Job hunting for fresh graduates can be a challenging, often overwhelming, task.  Many freshers seeking their first jobs are often completely unprepared and have no idea of where to start in the process. They have no idea of how to create an effective resume or fill out a job application, how to act or what to say in a job interview, or even how to dress for success. Often this causes them to fail before they even have a chance to get their foot in the door.

Employers who hire fresh graduates recognize that they lack the experience and skills of more mature applicants. They, therefore, tend to focus on certain qualities or attributes that they feel will make a good employee while interviewing fresh graduates.

Before looking for that firstjob, it would be wise to know what those qualities are.In our last article, we had covered the keysoft skills an employer looks for. In this article, we willlook at the top personal attributes that employers are looking for in a prospective candidate:

  • Well groomed:Employers want to hire those who are presentable and dress appropriately. It is true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. An employer typically starts forming an opinion on you from the moment you meet, based on what they see. They want to see how you will present yourself to clients or customers.  A poor first impression is irreversible! So make sure you project the right impression.
  • Self – Confidence: Self-confidence has been recognized as the key ingredient between someone who is successful and someone who is not. A self – confident person is someone who inspires others. A self-confident person is not afraid to ask questions on topics where they feel they need more knowledge. The self-confident person does what he/she feels is right and is willing to take risks. Self- confident people can also admit their mistakes. They recognize their strengths as well as their weaknesses and are willing to work on the latter. Self-confident people have faith in themselves and their abilities which is manifested in their positive attitude and outlook on life.
  • Integrity:  Employers probably respect personal integrity more than any other value.  It’s probably the most important single quality for long-term success in life and at work. Integrity begins by being true to yourself. This means that you are honest with yourself and in your relationships with others. You are willing to admit your strengths and weaknesses. You are willing to admit where you have made mistakes in the past. In today’s world where there is more empowerment of people there is also the need to have trustworthy employees so that the documents, processes or even cash that the employee has access too is not misused or stolen.  Knowing that you can be trusted in any situation is a very attractive quality in a first time employee.
  • Reliability: Reliability in applicants is important to employers. Employers are paying you to do a specific job and need to know they can count on you to do that job to the best of your ability. You are either an asset or a liability to an employer. Being a dependable employee makes you an asset, being undependable makes you a liability. Employers are not looking for a liability.
  • Positiveattitude: Applicants with a positive, “can-do” attitude are the ones employers see as the biggest asset. While you may not have experience or skills your attitude can make all the difference in how you do your job. Employers are happy to train those who are eager to learn and ready to take on any task with a cheerful spirit.
  • Courteous and well mannered: This one is just good common sense. You are representing the employer’s business so naturally your manners will be important. If you are working with the customers, you will most likely be the first person a customer has contact with. How you behave towards them will be the impression they take away about the business. Being courteous and well-mannered is also important when dealing with co-workers and makes for a more professional work environment.
  • Leadership: No employer wants an employee who has to constantly be told what to do and when to do it! When I speak of Leadership here, it is more about the intrinsic quality rather than a role.  Leadership is the willingness and the desire to accept responsibility for results. It’s the ability to take charge, to volunteer for assignments, and to accept accountability for achieving the required results of those assignments.  The mark of the leader is that he or she does not make excuses. You demonstrate your willingness to be a leader in the organization by offering to take charge of achieving company goals and then committing yourself to performing at high levels.
  • Willingness to Learn:  No matter what your age, no matter how much experience you have, you should always be willing to learn a new skill or technique. Jobs are constantly changing and evolving, and you must show an openness to grow and learn with that change. Employers are impressed with those who are willing and eager to learn. Those who have an open mind and do not think they know it all are often the ones who get ahead.
  • Strong Work Ethic

Employers value employees who understand and possess a willingness to work hard. In addition to working hard it is also important to work smart. This means learning the most efficient way to complete tasks and finding ways to save time while completing daily assignments. Doing more than is expected on the job is a good way to show management that you utilize good time management skills and don’t waste valuable company time attending to personal issues not related to the job.

Employability skills and personal values are the critical tools and traits you need to succeed in theworkplace — and they are all elements that you can learn, cultivate, develop, and maintain over yourlifetime. Once you have identified the sought-after skills and values and assessed the degree to which you possess them; remember to inculcate them and market them (in your resume, cover letter, and interview answers) for job-search success.

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