The Key Skills Business Leaders Look for in Graduates

5 Minutes

Regardless of industry, there are certain skills that every employer looks for when employin...

By Pareto Team


Regardless of industry, there are certain skills that every employer looks for when employing graduate talent. Knowing the tricks of the recruitment trade is one the best ways to set yourself apart from the competition.

Read on to learn more about the top skills business leaders look for in graduates and boost your appeal to potential employers.

Time management

Both the volume and quality of your work is vital; business leaders want to see you consistently achieve your goals without compromising the value of your work. Developing your time management skills will help you figure out what’s important and ensure you avoid spending valuable time on low-level tasks.

If you can get to grips with deadlines, have a to-do list and are able to prioritise your time wisely, it shows you possess excellent time management skills, something business leaders really value. Assess the amount of time you spend on tasks and review against key performance indicators (KPIs) to really maximise productivity.

Research skills

To keep up to date with industry standards and be a valuable asset to the company, you need to exhibit solid research skills. Luckily, higher education provides you with a head start, as you’ll be learning to research material when writing essays and studying for exams.

However, if you’d like to polish up on your research skills, there are various ways you can stay up to date with industry practices. Sign up to newsletters, join in on group discussions and attend relevant conferences and events to boost your knowledge and skills.

This will not only help to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge in your chosen industry, but also show the employer that you’re genuinely interested in that specific field.

Teamwork and people skills

Employees are the driving force of any business and everyone values a team player who’s eager to contribute and collaborate with colleagues on various projects.

Show you have the right skills by demonstrating moments where you’ve worked collaboratively on a project. This could be for an assignment, or in any team-based hobbies or extra-curricular activities.

Negotiating skills

Negotiating is often a vital aspect to a business, so it’s extremely likely business leaders will want to see that you have strong negotiating skills.

Being able to negotiate will come in handy in numerous professional situations, such as partnering with new businesses and closing sales deals. Alongside this, it can also help you out when it comes to discussing your salary and any pay rises in the future.

Negotiating often ties in with research. For example, if you were looking to negotiate a raise, you would need to research data, such as the average income for someone with your skill set and years of experience, in that chosen field. You would then use your results to support your request to negotiate a pay rise.

Public speaking

If you can debate a subject in class, then you’re on the right path to being able to convince a client to sign a new deal with you.

Public speaking is a useful skill to show your boss and colleagues you can communicate clearly and are capable of being persuasive.

To help build your communication skills, practice with a friend or family member, or participate in events that will encourage you to address a large crowd. Having confidence and strong communication skills will open up a wide range of business opportunities.

Do you have the skills that business leaders look for in graduates?

Acquiring these key skills will show business leaders that you’re capable of working in a professional environment and help you to become a valuable asset to the business.

Some of these skills are easily obtainable but others require practice. However, once mastered, they will open up a wide range of opportunities and provide you with long and lustrous career ahead.

CV-Library is a leading independent job board in the UK and owns a range of other career sites, including Education Jobs. For more expert advice on careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice and Recruitment Insight pages.

Looking to strengthen your Business?

Let's Talk