Entering the job market as a fresh graduate can be exciting but nerve-wracking. The knowledge of what organisations look for in their hires may help to tailor resumes. Preetha Wali, co-founder of PayItForward, a financial literacy firm in Bangalore, says that individuals seeking to join a start-up “should possess qualities similar to those of an entrepreneur, such as commitment, initiative, and resilience in the face of challenges”. While different organisations may prioritise different skills, there are certain universal traits that employers look for in their hires. Knowing and honing these skills can significantly increase one’s chances of securing a fulfilling job.
Technical skills remain a crucial aspect of what employers look for in fresh graduates. They don’t expect them to be experts in the field, just have a solid understanding of the basics. Suman Bhadhuri, a senior software engineer at IQ Systems, an IT firm, explains, “While proficiency in relevant technical skills is important, what stands out is a strong foundation. We look for candidates who have a grasp of the fundamental concepts. This foundation can be built upon, but having that starting point is essential.”
Agility and adaptability
In the current fast-paced work environment, employees need to be flexible enough to adapt to new situations. For newcomers to the workforce, demonstrating adaptability and a willingness to learn will improve their chances of securing a job and also develop crucial skills like communication, organisation and strategic thinking. Raghavendra Rengaswamy, data and analytics leader at EY Global Delivery Services India, states, “The most crucial aspect for a fresher or someone in an entry-level role is to have the right mindset. They must be open-minded, eager and willing to learn about all the facets of the business. Additionally, they must be willing to get in sync with the new environment quickly.”
Employers actively seek individuals who can think critically and solve problems independently. Demonstrating that you have this skill-set can make you a highly sought-after candidate. Additionally, problem-solving skills are transferable to all areas of life. They can help you make better decisions, navigate personal relationships and achieve goals. Wali says, “Analysing situations, thinking critically and proposing creative solutions demonstrates a candidate’s potential to contribute effectively to an organisation’s growth.”
Effective communication skills are highly valued in every industry. Right from the interview stage, communication skills are vital in securing a job. Freshers must articulate their qualifications, experiences and enthusiasm for the job to make a positive impression on potential employers. Good communication enables individuals to interact effectively with colleagues and supervisors, ensuring tasks are carried out correctly and efficiently. Raghavendra affirms that “excellent and effective communication skills are essential for teamwork and client interactions. Team members must actively participate in meaningful discussions, confidently express their ideas and thoughts, and make themselves visible in the team structure.”
Teamwork and collabs
In today’s interconnected work environment, working harmoniously with others is paramount. Employers believe that freshers who can collaborate with others, respect diverse opinions and contribute to a positive team spirit are most likely to excel in their roles. Freshers may need to give examples of past experiences that showcase their ability to work well within a team. They can draw from extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences or school projects if they lack prior work experience.
A genuine passion for the field you’re entering can make a signi-ficant difference. Employers are impressed by individuals who take the time to research and learn about the company’s products, services, mission and culture. This knowledge demonstrates genuine interest and enthusiasm to work for the organisation. Staying informed about current trends and developments in the industry can help you discuss relevant topics during the interview. Paul Rathnam, creative director at an advertising agency, says, “When a fresher displays genuine excitement for the industry and the role they’re applying for, it demonstrates dedication and a proactive attitude. It also suggests that the candidate is likely to stay engaged and committed over time.”
Projects and internships
Showcasing practical experience through internships, projects or freelance work can leave a strong impression. Even if you’re new to the job market, having tangible projects to discuss can provide insight into your capabilities. It could be a personal project, an internship or a volunteer opportunity that correlates with the position. “Even if the experience is not directly applicable, every professional and volunteering experience is valuable as these aid in an individual’s learning and growth,” says Rengaswamy.
The writer is a career counsellor and certified psychometric assessor