What employers look for from new graduates

NEW YORK (CNN) – New college grads and their parents are eyeing the latest jobs report for clues on where to land a starting role.

Grant Haver just graduated with a political science degree, but he’s back in this classroom hoping to shape some answers to some key questions.

“I’m thinking about, where am I going to live? What kind of job will I get? Salary, because up here is very expensive to live in the Washington D.C. area,” said Haver.

Just about every member of the class of 20-14 has similar worries, yet they remain optimistic.

A survey from consulting firm Accenture found 84 percent of this year’s grads expect to find a job in their chosen field. Among their predecessors in the classes of 20-12 and 20-13, however, almost half describe themselves as “underemployed.”

At George Mason University, career services director Christine Cruzvergara keeps tabs on the ever-changing list of fields in demand, but some themes stay the same.

“Some of the major things that we really try to hammer home with them are, be curious, always be learning. Be willing to be flexible and adapt to the changing environment that you’re in. That’s what’s going to help you be successful in your career,” Cruzvergara said.

Visheshta Chopra is still in graduate school, but anxious about the next steps, “We learn a lot of things from books in school, but how do you actually apply that in the real world, is a big question of mine.”

She’s not alone. The Accenture survey also found 80 percent expected some sort of formal training starting a job.

“Part of that is cultural. Part of that is skills that I’ll actually need to do my job in this company. And we see the direct correlation between assimilation and onboarding to productivity and performance,” Anthony Abbatiello said.

While some skill-building will come from an employer, it’s also on grads, so Haver will start a master’s program in the fall, to prepare him for workplace success in the field of cybersecurity, whenever that first job comes.

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