The most important thing or skill employers want when recruiting college/university graduates is ability to work effectively in a team, the ability to make decisions and solve problems.
In spite of the constant emphasis in the news, magazines and newspapers on the need for graduates to acquire software and programming skills, the most important qualities job seekers should not lack are teamwork, ability to plan and prioritize (putting first things first; in order of importance) and ability to solve problems.
Employers don’t really expect too much from fresh graduates in contrary to the fact that we think they do, all they expect are normal things/skills graduates should know/acquire.
Here are the 10 skills employers say they seek, in order of importance:
1. Ability to work in a team
2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems
3. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
4. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
5. Ability to obtain and process information
6. Ability to analyze quantitative data
7. Technical knowledge related to the job
8. Proficiency with computer software programmes
9. Ability to create and/or edit written reports
10. Ability to sell and influence others
Regardless of your specialized course of study, you will have to learn the top five skills in the above list. The trick is to demonstrate that you have acquired those skills by stating them in your cover letter, résumé and during the interview. Remember the days when you were a member or a leader of a group for class assignments or jobs that involved planning and prioritizing, now put in your cover letter or résumé a brief description of those specific skills.
For instance if you staffed a campus snack bar, say you worked on a team of five people and handled food orders. Or if you worked in the library, include the size of the staff and that you handled requests from 50 students a day at the circulation desk. Even a job as a coach during holidays may include decision-making and planning. Make sure you spell out those responsibilities briefly but specifically. Say you worked on a staff of 10 coaches, supervised the daily activities of 50 athletes and organized group activities.
Conclusively, employers want graduates/job seekers to have acquired universal skills across academic disciplines especially in jobs that has to do with working as a team.