Guest Blog: What Employers Look For in Recent Graduates

Please help MyHCN welcome this week's guest blogger, Amy Klimek of ZipRecruiter.

What Employers Look for in Recent Graduates

Whether you will graduate soon and are anxious to land your coveted first job or have recently graduated and are still navigating the health job market, understanding what employers look for will enhance your chances of success. Motivation and determination are key ingredients for success along with your ability to effectively communicate how your education, skills and experience align with employer and position requirements. What are employers looking for today? 

The Ability to Communicate Properly
Your cover letter and resume do not simply tell potential employers about your job history and education; they also provide a glimpse into your writing skills. The world is connected more now than ever because of sophisticated technology, social media, and the constant flow of emails. As a result, employers want to know that you have the ability to write well. If you are going to represent the company through written text, the employer wants to know that you are going to make a strong impression. They may ask for writing samples so show your best work that aligns with the type of organization and job. Being able to demonstrate strong verbal communication skills is also very important. 

Degree that Matches the Job
Some employers will argue that real-life experience in a particular field is more important than a degree. This debate may go on forever, but for some positions, the type of degree you have also really matters. Some employers screen for degrees that match the qualifications of the specific job to narrow down their applicant pools. In fact, some companies use software to screen applicant resumes for degree fit. With this type of software, your resume may never even be read by human eyes if your degree doesn’t match the job.

Attention to the Job Posting
As an employee of any company, you will need to know how to take direction. Your resume and cover letter are the first samples of how well you do that. Read through the requirements of the job to find out what the position entails and what the company is looking for. Then, craft your letter to show the fit between your career interests and qualifications relative to those requirements. Not only do you show that you are the right fit for the job, but you also highlight the fact that you are not simply sending out the same material to scores of positions as well as demonstrating effective writing skills.

Chances are, if you are just graduating from college, you may not yet have had much work experience in the roles, field, or position that you are seeking. However, you may have had internship experiences. When applying and interviewing for a job be sure to highlight skills, hands on experience and accomplishments from your internships. Provide concrete examples of classroom knowledge you applied, new skills you gained and the results of your project work to demonstrate your qualifications for the position.  Also, if you had an internship with the employer to which you are applying, then you may have a stronger chance to get a job--as long as you left a good impression with the business. 

Something Different
Employers receive many applications for each position, and many cover letters and resumes look or sound exactly alike. If you want to land the job, try to figure out what sets you apart from the rest of the applicants. Maybe you have job experience that directly relates to the position that you are applying for, or perhaps you have a volunteer history that is difficult to beat. Think about the opportunities you have taken and the different skills that you have. For example, you might be bilingual, or you may have creative design skills that could enhance your ability to perform the job. Be clear and concisely communicate what uniquely qualifies you for the job.

Professional Interview
You have probably heard people make comments about your generation that sound rather unsavory and even unkind to you. Do not be the reason why your desired employee believes in these stereotypes. While few and rare exceptions do exist to this rule, you generally want to show up at the interview in a suit. Make sure that your nails and hair are well-kept and that you are not wearing an excessive amount of makeup or jewelry. This all does not mean that the job, company or employer is superficial. It means that you need to show respect for the job. Be courteous and polite during the interview. Try to prevent your nerves from getting the best of you, especially if you are someone who tends to talk an excessive amount when you're feeling nervous.

Employers are going to have different qualities that they want to see in their potential employees so conducting some research into the culture, expectations and interview styles of the field and company you are pursuing will help to paint you an even better picture.


About the Author:

Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at, eBay and US Interactive.

For Amy, corporate culture isn't about dogs and free lunches, it's about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.

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