(Newswire.net -- May 19, 2016) -- Recent employment news is encouraging for new college graduates. Even with fears of a looming recession, the labor market looks strong, sustaining last year’s steady growth. But although job openings remain high, the actual number of hires is less and there are many underemployed and unemployed among graduates of a college degree.
One reason for this disparity is that employers are getting choosy about the competencies of the applicants they will eventually pick. A recent study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) shows that 9 out of 10 employers think that new grads are not capable of applying the critical thinking and communication skills learned in school to the real-world environment. The numerous job vacancies up for the taking are wasted opportunities for fresh graduates who are anxious about paying off their student loans and beginning a career in their chosen field.
An important issue that incoming college students need to know to improve their chances of landing a good job upon completing their course is that companies are more inclined to accept graduates who have had internships while still in school. A Georgetown University research found that 63 percent of paid working-while-learning college graduates got job offers compared to 35 percent who had no internship experience. The students with paid internship also had an average starting pay that was 28 percent higher than their counterparts who had no internship during their student years.
Other experiences that employers look for when hiring fresh college graduates are participation in outside-the-classroom activity and leadership roles in school or external organizations because these people are more likely to have developed the skills valuable in the workforce.
A National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook study that asked employers what they want from new college graduates reveals that leadership, ability to work in a team, written communication skills, problem-solving skills and verbal communication skills were the top five attributes the employers listed. A student’s major and GPA score expectedly were given a lot of weight, too.
A student who has held a leadership position in a student organization or was a team leader in a school group will have better chances of getting hired than a student who drifted through the years in college. And among a few equally qualified applicants, the one possessing leadership qualities will be chosen.
Being a team player is another quality that employers deem important in a prospective employee since companies need their people to get along well and work together in the office and on projects. Hiring professionals often ask behavioral questions that will show a college graduate’s ability to work in a team harmoniously and effectively.
Written communication skills rank high in an employer’s search for new entrants to a company. Wall Street Journal expert panelist in business matters laments that today’s new graduates may be good in making bullet lists but they lack adequate writing skills necessary for business communications. He attributes this millennial deficit to spending more time playing video games and communicating in text messaging mode, leaving little room for traditional reading which enhances writing skills. Graduates should look back to how their college essays got them admitted into university to realize that writing skills are just as important in the workplace.
Problem-solving skills rank high in employers’ criteria for hiring new graduates. A problem in the workplace has two components: a goal to accomplish and an obstacle hindering that goal. Hence, problem-solving involves gathering relevant information and resources, evaluation of the situation, and analytical and creative thinking to find new ideas and implement them to achieve the goal.
Verbal communication skills are assessed by employers through interviews. The elements of good verbal communication skills include being able to talk clearly, calmly and politely. The message should be delivered in a concise and organized manner, in acceptable language. Good verbal communication also means being able to listen to the other person.
Having these qualifications is a big factor in landing that job. But recruiters and employers agree that soft skills are also important to be productive at work. In college, such skills like a strong work ethic, flexibility, adaptability and computer skills are learned as well.