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Top Characteristics Sought By Employers

It’s important that you are knowledgeable in your field: an engineer must have engineering knowledge; an accountant needs an accounting background; a nurse needs a medical education. Your GPA is indicative of what you have learned in your field. More than half of employers recognize this by screening applicants by GPA, using a cutoff of 3.0. Add an internship or two in your field and you show an employer that you’ve tested your new knowledge.

However, employers say other skills and abilities help job seekers stand out from the crowd of degree-holders. They want new hires who will fit in with co-workers and into the workplace, and are able to get the job done.

Unfortunately—and ironically—the very qualities employers look for are the qualities they find lacking in many new graduates. Employers say new graduates lack face-to-face communication skills, especially writing skills. They say many students tend to lack presentation skills, teamwork skills, and overall interpersonal (gets along well with others) skills.

Employers also note that new grads tend to lack a good work ethic. Some say students have trouble with time management and are unable to multitask in order to meet deadlines. Some new hires do not have realistic expectations for their new positions: they are not loyal to the organization and they “have a high sense of urgency and want to climb the ladder overnight.” Other employers say new hires lack professionalism: they lack maturity and knowledge of business etiquette, including how to dress appropriately.

Employers rank the importance of skills/qualities:

  1. Communication skills
  2. Strong work ethic
  3. Teamwork skills (works well with others)
  4. Initiative
  5. Analytical skills
  6. Computer skills
  7. Flexibility/adaptability
  8. Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
  9. Problem-solving skills
  10. Technical skills

Comparably, these are the skills ranked most important by employers who hire UNH students:

  • Ability to think
  • Technical proficiency
  • Communication skills
  • Ethics
  • Good teamwork
  • Leadership skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Professionalism/demeanor
  • Dependability
  • Enthusiasm
  • Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers