What qualities do employers look for?

Employers are looking for more than just a degree. The skills you develop and the experience you gain while at university count too. So apply for that part-time job, take up volunteering, enlist in the hockey team, join the cultural club, try karete, and start building your skills and make the most out of your time at university.

A report from the Graduate Outlook Survey 2013 involving 460 graduate employers indicated that the top 10 qualities employers look for include:

  1. Interpersonal and communication skills (written and oral)
  2. Passion/Knowledge of industry/Drive/Commitment/Attitude
  3. Critical reasoning and analytical skills/Problem solving/Lateral thinking/Technical skills
  4. Calibre of academic results
  5. Work experience
  6. Cultural alignment /Values fit
  7. Emotional intelligence (incl. self-awareness, strength of character, confidence, motivation)
  8. Teamwork skills
  9. Activities (incl. intra and extra-curricular)
  10. Leadership skills

‘Interpersonal and communication skills’ was ranked by majority of employers as the most important criterion and they have done so for the past four years. Since 2009, the top four key selection criteria have remained unchanged.


Three leading Australian graduate employers list their 'must have' attributes:

Ernst & Young – world leading professional services organisation

  • Leadership skills
  • Integrity
  • Cultural awareness
  • Strong team orientation
  • Drive, vision, determination, passion

Source: http://www.ey.com/AU/en/Careers/Students/Joining-EY/Students---Joining-EY#fragment-3-na

Deloitte – leading private professional services organisation

  • Work, leadership and team experience
  • Extra curricular activities
  • Academic performance
  • Passion, enthusiasm and motivation

Source: http://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/careers/articles/how-to-apply-careers.html

Santos – leading gas producer

  • Results-orientated
  • Demonstrated  initiative
  • Effective communication skills
  • Technical excellence

Source: https://au.gradconnection.com/employers/santos/the-graduate-program/



What sections in the curriculum vitae do employers look at?

  1. Employment history
  2. Academic results
  3. Academic qualifications
  4. Statement detailing career goals/objectives
  5. Details of voluntary employment & student placement
  6. Summary of key skills & attributes
  7. Professional development activities
  8. Notable Achievements
  9. Hobbies/Interests
  10. Relevant associations/professional membership

For the last four years, ‘Employment history’ has consistently been nominated by employers as the most important section in the CV followed by ‘Academic results’ and ‘Academic qualifications’.

Across sectors, ‘Employment history’ was most frequently nominated, with the exception of Legal and Professional Services, and Manufacturing. Legal and Professional Services employers place more weight on ‘Academic results’, whereas Manufacturing employers give more importance to ‘Summary of key skills and personal attributes’.


Useful Links

2015 Top Australian graduate employers - http://www.topgraduateemployers.com/

2014 Top Australian intern programs - http://www.topinternprograms.com.au/

Most common jobs for new bachelor degree graduates (2014) - http://www.graduateopportunities.com/wp-content/uploads/GradsGo2014_v8_printquality.pdf

Employment outcomes and starting salaries of bachelor degree graduates (2014) - http://www.graduatecareers.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/GCA_GradStats_2014.pdf