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Do you know what employers are looking for?

March 1, 2018 by Susan Surgener

Do you know what employers are looking for?

If you’re thinking about applying for vac work or grad programs, it’s really important to be aware of what employers are looking for in penultimate and final year students. Organisations tend to seek out students with five key characteristics:

  • Good grades – aiming for a minimum of 65 as a course weighted average. This is the cut off mark for many graduate programs.
  • Extra-curricular engagement e.g. through community volunteering, sport and/or developing/maintaining other interests.
  • A passion for your chosen field and awareness of your direction – knowing where you want to be and how to get there with an understanding of trends and developments in your chosen field
  • Unrelated employment strengthens your soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problems solving, etc. Related work experience and/or work on industry projects improves your chances considerably.
  • Networks – engagement with student clubs/professional associations, connections with mentors.

Develop your interests

To succeed, you need to be interested in your chosen field and have the ability to connect to particular occupations, roles and responsibilities – particularly in relation to your relevant skills (or ability to develop those skills) and interests.

Start considering: Who is hiring graduates in your field? Who is offering vacation work? Who might you like to work for? Utilising UniHub is a good first step to ensure you’re not missing out on what is going on, whether it’s employment opportunities or workshops to help you with your job applications.


To keep up-to-date with who is offering vacation programs and graduate programs, consider attending your university careers fair and any employer sessions on campus recruiting from your discipline or degree. You can also connect with people in your chosen field by:

  • Finding an industry mentor
  • Going to any relevant industry information evenings
  • Connecting with organisations via their social media networks
  • Joining your professional association as a student member

Get Organised

Finally, start working on creating or updating your job application documents to be more targeted towards your chosen field. Even without related work experience, you should be able to present your soft skills in a way that appeals to employers. There are a range of workbooks and workshops available to help you present yourself in the best possible light.

Don’t forget, the perfect opportunity to find out what employers are looking for is the Curtin Careers Fair on Wednesday 14 March. You can also bring your resume along, in hard copy, to have it reviewed by one of our team.

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