The dynamic landscape of the jobs market is ever changing and can be an extremely competitive environment, depending upon the current industry trends and is one where employers do have certain expectations with regard to recent graduates. Therefore, having a clearer understanding of these expectations and then carefully aligning your skills, strengths and qualities, is essential for creating a successful transition from a purely academic life to the life of full time work as a professional - one that is very different from the other!
When hiring, employers will generally look for a blend of technical expertise, motivation and soft skills amongst others. Obviously by holding a degree in a certain subject, this gives you a foundation of knowledge and employers are aware of this. However, some employers will want to employ graduates who can apply theoretical knowledge into practical scenarios - in essence, showing what you have learned and putting it into practice.
To be able to meet this expectation, recent graduates may choose to showcase their strengths, achievements and abilities which can bridge the gap between theory and applying their knowledge. This can be achieved through various methods such as practical projects or highlighting any relevant coursework that included hands-on experience.
Most employers seek to employ individuals who have good communication skills as once you start a job, you will invariably be thrown into the deep end at times and will require to convey ideas in team meetings, liaise with both colleagues and clients, present findings, discuss projects - the list is endless. Although nerve wracking, especially if this is your first job after university, this necessary skill can be enhanced by participating in confidence building group activities and mastering the art of public speaking.
Recent graduates must be adaptable by having the ability to embrace changes and show a constant and keen willingness to learn, as these assets are highly valued by employers. Of course, they understand that you are at the beginning of your academic journey but you must be open to the concept of continuous learning by demonstrating a proactive approach to acquiring new skills and staying fully updated on industry trends.
Teamwork and collaboration are integral to most places of work so recent graduates should be able to showcase their ability to work harmoniously in diverse teams and use collective strengths to achieve common goals. Highlighting instances where collaboration has led to successful outcomes during group projects can have a major impact on proving your ability to be a part of a successful and inclusive team.
Punctuality and a polished appearance are of utmost importance in the workplace but professionalism extends beyond these. Employers also seek recent graduates who display a strong work ethic, can take the initiative when required and exude a positive attitude. Detailing any previous experience where dedication and initiative made a difference can reinforce a graduates commitment towards professionalism.
Recent graduates should aim to meet or exceed employer expectations and this requires a proactive approach. By showcasing a combination of technical proficiency, effective communication, adaptability and teamwork, graduates can convey their professionalism and position themselves to become a valuable asset to an employer. Understanding and utilising these expectations creates a solid foundation on which to embark on a successful and fulfilling career.