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Trinity College Dublin

What Employers Want

Employers want to see your:

Academic qualifications

Not all employers are interested in the specific subjects in your degree. It is possible to become a marketeer or accountant without a degree in business studies. For example, some graduates, who have not studied for a degree in computer science, are working as information technology professionals.

Many employers will look for evidence of basic numerical ability - from school exam results if there is no evidence elsewhere. They like to see evidence of language and computing competency too...

Can you speak a European Language? If not, why not learn a language while in College, as an optional course.

Employers are interested in four main questions:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you do the job?
  • Will you fit in?
  • What else can you do?

These are abilities that you will be able to demonstrate as the outcome of your course.

Employers will certainly look at your academic ability and the consistency of your academic record.

Major multinational companies place great emphasis on your grades. Your grades in first and second year are as important as those in your final year.

Many other employers will place less emphasis on your grades and have a greater interest in you as a person and the use you have made of the opportunities you have been afforded in College.



These days employers are not only interested in academic qualifications but also in your personality. Employers want to know whether you have the personality traits and attitude that they value most. In other words, employers are interested in hiring people who ‘fit’ the job, who ‘fit’ the company culture and team.

In conducting your job search it is vital to research the personal traits, values and outlook valued by the employer. Then take time to reflect on your own personality and previous situations in your life that captured your values and qualities.

While in an interview demonstrate your personality and desired traits by drawing on specific examples from the past and link them to the job you are applying for.

More information availableLearn more about the relevance of personality to employers in Destinations®.

More information availableFor further information on the consideration employers give to personality when recruiting see Competencies at Destinations®.

Explore your personality at Destinations® Self awareness.

Passion and enthusiasm differentiate great candidates from average ones. Skills and qualities that employers value highly and look for (without necessarily asking direct questions about them) during the selection process are listed below.

Skills and Qualities that Employers Seek

Skills and qualities that employers value highly and look for (without necessarily asking direct questions about them) during the selection process, are some of the following:

  • Drive/Energy - the desire to get things done.
  • Motivation - enthusiasm, a willingness to ask questions, keen to do that little bit extra on each job.
  • Communication skills - the ability to explain things clearly, through speech and in writing, in our own and, increasingly, another's language.
  • Determination - someone who will not back off when a problem or situation gets tough.
  • Confidence - able to relate to people at all levels, friendly, open and honest in their communications.
  • Reliability - follows up and doesn't rely on others to ensure that a job is done.
  • Analytical ability - doesn't jump to the first solution that presents itself.
  • Honesty/Integrity - a willingness to take responsibility for your actions.
  • Pride in a job well done - someone who is attentive to detail.
  • Dedication - does whatever it takes in time and effort to ensure a successful result.
  • Listening skills - to understand and take account of alternative points of view.
  • Business awareness - knows what makes money and saves money.
    Video availableHear what a UK employer has to say about business awareness.
  • A recent survey of Biotechnology companies in Ireland & Europe identifies 26 skills useful for students. A flyer has been developed to help you identify scenarios/examples in your life that you can use to demonstrate these skills - useful when preparing your CV and interviews.
  • The 2012 National Survey of Employer Views on Higher Education conducted by IBEC identified the percentage of employers rating skills as either Important or Very Important:
    • Communicating in writing apropriately and effectively (99%)
    • Ability to apply professional and/or technical knowledge in the workplace (99%)
    • Concern for quality and detail (98%)
    • Working effectively on their own (98%)
    • Thinking Critically or Analytically (95%)
    • Communicating verbally appropriately and effectively (90%)
    • Business Acumen / awareness (85%)
    • Leadership / leading others (56%)
    • Entrepreneurial Skills (39%)
  • Exercises availableReview the skills you have developed through your course, work experience and extra curricular activities at Destinations® Self awareness.

More information availableVideo availableDestinations® has research references on qualities and skills that employers seek and a video on one employer's views on what interpersonal skills really mean.



Interests often take up very little space on a CV or application form but they are important to the employer for what they say about your motivation and what you are enthusiastic about.

More information availableLearn more about why employers care about your interests and how your answer to a question on interests can give a more rounded picture of your passions and skills at Destinations®.

Exercises availableIdentify, prioritise and analyse your interests at Destinations® Self awareness.


Stand out from the crowd

Possession of some or all of the qualities and skills above will make you a very effective employee. You will make a difference in an organisation as well as someone who is pleasant to work with.

All of these "softer" skills can be developed during your time in College. Being aware of your abilities and how they relate to an employer's requirements means that you won't be tongue tied when asked at interview "what kind of person are you?"

Being employable is a concept often used to describe someone who has the abilities and potential of a good employee, i.e. to secure a job and to remain employable in the long term. It is about the continuing need to be flexible, understand your capabilities, and sell them to employers. And this need will exist throughout your working life.

Employers will expect you to give examples of these abilities. These examples may be taken from your academic work, or your involvement in:


Find out exactly what employers want:


  • Colm Cunningham, Bank of New York Mellon, Head of Fund Accounting
  • Sean Delaney, Ericsson Multimedia Training
  • Ciara McDevitt, Senior Brand Manager, Jameson
  • Jennifer Navan, CPL
  • Sarah Orpwood, i-to-i Work and Travel Advisor


Map your Skills, Experiences and other attributes

Please note that Destinations® does not save your answers, you must save and print the work you have done to keep a record of it.



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