Top 7 Job-Ready Skills Employers Look for in Graduates

No matter the open position, employers look for a few job-ready skills in every candidate, and, if you are set to land your first job out of college, then this is the blog you can’t afford to miss!

In this article, we are uncovering the top seven skills every employer looks for in a candidate. So, want to skyrocket your chance of landing your dream job as a fresh graduate? Then, read on!


7 Skills Employers Look for in Fresh Graduates

Did you know a single job opening in the US receives an average of 250 resumes? And the competition gets even more fierce in high-profile jobs.

But, what is the quickest way to make your resume stand out? Highlight your most marketable skills!

Instead of solely focusing on support services, fresh graduates need to learn and excel in the exact skill they need for long-term success and rewarding jobs.

That’s why to land your dream job, you need to reflect these in-demand crucial traits in your resume:

Skill 1: Leadership

Most of us restrict leadership to the C-suite role. In reality, however, recruiters look for fresh graduates with well-honed leadership qualities for every position. The reason is simple, be it managing a team or contributing to a project, leadership skills help you motivate others and complete the allotted tasks promptly.

However, you must first identify your preferred leadership style. Once you’ve determined your leadership strength and standards of excellence, you can start building your leadership style around those attributes.

Fortunately, university life hands you numerous opportunities to build and polish your leadership skills. For example, you can start a club or organize events to showcase leader-like traits in your CV. 

Skill 2: Communication

The importance of clear and confident communication can not be overstated, especially in the professional world. 

As part of the communication skill, your ability to ask the right questions, glean required information from emails, text messages, phone conversations, or video chat, and then articulate the ideas clearly are the top skills employees look for.

As a university/college student, you can start improving your communication skill by focusing on your non-verbal gestures and practicing open-ended questions. For example, ask questions comprising the five W’s and H rather than ones with a yes-or-no or maybe response.

Virtual internships are another brilliant path to work on polishing your professional communication skills. By working and collaborating with employees in different locations and time zones you can not only improve face-to-face communication but also master the art of online conversations and negotiations.

Discover virtual internship opportunities for college/university students

Skill 3: Learning and Adaptability

Employers look for candidates who possess several vital traits while recruiting, including learning and adaptability. The latter pushes you to work harder and fulfill your deliverable, while the former allows you to take chances and maintain your position on the growth trajectory.

The importance of these skills is especially crucial in light of how quickly workplaces are evolving. Today’s market needs you to learn and adopt fresh ideas to remain competitive. 

Therefore, possessing robust learning and adaptability abilities will help you gain an edge. And, what’s better than real-world experience to hone these crucial traits?

Undertaking internships in fast-paced industries with a leadership or management focus will serve as a gentle introduction to the professional setting where adaptability skills are crucial. Plus, they also hand you a great chance to see how seasoned experts manage their workload.

Skill 4: Industry-Relevant Experience

Though fresh graduates are not expected to have work experience, industry-relevant experience is a salient trait that sets your profile apart from the rest. 

Especially in a job involving complex technical operations and typical tools or software, industry-specific work experience is often the key determining factor. Therefore, by working closely with the industry, you can develop skills that’ll help you succeed in the dynamic workplace.

There are several ways in which you might get industry-relevant experience in a professional or out-of-work situation. 

For example, if you have made the decision to follow a certain job and do not expect to alter your career later, you may carefully plan and acquire the necessary expertise to be successful in that industry by taking on relevant internships.

Time and again, our students have succeeded in landing jobs in their dream companies primarily because of the industry exposure they received during their virtual internships. 

Read More: Do Internships Count as Work Experience

Skill 5: Problem-Solving 

Employers today look for candidates who can analyze tough business situations and design decisive and effective solutions. That’s why critical thinking and problem-solving abilities top the list of must-have skills in applicants. 

The ability to keenly observe, firmly judge, and quickly act when difficulties arise are all the abilities employers look for while recruiting. 

Furthermore, according to our observation, an effective problem solver exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Ability to prioritize, plan, and execute strategies
  • Manage time intelligently
  • Work under pressure
  • Address risks
  • Think outside the box

Skill 6: Interpersonal 

Admirable interpersonal skills, also popular as people skills, have become the key criteria when shortlisting ideal candidates.

Research shows that candidate with strong interpersonal skills tends to complete allotted tasks on time, build positive relationships with the team, and be productive at the workplace.

Some of the prime interpersonal skills employers look for include empathy, teamwork, conflict resolution, patience, leadership, and more.

Fortunately, you can improve your interpersonal skills by setting self-development goals and practicing good communication. For better results, we advise our students to:

  • Reflect on your interactions
  • Practice your skills
  • Take feedback from their colleagues, managers, or friends
  • Adopt an optimistic outlook in difficult situations

Read More: Why Interns Perform Better in Teams

Skill 7: Self-Management

Self-management traits highlight an individual’s ability to control and regulate their behavior, thoughts, and emotions effectively.

Of course, employers too prefer candidates with a strong self-management ability simply because such professionals are better able to control their emotions and actions while interacting with coworkers, clients, and stakeholders. Thus, resulting in effective and adept workplace conduct.

Primary traits of self-management skills include:

  • Accountability
  • Time management
  • Adaptability
  • Planning and coordination
  • Acceptance of negative feedback

Internships are a great way to assess and learn the art of self-management. However, you can also start working on your self-management ability from the moment, even as a university student. 

Start by setting and following a daily routine, stay true to your dreams and goal, adopt an optimistic outlook, and trust your abilities. 


Where Do Employers Look for These Skills?

There are several different places employers look for an applicant’s skills. The most important of them include:


Resumes are mostly your first interaction with the employer. And without a doubt, the best place to depict your job readiness is by highlighting the high in-demand skills in the ‘Skills’ section of your resume/CV.

Cover Letter

Having a cover letter that emphasizes your skills and expertise will provide your potential employers with a positive first impression. With employers receiving hundreds of applications for a single position, highlighting relevant skills in your cover letter helps you set yourself apart from the competition.


Interviews are the perfect time to freely talk about your most marketable skills with employers. For example, during an interview, you can talk about the in-demand skills you have learned during your internship and college life. 

However, always try to mention only the most relevant skills needed for the position, especially when the skills are explicitly mentioned in the job description.


Researching the skills and experience of candidates on social media has become the new norm, and LinkedIn tops the list of such social vetting platforms. 

However, a mismatch between your CV and LinkedIn experience can make you appear careless and raise the possibility that you’re not being completely genuine. That’s why staying on top of your digital footprint is equally vital for landing your next big role.

At Virtual Internships, we give our alumni a boost in the job market by endorsing the key skills they gained on their internship on their LinkedIn. Thus, elevating their online credibility.

Read More: 5 Ways to Boost Your LinkedIn Profile


Get Closer to Your Dream Career

With numerous moving parts, transitioning from higher education to the job market is a complicated path. That’s why tailored programs and internships offered based on today’s industry’s needs make up vital pieces of the puzzle.

Virtual Internships strive to provide you with the perfect blend of education and experiences through project-based internships with innovative companies in 110+ counties. 

Apply, and let us match you with the best companies in your niche alongside personalized support and coaching!

Apply Now

Similar posts