5 things every employer looks for in a graduate

Check out these 5 essential things that every employer is looking for in a graduate.

Many graduate recruiters have stopped asking for specific degrees when advertising available roles, and instead are asking for a minimum grade in any subject.

There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, there are such a huge number of different degrees out there that by advertising towards one specific subject, they may be discounting students from a relevant degree that is just titled something different.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, all graduates who leave university are expected to have a similar, widely adaptable skillset that would suit any number of jobs.

Luckily for you guys, we can tell you exactly what an employer expects from any graduate that applies for a role with them, regardless of the subject they studied, or the job advertised!


At university you have to consistently meet deadlines, and to achieve this you learn the importance of prioritising your work load to make sure that everything gets done.

As long as you can give strong examples to an employer in an interview or application form of a time that you have managed your own time well to meet all the necessary dates then you will have this box ticked.


Communication is not just the ability to speak to people you don’t know, it’s understanding how to adapt style at tone to the situation at hand. Businesses need someone who can present well in front of a large crowd, as well as construct a professional written report, chat casually in meetings and represent the company at networking events.

Nearly every single degree will make you do each of these at some point in your course, and while it may have seemed irrelevant at the team, you will be thankful of it when you become part of the workforce.


Many applicants struggle with examples of when they have been in a position of responsibility, without realising that almost any part-time job will have needed them to be responsible, whether it is handling money in a retail job or sensitive information in a data entry role.

You can also use examples of positions of responsibility in university societies or any extracurricular activities, if you were a club treasurer or president.


Every single employer will be looking for this and every single degree will prepare you for it. Employers need to know that they can give you a task and you will be confident in finding the relevant resources, analysing the information and reporting it back in a clear and concise manner.

No matter if you studied geology, drama, maths or creative design, you will have experience of this in some capacity, you just need to be able to discuss it at interview.

Teamwork and leadership

Whilst they may appear to be conflicting skills, teamwork and leadership need not be mutually exclusive. Sometimes the best way to work in a team is to realise that someone needs to step up to the plate and lead, and on other occasions the best way to lead is to muck in with your team.

Giving examples of each of these actions signifies to the employer that you are adaptable and happy to work as part of a team, but not afraid to manage others should the need arise.

And one for luck…. Likeability!

As so many job applicants do have similar skillsets, many employers simply use interviews as a way of assessing which person seems like they would fit into the team well, and would be easy to work with on a day-to-day basis, so just be polite and friendly and you’re sure to stand out!

This post was written by the career experts at Milkround. Check out their site for the latest graduate schemes, jobs, internships and much more.