What are graduate employers looking for?

St Georges Hall, Liverpool (venue for Liverpool Recruitment Festival)

Last month I attended the Manchester Graduate Fair and Liverpool Recruitment Festival to learn more about what employers are looking for from graduates and to explore how graduates can make themselves stand out from the crowd in the job market. I spoke with 40 employers, whose responses varied but employers I spoke to generally suggested the following:

· Research the role/company/industry – many employers highlighted this as an area that graduates fail to complete yet it is such a vital and easy thing to do – by looking up a company’s website or LinkedIn page. This is important at all stages – from carrying out research before meeting an employer at a graduate fair to applying for a job or attending an interview.

· Demonstrate your passion for the subject or industry you are applying for – employers want to know that you really want their job, and that you’re not just applying for anything and everything.

· Show your enthusiasm and let your personality shine through – Graduate recruiters meet hundreds of applicants with a similar skills set. Demonstrating that you are really enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a role or company will make you stand out from the crowd.

· Employers want to know about your extra-curricular activities– This could be anything from volunteering to part-time work, being a Student Rep (StAR) or being a member of a sports team. Employers want to know what else you have done and what skills you have gained. A CV with a variety of extra-curricular activities will make a better impression than one with none, it also demonstrates that you are more of a well-rounded candidate with a variety of experiences to draw from.

· Demonstrate that you are willing to work hard from day one and show what you can offer to the company – This requires you to be self-aware and to be able to reflect on the skills you have acquired both through study and through outside activities.

Jo Forsyth

Employer Engagement Assistant


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