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What do employers really want?
Through our course enquiries, we get many people ask about whether a qualification will guarantee they will be able to get a job. This is a difficult question to answer given the diverse differences in skills, abilities and attributes that many graduates may have in conjunction with their qualification.
From an article in The Australian (p29- Education extract, 29 July 2015) “Last week Graduate Careers Australia revealed that the short term job prospects of new bachelor degree graduates were the poorest since the survey began.
Only 68 per cent of graduates seeking full-time work found it within four months of completing their courses. Before the 2008 financial crisis, the figure was more than 80 per cent.”
Given that there is greater competition between university graduates, people who are thinking about studying for the end goal of looking for work need to work harder to develop themselves to stand out above other job candidates.
Employers want people who not only know how to the job, but also people who will be able to do the job most effectively and efficiently as possible. Candidates who are enthusiastic, dynamic, adaptable, willing to learn new skills and have a whole tool-box of skills that they can utilise within their jobs, that go above and beyond having a formal qualification.
Some specific skills that employers look for include great communication skills, team work skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of the industry, having initiative, time management and planning skills, being technically competent, being computer savvy and having practical skills in the job.
As many university degrees are aimed at developing a student’s theoretical knowledge within a particular area, what can people do to improve their other skills in order to improve their career opportunities?
We always recommend that our students look for courses that they can study to provide them with some practical skills, where they will be required to do their own research and can be self-motivated. Get to know the industry, call potential employers- ask what kind of things do they look for in candidates? Network with people in the industry. Research the industry and jobs that you want to get into. If you are having trouble getting work that you are desperate to work in, perhaps you could volunteer for a position- this is a great way of getting practical skills that you just cannot learn in studies.