Getting your first job after college will be one the hardest things you will ever do in life. Onboarding yourself and keeping your first job may very well be the second hardest.Search Magnifying glass with text

You probably have heard the mantra, “Looking for a job is a full-time job.”  In reality, it is. Even with apps that streamline the job search process, a job search can be daunting. For new grads, especially with no work, internship or co-op experience, competition can get tough. Staying on task and maintaining daily motivation requires many of the same skills that employers are searching for in new hires and new grads.

A 2012 study reported the following findings in regards to personality traits and competencies. Below were the top five personality traits study participants were looking for in the first five minutes of an interview.

Professionalism (86%)

High-energy (78%)

Confidence (61%) 

Self-monitoring ( 58%)

Intellectual curiosity (57%)

If you are a job seeker, you may want to consider the impression you are creating and leaving in not only written, verbal, and non-verbal communication but also in how you approach the daily tasks associated with the job search process.

How energetic and confident do you feel with the processes and tasks?

How do you create accountability for self-monitoring and relapsing into inaction?

What tools and processes do you have to present a professional image in everything from your resume, your social media presence,  your personal greeting, and to the follow-up to an interview? 

Fast forward to 2015. The top 10 skills employers are looking for in new graduates are:

1. Ability to work in a team structure
2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems (tie)
3. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
4. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
5. Ability to obtain and process information
6. Ability to analyze quantitative data
7. Technical knowledge related to the job
8. Proficiency with computer software programs
9. Ability to create and/or edit written reports
10. Ability to sell and influence others

Consider approaching the job search process as a way to create your reputation through the process itself. Review the lists of skills and attributes above and determine which skills you can integrate into the job search process. Your “team” for a job search may be your coach, mentor, professional groups, and social media and a recruiter. You will need to demonstrate follow-through, provide clear communication, demonstrate relationship building skills and the art of giving and receiving feedback during the job search process. Making good decisions and solving problems is definitely part of the job search process as you are reading job postings, assessing job descriptions, reviewing companies and other data gathering actions to make good decisions and not just “throw spaghetti on the wall to see if it will stick.” Demonstrate your ability to gather and process information, stay focused, keep your energy during tough times, and get that first job.


Lisa Boesen, MAOM, is a Certified Master Coach and HR Professional. She enjoys working clients who want to work through barriers, improve resilience and approach opportunities with renewed energy and curiosity. To request more information or a free consultation, click here. 


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