In order to be a great job candidate, you have to understand what it is employers are looking for. Lucky for you, a recent study by Gallup-Purdue called “Great Jobs Great Lives” reveals some insight into what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for in an ideal job applicant who has recently graduated college.
You might be surprised to learn that they’re less concerned with your GPA or where you went to school, than how you spent your free time while you were working toward your degree. What companies really want are engaged employees who will feel a passion for their work and contribute to the growth within the company. That’s because engaged employees will put in the extra effort to succeed, whereas others may see the opportunity as a paycheck and just do enough to get by.
Although there’s no definitive way to predict a job seeker’s future engagement level, hiring managers agree that there are a few key indicators. First, that during your student years, you completed internships. And second, that you were involved in campus activities, especially in leadership roles. Having both of these items on your resume will go a long way toward illustrating that you are a go-getter who’s had some practical, real-world knowledge to go along with your acquired book smarts. Completed a degree in four years or less is also a huge plus since so many students take longer, which could indicate a lack of commitment or focus.
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Another potential predictor of engagement is if a job seeker developed a relationship with a mentor at their school. If you worked closely with a professor on any special research projects, that’s a good thing to mention in the job interview.
Take a look at the infographic below from MidAmerica Nazarene University for a closer look at the attributes employers consider when looking for top talent, and consider updating your resume to show that you’re the right person for the job.
About the Author
Dawn Papandrea is a Staten Island, NY-based writer specializing in education, careers, parenting, and personal finance. She has a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications from New York University. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.