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Forget graduating “cum laude” show some Team Spirit!

Forget graduating “cum laude” show some Team Spirit!

It’s official. Employers want more from graduates than grades. They want charisma. Research conducted by Mamashela Consulting and Projects shows that 73% of employers questioned are looking for dynamism and team spirit rather than solely academic excellence, challenging the recruitment patterns of the past decade.

Making career choices can be exhausting for graduates, but choosing employees can be just as hard. Employers now want candidates who have shown perseverance, dedication and commitment outside the workplace, in areas apart from their academic disciplines.

The notion that businesses prefer to recruit only from the top universities is simply not true any more. Good “all-rounders” are having a far greater impact on employers than previously imagined.

The big recruiters will tell you that the graduates who were successful last year are those who demonstrated evidence that they were not only academically well qualified, but that they had good interpersonal skills and office confidence acquired through work experience.

I look for graduates who have used their time well through interesting jobs in the holidays or gap year, or by travelling extensively. I also look for a good spread of non-academic interests, such as sport, arts and language .

“Golden” students laden with perfect grades won’t necessarily get the best jobs. Each individual has the capacity to learn new skills, and to develop to their full potential given the right environment.

It makes more sense to identify the right attitude and then to train for skills, knowledge and detail, rather to employ somebody with experience but not the right attitude.

Employers need to see that a graduate is looking at the bigger picture, using their initiative and finding out about the workplace on their own. Increasingly, recruiters are looking for evidence of these extra-curricular activities, often through internships, which give young people a chance to see if a company is right for them and if they are right for that company.

Try to develop exposure in an industry through summer jobs. Persistence and commitment yield high rewards.

Students in their penultimate year should visit their career services for information on holiday placements or internships, or write to companies for work during the holidays.

Alternatively, finalists or recent graduates who are finding it hard to find employment should contact companies to do work experience, perhaps even without pay (although most companies will help with expenses). This demonstrates that they are enterprising and motivated. “Work experience still remains the best route into an industry. Technical skills and knowledge of a particular area are also valuable assets, but experience and perseverance will lead to a job”

A final word of advice – do your homework. Those executives interviewed by Mamashela Consulting and Projects all noted that knowledge of the company and position you are applying for, as well as experience and qualifications, reaps rewards.

“I’m always amazed at those people who do not have a basic understanding of our company at an interview – similarly I am highly pleased with those who do,” says many recruiters.

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