Chuck Bentley: What Employers Are Looking for When Hiring New Graduates

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

My husband and I anticipate graduating in May. I’ve read that our resumes are extremely important. While he has part-time job and internship history, mine is very limited. We have student loans and hope to land great jobs as soon as we can. Could you tell me what employers are really looking for when hiring new graduates and how to land the right job?

Hoping to be Employable

Dear Employable,

Congratulations! My wife and I married our senior year of college and entered the workforce full-time together. It’s an exciting season of life: full of hopes, dreams, and many decisions.

Here’s my bullet point advice:

  • Know what you can do to add value to an employer.
  • Don’t embellish your résumés.
  • Know your “Why.”

Here are some key attributes employers look for in recent graduates. Compare this list against an inventory of your strengths and talents.

Work Ethic

Always approach work with the opportunity to give glory to God.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24 ESV)

An internship or experiential opportunity demonstrates work ethic and provides credible references. Employers and hiring managers want to see a proven track record of success. Any projects you worked on as an intern could make the difference between landing a great post-graduation job or being stuck on the hunt for the next six months.

Industry-Relevant Skills

Employers know that most recent college graduates may not be prepared for the workforce and will need some on-the-job training. This costs company time and resources. But if you are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute from day one, you will make a great impression.

I do not suggest you invest in career skills at the expense of your formal education. Prioritize your coursework. But during your Christmas or spring break, enroll in an open online course (MOOC) through Coursera or edX. Learn a new programming language, a popular accounting software, or a skill-set related to your field of work. Focusing on trending careers that are in high demand can also make you more employable.


Although work ethic and ambition often go hand in hand, they are different. Someone with a great work ethic might be willing to show up early and stay late to get a project done, but, may not be driven to achieve greater and greater feats.

Industries evolve, and employers hire candidates who seek new challenges. Share a list of self-directed achievements or goals you have accomplished in the past or want to pursue within a company. Some campus activities may be applicable. This reveals to employers that you are highly driven and eager for advancement opportunities.

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Source: Christian Post