What Are Employers Looking for in New Graduates?

Updated February 13, 2024

After graduating from tertiary education, many new graduates start putting together their resumes so they can apply for jobs in their chosen fields. While your new qualifications are often enough to help you secure work, that’s not all employers are looking at. They’re also reading through your resume to find the following information: 

Any Relevant Work Experience

Employers Looking for in New Graduates

You might have a qualification proving you’re qualified for the work you’re applying to do, but employees also want to know if you have any real-world experience. Ensure you include this information in your resume, even if it’s just experience gained through co-op programs, internships, and part-time jobs. 

While tempting to fabricate the truth to improve your chances, always be honest. Businesses often use background check providers like Triton Canada to ensure employment history and education information match what you’ve provided in your resume. 

All Relevant Education

Your most recently obtained qualification may not necessarily tell the whole story about your suitability for a new job. Include all relevant education information, even if it’s just a short taster course you participated in to see if you liked a job type before undertaking further study. The more educational information you can include, the easier it might be for employers to see your passion for their industry. 

Technical Skills

You might mention that you graduated with a degree or diploma in something, but don’t be afraid to list the technical skills that education afforded you. Seeing your technical skills written out in detail may help your employer see how skilled you are for their job

For example, rather than only saying you have a degree in web development, you might list your technical skills in front-end coding, responsive design, UX design, and back-end web programming languages. 

Soft Skills

Employers are looking for more than just technical skills. They also want to ensure they hire someone who can work well in a team, manage their time, communicate, and problem-solve. As you can’t yet prove you have soft skills, you can at least write about the soft skills you do have and examples of where you let them shine through. Some of the most desirable soft skills to have are: 

  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Conflict resolution
  • Work ethic
  • Leadership
  • Social skills
  • Communication
  • Creativity 


Employers don’t typically want to hire people who aren’t professional and don’t have a positive attitude. If you’ve succeeded in getting a job interview, let your professionalism shine through. Wear appropriate clothing reflective of the work environment and turn up on time. Having manners and an overall professional demeanor may help you ace your interview and land your dream job. 

A Well-Crafted Cover Letter and Resume

The average employer sifts through dozens of resumes and cover letters to find the right employee to fill their vacancy. If your cover letter and resume aren’t well-crafted and don’t have all the necessary information to help them make an informed decision, you may miss out on jobs you’re appropriately skilled and qualified for. At a minimum, your cover letter should include: 

  • Your contact details
  • Your interest in the job
  • The employer’s name and job vacancy title
  • How your skills and experience align with their vacancy
  • A request for the employer to contact you. 

Your resume should have the following information: 

  • A summary
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Hobbies
  • Employment history
  • Professional history
  • Qualifications
  • Contact information

All information in your resume should be professionally formatted and free of any spelling and grammatical errors. If you aren’t confident in your abilities to create a professional-looking cover letter and resume, contact a service provider for help


Employers can run a background check on you with your permission to find extra information about you. However, you might also choose to include references so they have additional resources from which to pull that information. Include your references’ names, positions, and contact information in your resume in an easy-to-read format. Choose people who can attest to your experience and character, such as: 

  • Former employers and coworkers
  • Internship officials
  • Your current coworkers
  • Professors or teachers
  • Career counselors 

Digital Literacy

Most businesses are now tech-based and use various programs, software, and machines for everyday operations. Employers can just assume you can use technology, but it doesn’t hurt to write about your digital literacy in your resume. You can discuss the types of technology and software you’re comfortable and experienced with. You can also mention that you’re a fast learner and can adapt to new technology quickly. 

Your qualifications count for a lot when you’re entering the workforce. However, don’t underestimate the impact that your professionalism, references, soft skills, and technical skills can have. Highlight these elements above, and you may secure employment quicker than you thought possible.

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