For most graduates, the next logical step after university is finding a job. Your studies will have prepared you in many ways, giving you the desired qualifications for your chosen field. However, there are a few qualities and skills employers look for that you should know about to make sure you stand out when searching for your first job.


This may seem like an obvious one, but when looking for a job, read the job description carefully and make sure you have the qualifications and skills for the role on offer. If you don’t, your CV will probably be automatically put into the “no” pile but even if you get to the interview stage and you’ve exaggerated your knowledge or abilities, they will be able to tell and it may ruin your chances of ever having a career there in the future.


Having the right attitude when looking for jobs is essential. As most graduates won’t have a huge amount on their CV, how well you fit in with the culture of the company and how much you impress them with your personality at the interview is likely to be a huge part of whether you get the job. Turn up to the interview with a positive, eager attitude and ask lots of questions. They want to know that you will be a pleasure to work with and are willing to learn.


When we say appearance, we don’t just mean your clothes. Of course, your clothes are important, you should always dress smartly and neatly for an interview, but an impression can be formed based on lots of other things, too. Make sure you are on time – which actually means a little bit early. Make eye contact, smile and stand when your interviewer comes into the room. You should know their name, their role and a good amount about the company before you come for the interview – this will show you are conscientious and well-prepared.

Flexibility, resilience, and honesty

These are qualities that you will most likely demonstrate after you have secured the job. Most employers want to know that you will be able to adapt in different situations and respond well to pressure. They will understand that you haven’t been in many working environments before but will still want to know that you can be resourceful. There will be setbacks or mistakes sometimes – that is inevitable. What employers look for is how you respond to those mistakes: get back up and try again. Finally, honesty; if you don’t know how something works or need help, just ask. Don’t try to cover it up or pretend it wasn’t your responsibility – employers will respect your honesty and expect you to learn from what has happened.