unpreparedcoverDo you think you have what it takes to nab a job right after college? According to a recent study, only 7 percent of hiring managers report that “nearly all” or “most” job seekers have the right combination of skills and traits to fill open positions. The 2014 Job Preparedness Indicator, conducted online by DeVry University on behalf of the Career Advisory Board, explores this issue and highlights gaps where job applicants lack the skills and traits hiring managers view as most important for entry-, mid- and senior-level employees

Greatest Gap at Entry Level

The greatest gap between what hiring managers are looking for and what candidates are showcasing occurs at the entry level, where candidates are not showcasing adaptability and written communication skills. These skills are considered most desirable by hiring managers, but are often the least commonly reflected skills in entry-level candidates.

Job Seekers Should do Their Homework

In addition to honing the most critical skills and attributes, candidates should gain a better understanding of the open position and organization. Hiring managers also advise job seekers to improve their conversation ability and professionalism.

Many Paths to Success

When asked how candidates should develop these critical skills, hiring managers continue to value formal education, but say alternative paths to skill acquisition are making their way into the mainstream. For instance, 87 percent said they are at least “somewhat likely” to consider micro-credentials, or specialized certificates awarded by reputable educational or business institutions as proof of skill mastery.

Attitude is Everything

At the entry level, attitude outweighs tangible skills; a good attitude is deemed most important to hiring managers once job seekers get to the interviewing phase. Hiring managers report attributes like strong work ethic and self-motivation as differentiators between candidates who will succeed and those who won’t.

Finding an entry-level position can be a challenge for recent college graduates, but the process can be made easier with the right preparation, skills and attitude. To read the full Job Preparedness Indicator research report and expert commentary on solutions for closing the gaps between job seeker skills and hiring managers’ expectations, please visit www.careeradvisoryboard.org.

Alexandra Levit is a Career Advisory Board member whose goal it is to help people succeed in meaningful jobs, and to build relationships between organizations and top talent. Career Advisory Board was established by DeVry University and is comprised of leading representatives from business and academia, and recognized career experts who deliver valuable insights on today’s most important career trends and provide actionable advice for job seekers.