Skills Employers Want

Skills Employers Want

What are employers looking for in UCC Graduates?

  • Firstly that the student had chosen a degree in which they have a personal interest and, as such, can demonstrate consistent and strong academic results.
  • The student can clearly identify the areas of interest opening up for them through the degree.
  • The student has the ability to identify the transferable jobs skills, developed through academic course work, projects, work experience, hobbies and interests, that can be transferred into industry.
  • The student has used their summer months to secure relevant or related work experience, paid or voluntary, to confirm an interest in a particular industry sector.
  • The student has worked closely with Careers Service staff, in completing targeted CV’s/Application Forms, gaining Interview and Assessment Centre experience, attending the Postgraduate Fair, Recruitment Fair and Milkround, to access graduate employers directly and gain an insight into employment and recruitment trends.
  • As a graduate, can identify what industry sector he/she is going to target and utilise the above experiences and skills to market himself to potential employers through graduate CV/Application Form and Interview.

Graduate + MATCH = Employer Needs


Development of Skills through your Degree

Attending university for the first time presents new challenges for younger undergraduates, which can include living independently for the first time, becoming financially self-reliant, spending a summer abroad and meeting new people.  These challenges are recognised and valued by employers as contributing to personal development and maturity. 

Numerous job skills are developed during all undergraduate degree programmes, for instance, students must learn to organise their workload and manage their time effectively in order to meet deadlines.  Students will also manage their own personal schedules to allow enough time to undertake paid or voluntary work, hobbies as well as study.

Many degrees assessed ongoing coursework as well as end-of-year exams.  As a result, students must therefore lean to ‘juggle’more than one project at a time. 

In addition, students learn to communicate information both verbally and in the written form through project work, report writing and oral presentations.  Group work exercises taken during the degree together with participation in team sports develop an undergraduate’s teamworking skills.

What skills and attributes are graduate employers looking for?

Possessing a wide range of skills and attributes, which are transferable into all industry sectors, is considered by graduate employers to be as important as a strong degree qualification. 


Personal Attributes and Skills sought by Graduate Employers:

  • Willingness to Learn – the ability to learn and continue learning throughout life.
  • Intellect – the ability to analyse, critique and synthesise information in order to solve a problem.
  • Commercial Awareness – an understanding of workplace culture.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability – the ability to respond to change, to pre-empt change and ultimately to lead change.
  • Self-regulatory Skills – self-discipline, time-management, the ability to deal with stress, to plan and prioritise your workload and to ‘juggle’ several tasks at once.
  • Self-motivation – being a ‘self-starter’, resilient, persistent and determined.
  • Self-assured – self-confidence, self-awareness, self-belief and self-direction.


Interactive Attributes and Skills sought by Graduate Employers

  • Communication Skills – the ability to communicate, formally and informally, verbally and in the written form, with a wide range of individuals both internal and external to the organisation.
  • Interpersonal Skills – the ability to relate to, and feel comfortable with, people at all levels and to be able to make and maintain relationships as circumstances change.
  • Teamworking – the ability to work effectively in teams, often more than one team at once, and to be able to re-adjust roles from one project to another in an ever-shifting work situation.

Further Reading: Take a look at the GradIreland section on What Recruiters Want: 

UCC Career Services

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