With many students finishing universities this year, a number of companies are on the lookout for the brightest minds out there to include in their fold. Some employers pay a visit to university campuses to have face to face interactions with the students and also, to give the students an idea of their hiring process.

Many graduate recruitment programmes involve a grueling selection process consisting of interviews, assessment tests, presentations, group work, role playing, among other things. Graduate recruitment programmes last anywhere from twelve to eighteen months and usually involve rotational work. It must however be noted that graduate recruitment programmes are not in exactly in abundance, and are highly competitive. This is usually because some companies prefer to hire people who have work experience.

So , what are the qualities employers seek in deciding who to hire?

Many employers consider problem-solving skills as critical in the selection of graduates. This is usually assessed through assessment tests. Another set of skills many employers consider critical are people skills. This is usually because your job will bring you in contact with a lot of people and good social skills are critical, especially when dealing with clients.

With thousands of graduates entering the job market every year, it is imperative that one stands out. A number of hiring managers have held the complaint that new college graduates are not adequately prepared upon graduating from college.

The following tips can help leave a positive impression on recruiters.

Polish up your resume and cover letter

For many candidates, the above serves as the first form of contact with the hiring manager, so they must stand out and more importantly, explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job. It is said that there are no right or wrong resumes – just effective and ineffective ones. The cover letter and resume should be targeted to what the company is looking for.

Know what you want to do

It is fine to apply for more than one job within a company but applying for lots of unrelated jobs can send a message to recruiters that you do not know what you want to do. It is very infuriating for a recruitment manager to hire you for a certain position, spend company resources training you, only for you to decide you want to do something else.

Help Yourself

Read over your work to ensure that there are no grammatical mistakes present. Calling yourself a professional in “pubic” relations or a communications “expect” will probably give employers the message that you are not very thorough. Hiring managers usually have lots of resumes and cover letters to go through and cannot be bothered to try to make sense of what you are saying.

Below are points from a hugely popular presentation from Mark O’toole,  Managing director, public relations & content marketing at HB Agency,  on tips for graduates who are seeking employment.

 1. Make a right-sized resume – it is a door-opener only, not your one and only chance to get an interview.

2. Interview preparation makes you look like a rock star during our conversation.

3. Ask really good questions in the interview. It matters.

4. Use your promptly sent “thank you” note to reveal even more awesome stuff about why you make sense for this job.

5. Dress up – it will make you feel better during our meeting.

6. Stay focused.

7. Social media is mainstream, but do not overplay it until you know where it fits, or doesn’t fit, in the job.

8. No typos!

9. LinkedIn matters – you become searchable, findable and professional.

10. Internships set you apart (and give you great stuff for bullet #1.)

11. Practice hand-shaking at home!

It is not an easy thing being a newbie in the jungle called the world of work, especially in a job market as competitive as ours. It is important to remain persistent and work hard to get yourself out there. Let your motivation and passion show in your job hunt. Leave the hiring manager with no doubt as to why you are the best candidate for the job.

Good Luck!

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