Honors Program at Ferris State University

What Do Employers Really Look for When Hiring Recent Graduates?

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One of college students’ greatest anxieties is finding a job after graduation. Since finding a job is usually the number one goal of graduating students, it is not surprising that undergraduates worry greatly about what is needed in order to look their best in the eyes of future employers, but what are these employers actually looking for?

Most people would think going to an elite University, such as an Ivy League, or getting a high GPA would be the most important to a future employer, but Derek Thompson from The Atlantic found otherwise. In August of 2014, Thompson researched this conundrum and published an article entitled “The Thing Employers Look for When Hiring Recent Graduates” stating the main thing employers look for in recent graduates is internship experience.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, experiences such as internships, jobs, volunteering, extracurriculars, and other activities outside the classroom are what employers like to see. The Chronicle, also, revealed that different industries care about different qualifications. Media and communications companies really like to see internships and are mostly indifferent towards classwork, health care companies care about students’ major, and white-collar businesses want to see a high GPA.

Although activities such as internships are important, Thompson encourages students to not set aside GPA and University rank, just yet, as students usually qualify for these internships through good grades and relevant course work. Therefore, Thompson speculates that “when an employer is evaluating your internships, he’s indirectly evaluating your academic achievements, too.”

For the full article with graphs from the Chronicle of Higher Education, please visit http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/08/the-thing-employers-look-for-when-hiring-recent-graduates/378693/ . The Chronicle of Higher Education’s full study can be found here.