinclude: self awareness, self belief, motivation, adaptability, willingness to learn, reliability, initiative, organisation and time management.

Specialist skills

These are skills needed for your particular industry. For example if your want to work within construction design you may need Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) skills or if you want to work within computer programming you may need computer language skills in C++, Java or SQL.  

How do employers know you have these skills?

Many employers assess candidates against a criteria of competencies. There may be a job specification which makes this criteria explicit. If not, you will need to identify the competencies the employer requires through the advert, job description and your research into the company.

To prove that you possess these skills and qualities you need to give specific examples of times when you have demonstrated them. Examples can come from your university course, work experience, voluntary work, hobbies and interests.  

What else may employers look for?

Employers may also require you to possess specific knowledge or experience. Find out more about requirements for specific professions by selecting your occupation of interest on Prospects and going to 'entry requirements'.

It is vital that you build the experience and knowledge required together with your confidence, skills and qualities. Consider attending our workshops which cover topics such as employability skills, confidence and personal branding. Also investigate work experience or voluntary work.