Winston-Salem, NC -- Wake Forest University has made personal and career development part of their mission. School officials call it a critical component of the college experience, molding students to be well-qualified employees.
So WFMY News 2 asked Mercy Eyadiel, Executive Director of Employer Relations at Wake Forest University, what today's employers are looking for in potential employees.
Eyadiel said employers are looking for students who can learn and contribute quickly in a rapidly changing workplace.
She also said they're looking for the ability to work well in teams, the ability to write, speak and present well, and the ability to understand global context in which work is done. They also want candidates who are creative and innovative problem solvers.
Eyadiel said candidates need to focus on developing their communication and leadership abilities. They need to be able to influence without authority and be flexible and comfortable with ambiguity.
She also encouraged new graduates to consider non-traditional career paths.
"You typically associate non-traditional career paths with roles like freelance writing/blogging, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, etc. There are actually a number of opportunities for individuals who want to take a different path," said Eyadiel. "For example, b-corporations (for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of environmental impact, accountability and transparency) offer several interesting and competitive opportunities for recent grads (but nobody knows about them)."
In addition, Stella and Dot is an accessories company that offers flexible, entrepreneurial career opportunities for women, she said.
Eyadiel said if graduates do not have a job lined up yet, there are some things they need to be thinking about.
She said the temptation for most job seekers is to just apply for opportunities online on all the major job boards.
However, the reality is, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 70% of all jobs are found through networking.
The more graduates can meet with industry professionals and talk about what they are interested in and how they can add value, the better.
So when should you take or pass on an opportunity that's not your "dream" job?
Eyadiel said if you're genuinely interested in the organization and you believe that you can build relevant skills for the future, which will make you more competitive for your "dream" job, then you should take it.
Some other tips to remember for newly-hired graduates:
-Your #1 priority is to make your boss, team and organization look good.
-It's important to clarify goals and expectations in your new role (don't make any assumptions).
-Ask your boss what their preferred communication style is (i.e. email, weekly reports, meetings, etc.) and what information they want to be updated on, and how often.
-Take good notes when you're meeting with your boss and ask clarifying questions if you don't understand something.
-Ask for feedback regarding completed assignments and make appropriate adjustments.
-Make sure to complete assigned tasks and priorities with excellence before asking for other projects to work on.
WFMY News 2