Business Owners Reveal What They Look for in Graduates

31st January 2015 Sam Atherton Jobs & Careers

The internet is full of advice on what you need to do to impress potential employers. There is so much information out there that it can be difficult knowing what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s appropriate for your industry etc.

What better way to find out what business owners want from their graduate employees than to ask business owners themselves?  We’ve spoken to business owners and recruitment professionals who give us their opinions and tips on what graduates need and what employers look for when you go for your all-important interview for a graduate job.


EE, mobile network operator and internet service provider, and Sanjay Aggarwal owner of Spice Kitchen and graduate mentor, both stressed the importance of showing your eagerness for the role and company that you are applying for. Why, I hear you ask?

Passion demonstrates to the employers that you have fire and drive inside you and this is what they want from the people on their teams. Show your passion by thinking outside the box. Why don’t you create a power point presentation of your experience in the industry and send it before going to the interview? They’ll be impressed that you have made an extra effort to prepare and it’ll show how passionate and determined you are for the role.

Social media presence

Another essential factor business owners look for when employing graduates is their social media knowledge and presence. They know that it is something that our generation have grown up using on a day-to-day basis  so expect us to have better knowledge and teach them a thing or two. It is important that you keep your social media profiles professional as employers will be looking you up before inviting you to an interview to check that you are suitable to represent their company. If your profiles are full of pictures of you with traffic cones on your head and a pint in your hand in every picture, they might be put off and not even invite you for a first interview.Learn how to use your social networks as profile tool here.

Actively seeking a role

Business owners want you to look active and keen to get a job in their industry. Have you thought of building a portfolio? It could be paper-based or on a blog on the likes of LinkedIn is a great resource for employers and will help them to understand if you are actively trying your best to get a job – no-one likes a candidate who expects to get things handed to them on a plate . Get people you have worked for at past work experience placements to give you recommendations and endorsements on your LinkedIn profile and describe all the skills you have gained during work placements in the industry thoroughly. Find out more about the importance of Linkedin for university students here.

Bespoke CV

Stephanie Bristow, from Taylor Rose Solicitors‘ Marketing Department backs up the above points:

TheTaylor Rose explain what they look for in graduates from WBSA key features we look for in a candidate are always drive and passion. Qualifications are important and if the candidate has work or volunteer experience then this is also massively in their favour, but a candidate who can clearly demonstrate that they want to join us and are going to give us their everything will always be given an opportunity. Personally speaking, when looking at a CV I look for someone who has taken on volunteer positions and work experience, has a portfolio of previous work to show me and demonstrates a clear interest in the field to which they are applying for. I also look for bespoke covering letters and CV’s bespoke to the role, because if they have gone the extra mile to produce those things, I know they are more likely to be dedicated within the role.

Sam Atherton

Sam Atherton

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