Survey Reveals 7 Facts College Grads Should Know When Seeking a Job

Posted By Terri Williams on June 21, 2016 at 9:04 am
Survey Reveals 7 Facts College Grads Should Know When Seeking a Job

College degree? Check. Resume? Check. A good start, but you’ll still need to check more boxes off the list before you’re prepared to compete in the job market. It’s important: Some applicants engage in practices and commit blunders that make them less appealing than the competition.

That’s why job seekers need to understand the new rules of engagement, according to the 2016 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior study. CareerBuilder and Inavero surveyed more than 1,500 hiring managers to uncover 7 vital pieces of information that every job hunter needs to know:

7 Facts for Job Seekers Details
1 A resume is not enough 53% need more info
2 Companies want skills that may surprise you 63% want soft skills
3 Landing a job may take longer than you think Average time: 2 months
4 It’s not over if you don’t receive a job offer 54% re-engage past applicants
5 The competition may be putting in more hours Average: 11 hours/week
6 You may not work in your field of study 36% don’t
7 Employers will pay more 66% offer higher salaries in 2016


About your resume …

While most of the list is self-explanatory, the first two facts warrant more discussion. In the survey, employers stated that a resume does not provide enough information about an applicant to assess whether the individual would be a good fit. Employers want cover letters, social media profiles, and LinkedIn recommendations – and professional portfolios when applicable. “Cover letters, recommendations and social media profiles are all screening tools hiring managers can use to ‘weed out’ applicants,” says David M. Long, assistant professor of Organizational Behavior at the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary.

He says it’s much easier to apply for jobs today than 10 years ago, so HR managers need ways to determine whether a candidate is serious and right for the organization. “Cover letters specifically address the ‘why our organization?’ question better than a resume -which only answers the ‘why this candidate?’ question.”

Each additional submission provides more information about the candidate. Social media profiles allow HR to see the “real person,” he says, while resumes and cover letters are always packaged to help the candidate project the desired image. “Social media profiles often are less guarded and portray candidates more naturally – for instance, a Facebook page may offer a glimpse into the candidate’s social life, habits, passions, and beliefs.”

Hybrid candidates

Hard skills are still important – and they always will be – but they’re not enough. Susan Brennan, associate vice president of University Career Services at Bentley University, tells GoodCall, “Highly sought-after job candidates and employees are those who possess strong hard skills, such as database analytics, and soft skills, such as communication and collaboration.” Brennan refers to these individuals as “hybrid candidates/employees.”

These soft skills can be just as challenging to master as hard skills that require formal education and technical instruction, she says. “Collaboration, excellent communication, decisiveness, and mentoring abilities are sought-after skills across industry lines; employers want multi-faceted and well-rounded candidates who can thrive in a collaborative environment.”

Long agrees, adding that companies want candidates who exhibit social intelligence as well as general intelligence or technical skills. “Social intelligence includes self awareness (e.g., how I appear to others), political skill (ability to read the politics of a group setting), and emotional intelligence (the ability to control one’s emotions).”

Advice for job seekers

While the days of just developing hard skills and sending in a pre-packaged resume may be over, that might not necessarily be a bad change, according to Michael Moradian, executive director of “The screening process is for the job seeker’s benefit as much as it is for the hiring manager’s; you want to make sure you’re a good fit for the role and for the company, so don’t waste your time trying to be someone you’re not.”

If anything, Moradian believes young job seekers should be motivated to take their careers seriously. “Recent graduates need to realize the value they can provide and market themselves through social media, blogging platforms, professional organizations, and anything else that demonstrates their skills and passion.”

He admits it may take a while to find a job but says it is well worth the effort. “The time and energy invested in marketing yourself and defining who you are and what you want will pay off big time; after all, you want to find a career that fits you, not just another job.”

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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