Top 5 Characteristics Hiring Managers Seek in New Grads

A Guest Post by Naomi Graychase managing editor at
From time to time we’re publishing guest posts via Recruiting Blogswap.
Do you have what it takes to land your first job as a college graduate? A report released by entry-level job site shows that for the first time in two years entry-level hiring is on the rise. That’s good news for job-seekers. But how do you set yourself apart from the competition? Luckily the survey asked hiring managers what characteristics influenced their hiring decisions. We outline their top five answers for you here.
1. Undergraduate Major/Degree
It turns out that your choice of major matters a great deal more to many employers than how well you did in school. The survey results show that the most important hiring characteristic is actually a job candidate’s undergraduate major. In fact more than one-third (34 percent) of employers report that the degree or major is important while only a tiny fraction (3 percent) report that GPA had any bearing on hiring decisions. So when choosing which jobs to apply for you should have a leg up if you choose a career that’s connected to your major.
2. Internship/Work Experience
Proving that you have what it takes to work full-time begins by demonstrating an interest in your field. Hopefully you’ve done that by completing internships or gaining other relevant work experience.
24 percent of survey respondents said that internships or other work experience were very important to hiring decisions.
3. Interview/Communication Skills
Nearly a quarter (22 percent) of survey respondents said that how well a candidate interviews along with his or her overall communication skills were very important to hiring decisions. So be sure to be on time make eye contact speak clearly and be prepared to answer an array of questions about yourself as well as the company you’re seeking to join. (And for heaven’s sake spit out your gum and turn off your cell phone!)
4. Undergraduate Institution
Compared to the top three factors this one is small potatoes so don’t fret if you didn’t get into Harvard or Princeton (or Amherst or Williams). However 8 percent of hiring managers surveyed reported that where a candidate got his or her degree mattered to them. So while it’s probably not a good idea to show up at your interview wearing your Swarthmore tee-shirt finding a gracious way to mention your school may serve you well — and certainly include it on your resume.
5. Community Service
Like your choice of undergraduate institution — and your GPA — your choice to do volunteer work will matter to a small number of hiring managers. Only 4 percent listed it as an important factor when making hiring decisions. But since it could be the thing that tips the scales in your favor don’t give up your weekend gig at the community radio station or your nights as a literacy volunteer just yet. is owned by’s parent company QuinStreet.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap a content exchange service sponsored by a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.
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