What Employers Want from Graduates

Career Advice
08 July 2015 | Career Advice | Guest Author

These days, graduate employers have a list of ‘needs’ they look for in prospective graduate employees. Of course, it can vary between organisations, but there are generally similarities between employers and what they look for. We at GradJobs know it can be daunting stepping into graduate employment, especially if you have no indication as to what the employers are after! Having the right criteria on your CV can make the difference between snagging an interview and being passed for the next CV on the pile. We’ve gathered a list of points that will help you stand out amongst other graduates.


A skill which is revered across a number of disciplines, volunteering shows your prospective employer that you’re willing to go above and beyond and that passion for your discipline outweighs financial gain. To put it into a practical situation, a candidate who has graduated in a business degree and has no formal experience in a business related field is less likely to gain a job than a candidate who has graduated and has gained experience voluntarily.

Good Spelling & Grammar

This might seem like a simple one, but it’s incredibly important. According to a recent study carried out by GSM London and YouGov, the most common CV annoyance for an employer are spelling and grammar mistakes, with 87% of employers finding it the most frustrating part of reading a candidate’s CV. The second most frustrating error was incorrect information, like incorrect contact or company names. It may seem like a laborious task, but trust us, spelling and grammar are one of the most important factors for an employer.

Be Original

Having traits such as ‘being a team player’ or having ‘attention to detail’ are great traits to have, but they’re characteristics anyone can put on their CV. The idea is to stand out amongst the other candidates and show the employer you’re not like everyone else. “Coached Arsenal FC” or “ran a 50 mile marathon” are admirable efforts and shows you’re not like every other candidate. Think about what you’ve done that would set you apart from other graduates. You may not have run a 50 mile marathon, but you may have participated in extracurricular activities at university that other grads may not have.

What Next?

Applying for graduate roles is one thing, but it’s having the right criteria on your CV to make you stand out from other graduates. Recruiters want to see original and fresh graduates who are passionate and driven. Our advice section on the Gradjobs website can help you further with your journey through graduate employment.

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