University Career Center

Students often ask what employers look for when interviewing and hiring college grads.  You may (or may not) be surprised to see that experience matters!

In a recent article published by The Atlantic, author Derek Thompson does an excellent job explaining that employers often value your “experience” more so than they value your GPA, major, and/or relevant coursework.

“When employers do hire from college, the evidence suggests that academic skills are not their primary concern. Work experience is the crucial attribute that employers want even for students who have yet to work full-time.” - Peter Cappelli, Wharton professor and author of a new paper on job skills.

Some excellent ways to gain experience include internships, volunteering, work-study and part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities-like having a leadership position in an organization.

But remember -- to make the experience count you need to take time to reflect on what you learned, skills you developed, challenges you overcame, and even those that got the best of you. Understanding your experiences will let employers know that you didn’t just go through the motions and that you will be able to put what you learned to work for them!

Chart from the Chronicle of Higher Ed that shows what employers look for when hiring college students

Image Credit: Chronicle of Higher Ed via The Atlantic

Do you think this information will be helpful for you as you think about what you want to do after college? Tweet us at @CareerCenter and let us know your thoughts!

Read the full article here for more on what employers look for when hiring college students.

  • If you’re interested in learning more about how to get experience in the field/industry your interested check out the Starting Your Internship Search section of our website.
  • If you’re still unsure of what you’re even interested in (or where to begin) then start with our Getting Started/Explore section on our website.
  • If you already have plenty of experience but just need help making sense of it all then schedule an appointment with one of Career Coaches so we can talk through what you’ve done and how that’ll help you moving forward.