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What Do Employers Want From Graduates in London?

If you’ve just emerged from college or university, finding a suitable graduate job is top of your list of priorities. You’ve worked hard, got your degree and now it’s time to start earning to pay for it all.

graduate in london

But finding a graduate job isn’t as easy as it used to be. In the past, you got your degree, and then employers lined up to take you on. Now, though, with so many people completing university and a scarcity of “middle-income” jobs (such as clerical work), graduates have a harder time.

London graduates trying to get into the job market for the first time will soon discover something that seems very unfair and annoying; most employers demand that people have between three and five years of experience in a particular role before joining their firm. How can you have experience if you’ve been in education the whole time? The answer is that you can’t.

The good news, however, is that there are several things you can do to get your foot in the door and impress as a graduate job candidate. Here’s what London employers want to see from you.

Emphasise All Your Skills

When London employers evaluate a graduate candidate, they want to know what skills they have first and foremost.

In general, you can break skills down into two categories: “hard” and “soft.” University education builds hard skills; things like written communication, Javascript coding, the ability to do calculus, and how to perform surgery. If you’re applying for an IT job, then it makes sense to talk about your knowledge of things that a London employer might want you to be able to do, such as programming, server maintenance, coding, permissions, access, network integration, cybersecurity and so on.

But while hard skills are essential, research by management consulting firm Mckinsey suggests that what employers need in the 21st century is people with creative and problem-solving skills – high level, general skills that most universities don’t teach directly.

Firms also want people with soft skills – for instance, the ability to display transformational leadership. London companies need people who can manage others effectively and get the best out of them. That kind of person is in short supply, and so smart firms will grasp at the opportunity if they perceive those skills in you.

Create A CV That Stands Out

Universities are pumping out thousands of new graduates every year, but the economy may not be creating suitable jobs for them fast enough, especially in some sectors. Hiring managers, therefore, may find themselves inundated with CVs from graduate applicants with only a limited time to process them.

In this situation, your task is to treat your CV like a piece of personal marketing material. It has to stand out from the pile and grab the attention of the person reading it. It should be short, concise, and to the point, emphasising the reasons why you’re suited to the role.

Show Your Personality At The Interview

If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to an interview. But how do you maximise your chance of landing the role you want?

Most employers in London are looking for five personality traits.


Your confidence level probably has very little to do with your ability to carry out the role. But employers like confidence anyway because it signals to them that you believe that you are the right candidate for the position and that you trust yourself. Answer questions directly and try to avoid prevarication.


Being adaptable means that you can respond to problems in the workplace in novel and creative ways. You may want to include examples of when you’ve been adaptable in the past and how you solved problems.


London businesses want graduates who will stick it out when times get tough, not just flake off or pretend to be ill when the going gets tough. Talk about times when you went through a tough situation and how you stuck it out and made it through.


Workplace culture is a significant determinant of company success. The better the culture, the more productive is each team member and, usually, the higher the quality of the product. Companies want to see that you have a positive attitude to what they do and that you genuinely believe in their corporate mission, as they do.


Employers love people who take the initiative and solve problems by themselves without having to go up the management chain. Tell employers at interview what you did in the past to solve what seemed like an intractable problem.

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