Graduate jobs: what employers want

Wed, 15/08/2012 - 11:50 -- nick

The article from The Telegraph provides some tips on what employers want from new graduates. The emphasis is on the whole person; as more and more graduates come on to the jobs market employers are increasingly looking at extra-curricular activities, students jobs and personal interests and qualities to differentiate between them. But remember, there is no substitute for thoroughly researching each company you apply to.

'From this September, students planning to go to university in autumn 2013 will have access to Key Information Sets (KIS), data issued by employers and employment experts and aimed at prospective students.

To find out what kind of feedback they will be giving, we asked five leading graduate employers what they are looking for from the next crop of employable university students.


“Those who are unsure what job they want to do should opt for a general course such as business or management studies, as it could be suitable for many types of career. Another option is to take a joint degree, such as a language and business, which combines a specialist subject with a general course.”

Jeannine Martin, graduate recruitment manager at travel firm TUI UK & Ireland


“We’re looking for exceptional, rounded, ambitious individuals who can show sustained involvement in activities other than the purely academic, such as work experience, industrial placements and voluntary work in the UK or abroad.”

Becky Wareham, graduate recruitment manager, Waitrose


“Some of our most successful employees have captained a rugby team or been president of the students’ union. One of the biggest frustrations we have is meeting students with the same CVs and answers — as if they have all been prepped in the same way. At interview we try to assess behaviour as much as any work experience to give us a sense of the future a candidate might have with our company.”

Katy Smith, resourcing partner, Endsleigh Insurance Services


“We are after people with a can-do attitude, enthusiasm, interpersonal skills and the drive and ambition to make an impact. Softer skills such as collaboration are also valued, especially as employees often have to work with a variety of people outside their immediate team. For us, it’s less about what you’ve studied and more about why you want to work for us and what you can bring.”

Theresa McHenry, human resources director, Microsoft UK


“We want to employ bright, intelligent students with inquisitive minds. We are totally non-specific in terms of the degree taken. We are also keen to see candidates who have gained work experience in industry and are able to demonstrate a real intent to pursue a career in research, marketing and communications.”

Tricia Moon, director at personal relations and marketing group, Bell Pottinger'

Via The Telegraph