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10 Things Business Owners Look For In Graduates

This article contains information that will enable you to what business owners are looking for in graduates.

10 Things Business Owners Look For In Graduates
Explore popular things that business owners may look for in graduates when hiring for their companies.

As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, it is important for graduates to understand what business owners look for when recruiting new employees. According to Business Terms [1], a business owner is an individual who owns and operates a business, small or large, with the aim of deriving profit from its successful operation. He or she typically makes all important decisions for the business, and may work with partners or employees, or be the sole proprietor.

Typically, a business owner is an employer of labor. With this in mind, business owners seek candidates, particularly graduates who are believed to be educated and more competent with work.

Business owners often look for specific qualities and skills in graduates when recruiting for their companies.

In this article, we will explore ten (10) things that business owners may look for in graduates when hiring for their companies.

Here are ten things that business owners may look for in graduates:

1. Educational Background

Although we say that no course is irrelevant or more important than the other, the fact still remains that some courses are more lucrative and highly sought after than others. With this realization, business owners may look for graduates who have a degree in a relevant field of study. A relevant educational background can show that the candidate has a good understanding of the principles and practices that are necessary to succeed in the industry.

Also, beyond studying a lucrative course, employers also look out for graduates with excellent grades [3]. It’s rare for a person with a pass or 3rd to get picked first before a graduate with a G.P.A of 5.0 (first class).

2. Work Experience/Age

This has been one of the biggest challenges in the labor market over the years. This is especially for graduates who do not have any form of experience and have passed a certain age. But notwithstanding, in our world where there are lots of ways to gather experiences, such issues are reducing gradually while that of age remains unchanged because employers believe that the younger the candidate, the more productive.

The extensive and thorough application processes that are synonymous with graduate positions are designed to seek out more than just academic grades and knowledge. To this effect, most business owners prefer graduates who have relevant work experience.

They seek out experience that shows you can apply your knowledge to the real world. It’s quite possible they may not be interested in what you studied at university, instead, they would want to see a number of qualities that will allow them to easily groom you.

3. Relevant Skills

Skills are divided into hard skills and soft skills [2]. Hard skills involve the technical knowledge or know-how one can gain through experience, training, or education. For instance, technical skill.

On the other hand, soft skills are attributes and habits that describe how you work individually or with others. They are typically not job-specific but rather transferable skills that indirectly help you adapt to the work environment and company culture.

It is one thing to have loads of skills but it is another thing to have relevant skills. Business owners may look for graduates who have the necessary skills to perform the job. For instance, if the job requires analytical skills, the business owner may look for candidates who have a strong background in data analysis or statistical modeling.

4. Communication Skills

Business owners may look for graduates who have strong communication skills. Communication skills are essential for employees to effectively convey ideas, collaborate with others, and build relationships with clients and customers whether Ii is in spoken or written form..

5. Teamwork Skills

Gone are the days “I made it” used to be a thing. Today, teamwork has become more appreciated. Business owners may prefer graduates who have strong teamwork skills. Many business environments require employees to work collaboratively with others to achieve a common goal. Therefore, business owners may seek candidates who are comfortable working with others and can contribute to a team.

6. Leadership Potential

Another thing business owners look for in graduates is leadership potential [5]. Leadership skills are necessary for employees who are expected to take on managerial roles or lead projects. Business owners may seek candidates who have demonstrated leadership in their academic or extracurricular activities.

Perhaps, this is the most important skill employers look for in graduates. They want to know that you are capable of not just working on a particular project, but eventually leading it successfully.

7. Professionalism

Business owners may look for graduates who exhibit a high level of professionalism. This includes dressing appropriately, punctuality, and maintaining a positive attitude. Business owners want employees who can represent the company in a professional manner. Hence, as a graduate, you need more than a good grade to steal the heart of business owners.

8. Confidence

Confidence is sometimes a rare attribute of many graduates. While some people are confident, others aren’t. Confidence is a skill that can be developed, and if you are hoping to land a graduate role it’s one area of personal development you really want to pay attention to. The reason employers want a confident team is they tend to integrate better into a team and are open to sharing ideas without fear of rejection.

Come to think of it, which business thrives without ideas? None!

9. Cultural Fit

As seen on Business News Daily [4], cultural fit is a bit hard to define but can be noticed when missing. However, cultural fit means that employees’ beliefs and behaviors are in alignment with their employer’s core values and company culture.

Business owners may prefer graduates who fit in with the company culture. This means that the candidate shares the same values and beliefs as the company and can work well with the existing team. A good cultural fit can contribute to a positive work environment and increase employee satisfaction and productivity.

Sometime ago, I got a job to create graphics for a brand. This offer came from someone who had watched me closely over the years and was convinced that my values aligned with that of their brand. Imagine a modeling company coming to offer me a modeling job while I was more interested in content creation. In such a situation, that’s a value- mismatch and there is no way I will give my best in the job.

So, business owners look for the same thing in graduates. If your values and goals align with that of their company, they will certainly come for you.

10. Problem-solving Skills

Business owners may look for graduates who have strong problem-solving skills. In a business environment, employees are often required to identify problems and develop solutions quickly and efficiently. Graduates who can demonstrate their ability to analyze problems and provide creative solutions may have an advantage over other candidates.


Business owners may look for a range of skills and qualities in graduates when recruiting for their companies. Graduates who possess the necessary skills, experience, and qualities may have an advantage in the job market. Business owners seek candidates who can bring value to their company and contribute to their success. By understanding what business owners look for in graduates, graduates can tailor their job search and improve their chances of landing a job in their desired field. Whether it is through gaining relevant work experience, developing strong communication and problem-solving skills, or demonstrating leadership potential, graduates can position themselves as strong candidates for their dream job.

So, dear graduates, now that you are aware of what business owners seek in you, go and up your game in order to beat the competition in the labor market.


[1] “Business Owner.” Business Terms, 29 Jan. 2019, https://businessterms.org/business-owner/.

[2] Gerencer, Tom. “Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: List of Examples for Your Resume.” Zety, 8 Oct. 2018, https://zety.com/blog/hard-skills-soft-skills.

[3] Oparah, Chioma. “6 Things Business Owners Look for in a Graduate.” Explore the Best of East Africa, Eafinder, 26 Mar. 2020, https://www.eafinder.com/6-things-business-owners-look-for-in-a-graduate/.

[4] Schooley, Skye. “How to Hire an Employee for Cultural Fit –

Businessnewsdaily.com.” Business News Daily, businessnewsdaily.com, 28 Feb. 2017, https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6866-hiring-for-company-culture.html.

[5] “What Businesses Want from a Recent Graduate.” StudyLink, 22 Oct. 2013, https://studylink.com/articles/what-businesses-want-from-recent-graduate/.

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