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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.