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In college, we’re normally stressing about doing well on exams and getting the highest GPA possible. But, what if you knew that your grades were not the deciding factor in a job interview? It’s important to take a step back and look at what matters most in the real world. We’ve come up with the top 5 characteristics that an employer looks for in a job applicant before their grades.


1. Experience

This means something different to each person. Employers like to see that you have some form of concrete practice and knowledge about the job you’re applying for. It’s important to make time for an internship, volunteer work, or whatever your desired field requires. Any relevant experience is a plus.


2. Time Management

Knowing how to allocate time and get things done is a crucial skill for any job. Work on time management by taking on responsibilities other than just school work (clubs, teams, or other extracurricular activities). This will help prepare you for managing various tasks you may face at work. Employers value this tremendously.

Boring Presentation

3. Presentation

The ability to speak in a work setting is harder than it sounds. Being able to communicate and present information clearly and comfortably is invaluable. You can’t practice presentation skills by studying in the library. To gain confidence, volunteer to speak on behalf of the group during class, and approach presentation assignments with dedication.

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4. Feedback

Employers want to know that you are able to give and receive feedback well. The giving part comes with practice, and having confidence with speaking publicly helps a ton. The receiving part can be more difficult. An employer wants to know that you not only take criticism well, but that you internalize it, and you can adjust things accordingly.

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5. Network

Employers, companies, firms… They are all interested in your network. Who do you know? Are you good at making connections with people? Who could become a potential client through your connections? In other words, it’s important to be social and have friends. Oftentimes, you can find a job opportunity through someone in your network. Work on building it up, because it will always come in handy.

There you have it. While academic achievements are important, it’s crucial to show an employer that you are a well-rounded person with interests and real-life applicable skills. Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t an excuse to throw away your textbooks and never do homework again. Instead, see this as a reminder to take that study break to enhance another aspect of yourself. Be social and build your network. (If you ask us, going to a frat party totally counts.)

Which skills do you think are most important in a job interview?