Home Student & Career Tips 6 Things Business Owners Look For in a Graduate in 2024

6 Things Business Owners Look For in a Graduate in 2024

This article contains information on What Business Owners Look For in a Graduate.

6 Things Business Owners Look For in a Graduate

There are things business owners look for in a graduate. Hence, it’s one thing to be a graduate and another thing to be an employable graduate.

As a graduate, passing through the four walls of a school should shape you in both character and learning, but unfortunately, most graduates do not portray themselves like they have ever sat in a classroom.

It’s no doubt that the Educational system in this part of the world is unfavourable but as a youth, that is not a reason to become an unemployable graduate. The fact is, school can never teach you everything.

Most graduates who are successful in various fields today did not get to that level because of what lecturers taught them only, but because they made extra efforts to acquire more knowledge outside classroom teachings. Education is only there to give you an edge over someone who is not educated.

Are you a graduate, and after years of graduation no good job is forthcoming? I understand that the number of unemployed graduates is becoming alarming. If you are already contemplating quitting the job search after countless fruitless efforts, carefully go through some of the things I will be writing about, you may be lacking something very important.

Being a graduate with a certificate might not just be enough, there are striking things an employer seeks for in you, some of which may be clearly stated in the job advertisement.


So, here are what business owners really look for in a graduate and lack of these things may be hindering [1] you from getting your dream job.

1.  Academic Performance

This is where your Cumulative Grade Point Average ( CGPA) comes into play. What did you graduate with? Is it a First class, 2.1, 2.2, or a pass? This goes a long way to show how serious you were in school. I know that many paid their way through school but on the day of reckoning, when that result will need to be defended, the chaff will be separated from the wheat.

However, business owners are so keen about your academic performance, no employer would want to go for a graduate with poor grades except in very rare cases. So, have it in mind that your academic performance is very paramount and business owners lookout for this. If you think that what you graduated with doesn’t matter, you’re wrong.

2.  Skills

As a graduate, know that what you studied and the grades you graduated with is not enough. An employer is also after what you can do, he is very interested in your transferable skills.

Skills, however, can be Soft or hard skills.

Soft skills are skills that are either acquired from previous work experiences or self-developed in the course of life. Examples of soft skills include interpersonal skills, leadership, adaptability, communication skills etc, while hard skills are skills that are learned, mostly require training. They are mostly technical skills.

Examples of hard skills include coding ability, graphics designing, foreign language skills, etc.

Some top skills employers look for in graduates are;

  • Interpersonal relationship skills
  • Time management
  • Confidence
  • Decision-making skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Creative problem-solving skill
  • Adaptability
  • Good communication and writing skills.

A Business owner wants a graduate that possesses most, if not all of these skills. An employer needs one who can add value to his organization. If you are without such skills, the labour market will be so unfavourable.

Employers are after your skills as a graduate, they are not interested to know when and how you acquired it, especially hard skills. It is however wise and advisable to go extra miles as an undergraduate to acquire these skills.

Go for training, take up internship jobs, volunteer etc. These are the best ways to gain experience and acquire these skills before becoming a graduate. No lecturer will teach you this in school.

3.  CV/ Resumé Appearance

This is where many graduates are getting it all wrong. Having a mind-blowing result and skill is good, but how do you present this information in your CV? Your CV/ Resumé is what presents you to any employer first before you are invited for an interview.

Some graduates have searched for employment for years to no avail, your CV might just be your problem. Have a good and catchy CV, if you cannot construct one, employ the services of an expert to help you do so. You would not want your CV to be tossed aside when a business owner comes in contact with it.

You do not need to lie in your CV, just be professional about the information. This is another important aspect, business owners look out for in graduates.

4.  Interview Performance

This is very important. A professional and well-constructed CV only offers you the opportunity for a scheduled interview. That is when you are given the opportunity to prove yourself.

Remember what I said earlier about separating the chaff from the wheat? For those that may have paid to graduate with good grades, an interview session is the day of reckoning.

Right from the moment you step into the room, the employer has started observing. He pays attention to every detail, he wants to be sure you possess what is contained in your CV. I have seen cases where a first-class graduate with a very attractive CV messed up so badly in the course of an interview, this is what I usually refer to as a “BEAUTIFUL NONSENSE”.

You may not know the answer to every question you’re asked, but try your best to convince your employer, show some confidence, high level of self-confidence is expected from you in an interview session.

This is one important skill you need to display. Self-confidence is not the same as overconfidence. Overconfidence is deadly. Interview session offers you the graduate, an opportunity to prove your soft skills, utilise that opportunity wisely and do not mess it up. Your chances of getting employed lies on your interview performance. Please make the best use of that opportunity. Once lost, it cannot be regained except with divine intervention.

5.  Experience

A business owner is after a graduate with experience. It is easier to see a graduate with ample working experience in foreign countries. Over there, students are given the opportunity to work while schooling but for those of us here in Africa, finding a graduate with such experience, business owners seek, is a herculean task but notwithstanding, there are ways to get such experience, such includes taking up internship jobs, volunteering etc. Such avenues help an undergraduate to gain experience which will be highly useful when seeking for a job as a graduate.

I have noticed the trend of business owners seeking employees with 3-5 years of experience and this makes it very difficult for fresh graduates to secure a befitting job in the country. So as a graduate, have it at the back of your mind that business owners also look out for the experience you have. The number of years of experience has become a discouraging factor, regardless, work towards acquiring an experience before graduation, it makes it a whole lot easier when in the labour market.

6.  Age

Just like the number of years of work experience, business owners also seek graduates of a particular age range, depending on the nature of the job.


In conclusion, these are some of the things business owners look out for in graduates but above all, a business owner is basically after a graduate with skills, transferable skills. Now that you know what Business owners are looking for in graduates, identify the areas you’re lagging in and work on it.

Good luck.


[1] Emam, S. (2023, May 26). Unraveling the mystery: 10 factors hindering job seekers’ success. Linkedin.com. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/unraveling-mystery-10-factors-hindering-job-seekers-success-emam.

Don’t miss out on current updates, kindly like us on Facebook & follow us on  OR leave a comment below for further inquiries.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here