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Top 5 skills employers are looking for: UCL Jobs Market 2016

9 June 2016

What exactly are employers looking for, and how can you advance your career?The UCL Jobs Market 2016 held on the 8 June, offered students an opportunity to network with employers, specifically with job vacancies and training opportunities available for a Summer/Autumn 2016 start.

Five things you should know to stop you from procrastinating

Over 40 employers were in attendance from a variety of sectors, including consulting, finance, media, marketing, engineering, social care and teaching. The employers ranged from large well known organisations such as EY and Dyson to smaller firms, including MarketInvoice and We Think Ahead.

What are employers looking for?

Given the number of employers present I wanted to gain a general overview of what employers look for in applicants. I spoke to representatives from a number of companies, and the most frequently suggested top 5 tips they offered were:

1. Show interest in the field

Employers get hundreds of applications and it is important not to waste their time. If you don't really want the job but are applying on a whim, they can tell. Make sure you show a genuine passion for your field, so your application doesn't seem half-hearted.

2. Research the company

Job applications should not be generic, if you could send it to five different companies without making any changes, it isn't good enough. You need to demonstrate passion for the company you are applying to work for. Do your research, know the culture of the company and demonstrate that it is the right company for you.

3. Understand the job description

If you cannot show an understanding of what the job requires, employers will not be convinced that you are capable of doing it. Take the time to work out what the requirements are, and how you can demonstrate your capability to fulfil the role.

4. Individual contribution

Graduate recruiter at Dyson, Vicky Sanghera said,"'I want to know people's individual contribution, I am tired of reading 'we' in job applications." You are the person applying for a job, not a group of people, so make sure the focus is on your own skills.

5. Use your experience to demonstrate skills

Just listing experience is not enough, employers want to see what skills you gained from the experience, and how it can be applied to their opportunity.

How important is experience?

When speaking to students at the event, many third years were concerned they wouldn't find work because they hadn't completed any work experience or internships.

While work experience is certainly valuable, many companies suggested that work experience isn't the be all and end all. If you can show the transferrable skills the job description requires from your involvement in societies, sports or volunteering, that can be just as relevant on an application.

Do you need to take your CV to a careers event?

It certainly doesn't hurt to be prepared and take a hard copy of your CV with you, as well as keeping a copy easily available online. The employer response to this question was varied. Larger firms generally do online applications so were not interested in taking away CVs. Yet, some of the smaller companies requested my CV during conversation. It seems logical to take it along, but remember that all companies have different recruitment processes.

Future careers events

Don't stress if you missed out on yesterdays event. Plenty of opportunities are advertised online, and UCL Careers run events throughout the year.

In the autumn term there will be five sector themed recruitment fairs to take part in which range from careers in government, to careers in charities & NGOs.

These events are an invaluable opportunity to network with potential future employers, find out about opportunities, and advance your career. You can find out more at the UCL Careers website and you can keep up to date with relevant career events by signing sign up for UCL Careers JobAlerts.

Maya Abraham-Steele, English BA student and Media Relations Intern, UCL Communications and Marketing