Fulfilling the HR Checklist

Fulfilling the Human Resources Checklist: What Employers are Looking For

By Erica Frederickson, Mandi Gustafson, Ray Hague, and Nick Laursen

Employers look for several qualities in a college graduate, such as communication, flexibility, adaptability, and a strong work ethic. Many students have the idea that having a high GPA is the key to being successful upon graduation. However, the reality is that GPA is only one portion of what employers consider when hiring. Being able to demonstrate skills such as leadership and commitment are equally, if not more, important.

Building Your Skills

According to an Employment Survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, communication is the number one skill employers look for in candidates. Gretchen Hutterli, assistant dean for external affairs, agrees. “It goes without saying that you must have excellent oral, written and interpersonal communication skills as you will be communicating with a wide variety of groups, such as employees, stockholders, the Press, and various governmental agencies,” she said.

To get your foot in the door, recruiters look for specific courses and experiences pertaining to the position. For future advancement within or outside of the company, a broad education is both desired and beneficial. Business students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire College of Business are able to develop advanced business and communication skills through a series of courses and a certificate that offered through the Department of Business Communication.

Boosting Your Résumé

It is important to highlight your communication and employment skills through a professional résumé. “Tailoring your resume to meet the specific position you are applying for is one of the best ways to catch an employer’s attention,” according to Jessica Gardner, Career Services. This is where your skills and résumé intertwine to showcase your abilities and experiences.

Keep in mind that skills are not the only thing that employers look for in a professional résumé. “We look at work history, leadership experience (either in a work experience or on campus), education and degree, and other activities, such as volunteering,” said Stacey Raaf, a human resources supervisor at Securian Financial Group.

Landing the Interview

Having a professional résumé that makes you unique is what will help you land an interview where you can further demonstrate your abilities.

“You want to be assertive and feel comfortable discussing your accomplishments during the interview,” Gardner explained. Demonstrating proper posture and body language will show your confidence and determination to be a part of the company. It is also important to be well prepared. “Candidates should always go out to an employer’s website to learn more about the company. It is important to answer questions in detail and give examples,” Raaf said.

Needless to say, a good first impression is paramount to success in an interview.

Candidates should always remember to follow up after every interview. Not only is it polite, but it also shows that you are interested. Whether it is with a thank you card or an e-mail, the gesture is appreciated and goes a long way.

Networking Trends

The recent uproar of social networking is another way to get connected. Social medias, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are emerging as beneficial ways to establish the contacts that can lead to potential employment opportunities. Employers look for professionalism within social media accounts as well, so be sure to market yourself appropriately

Following a few simple tips can keep your accounts looking professional. Think about keeping some of your information controlled by applying privacy settings and removing unwanted messages and photos. Make sure to post only information you are comfortable with others seeing and knowing about yourself. Also, choose your social network carefully. Evaluating the site that you plan to use and making sure you understand the privacy policy will ensure that the site is beneficial to you and your networking goals.


Erica Frederickson Mandi Gustafson Ray Hague Nick Laursen

From left to right: Erica Frederickson is a senior marketing major from Kaukauna, WI; Mandi Gustafson is a senior marketing major from Inver Grove Heights, MN; Ray Hague is a junior accounting major from Woodbury, MN; and Nick Laursen is a junior accounting major from Burnsville, MN. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.

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