For many graduates, finding a job after university can be a challenge. However, many employers are also struggling to fill their graduate roles. With plenty of graduates and plenty of graduate jobs available, how is it such a difficult process for both parties?
With over 300,000 graduates coming out of universities each year, you’d think employers would have no problem filling their graduate vacancies. The biggest problem is that we are suffering from a skills gap.
While employers don’t expect graduates to be work-ready on day one of the job, they do hire graduates based on potential. Depending on the employer, certain training will be offered, however, they want to see evidence of core skills or knowledge that graduates should already have.
With more than 80% of employers not requiring graduates to have a specific degree, how can graduates ensure that they are employable?
Graduate employers will have different requirements, so it’s down to graduates to be aware of exactly what each employer is asking for.
Commercial awareness is key in many cases and it can be demonstrated by showing that you have an understanding of what drives your potential employer’s organisation. If you don’t understand this and are not motivated yourself by what the core of the business is, the company isn’t going to invest in you.
Teamwork is also an important skill for the majority of employers. Participating in a piece of group work at university isn’t going to set you apart from other graduates. Employers want to hear about your ability to deal with different people and to manage conflict. It’s better to think about examples outside of your academic work such as within sports teams or societies, or work experience you have undertaken.
Self-awareness is another skill employers ask for. Can you recognise and learn from your mistakes to improve yourself? Will you be able to do this throughout your professional life? Be aware of both your strengths and weaknesses before any interview as you are likely to be asked about them.
Many employers report of seeing graduate candidates who simply don’t demonstrate a meaningful interest in the work they are applying to do. All employers are going to want to see this along with people skills, resilience, self-awareness and practical intelligence.
Employers really value experience and many value experience over your education results. The good news is there are plenty of environments in which you can gain the skills employers look for. Work experience, volunteering, an internship and part-time jobs are all valuable if you can use them to articulate your abilities during the graduate job application process.
Every graduate will be able to talk about their academic achievements and that piece of group work they did at university, but your work experience is what makes you unique. Ensure that you can relate the experience that you have to the skills your potential employer is looking for.
Employers want to hire graduates who will add value to their organisation, show potential and be worth investing in. If you’re lacking any of the skills or knowledge they are looking for, then be proactive about bolstering your skill set and making them see that you’ve got what it takes to be successful.
If you’re looking for a graduate job within a commercial environment be sure to check out our current opportunities. We also recommend uploading your CV to JobsGraduate, where it will be visible to thousands of recruiters and employers.