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What employers look for in graduate candidates

For graduate students, one of the most frustrating things about preparing for an interview is knowing what attributes and skills employers are looking for. The competition is quite high for graduate jobs so it is important for candidates to stand out from others. Most employers today look for the below mentioned attributes in graduate students to ensure they’ll be a good fit for their organization:


All employers look for good academic qualifications. They check the level of education achieved and grades to ensure that your qualifications will be suitable for the role you apply for. Graduate students do score extra points with employers in comparison to candidates that do not have a graduate degree.

Extra-curricular experience

It is important for students to ensure that their CV lists their extracurricular activities and work placements. Employers appreciate well-rounded candidates. Showing that you are proactive and that you participate in social groups, volunteering activities and student unions will set you apart from others.

Attention to detail

Take the time to present yourself well to the interviewer to make the right impression. A resume and cover letter with grammatical errors or wrinkled clothing will give an impression that you are indifferent and this can turn-off most employers. Double check all your documents, dress smart and research well before you go for the interview. The job application you send in should also be targeted for the role you apply for. This will show employers that you’ve done a lot of research and taken the time to learn more about what the job entails.

Soft skills

Qualities like team work, communications, problem solving and self-motivation will show that you have skills that will help you go a long way. Employers appreciate candidates that demonstrate the core values that all employers look for in an ideal candidate. Learn more about the work ethics and corporate culture of the company so you can show the employer that you will be a good fit for the organization.


Employers love candidates that show enthusiasm for the opportunity presented to them. Your interview will be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate this enthusiasm. Provide real life examples and evidence that back up your skills and strengths. Extra qualifications, volunteering and internships that show your work in the industry are great examples. Ask questions about the organization and the role you’re applying for to show that you are truly interested in working for them.

International Experience

Employers also value graduate students with some international experience. If you’ve studied or worked abroad, include it in your resume. Your cover letter should mention the lessons and insights you gained from your international experience. If you’ve learned a second language during your international experience, it would provide you an edge over others. However, it is important that you talk to potential employers about how this experience will help you fulfill the duties of the role you’re applying for. Employers like candidates that can show them how well they fit the role in question.

Craft an Effective Resume

Applying for jobs and not getting the expected response? Follow these simple tips to write an effective resume, which will definitely win you an interview call:

Remember the Basics

Write your name, contact, and email address right at the top before you start writing anything else. Write it down in a bold and larger font than the rest of the information. You don’t want an employer having to search for your number.

Make It Interesting

Don’t make the resume a parchment to land you a job. Most people make this mistake which makes their resume lengthy and boring. Keep your objective of writing the resume to land an interview, which will in turn land you the job. Make it as interesting and engaging as you can. Remember that you are selling your skills and marketing yourself on how you fit perfectly for the job.

List your Achievements

People like to see results. Don’t just list down your qualities. Instead, back them with relevant real life achievements. This will validate your claim of the strengths and qualities you say you possess.

Include Keywords

Figure out the keywords related to the job you are applying for. Most companies maintain a database to search resumes from. If your resume won’t have those keywords, you are missing out on interview opportunities. Find out the keywords and include them in your resume. You can get a hint of what employers are looking for by thoroughly reading their job adds.

Be Clear and Specific

Use attention grabbing titles. Employers usually take 5-25 seconds to pass a judgment on any resume. So try to attract their attention within this time frame. Use bullet points to explain, no employer has the time to read long paragraphs. Convey your objectives, educational background, and experiences in short clear sentences.

Don’t Make a Standard Resume

Don’t make the mistake of making a standard resume and sending it out to all employers and in job openings. Edit and tailor it for the specific job or industry you are sending it out to.

Update Your Resume Regularly

Update your resume after every accomplishment, experience, training program, and academic qualification that you receive along the way. This will ensure that you do not end up sending an obsolete resume to any employer.

Make it Unique

Avoid using any templates which are available on hundreds of sites on the internet. Put in your own effort to create your resume. You don’t want to look similar to many others who may have used the same template. Make it stand apart from the stack.

Keep it Simple and Short

Only list the most relating experiences and qualities that apply to the job. Avoid making your resume too long. It should not be more than 1 or 2 pages mentioning the most relevant and related skills.

Don’t Overdo It

Just write down what you can back up with claim. Don’t exaggerate, and avoid writing material that is not relevant to the job. If you are a fresh graduate, list your internship experience specifying skills you learned and how they apply. If you do not have internship experience, list down courses and skills you acquired and possess during your study period. Skills such as communication, leadership and teamwork count a lot. Don’t just list them but briefly specify a situation where they applied.

Review and Proof-read

Always re-read your resume and read it again before sending it out. If possible, get feedback from friends and family members to improve it. There might be some typos or information that you may have missed. Format it properly, and remember that any errors or typos can cost you the opportunity.