The Skills CEO’s look for in College Graduates

By Brenda on July 5th, 2011


For many people, the point of going to college is to get a great job that will provide economic stability, financial prosperity, and happiness. You learn several specific skills in college depending on your major. Accounting, math, teaching, marketing, and computer science are just some of the specific skills graduates learn.

But there is a group of skills that many students forget about that are important to landing that first job. Why are they important you ask? They are important because they are the top skills CEO’s look for when hiring a candidate. The good news is that you can learn these skills no matter what year you are in college or what your major is. The most important skills according to CEO’s are:

Locus of Control

Locus of control comes in two varieties: internal and external. Those with an external locus of control are those who play the victim by blaming other people and their circumstances for their problems. In other words, they are the excuse makers.

Those with an internal locus of control view themselves as the main reason they either fail or succeed. They don’t blame others and they feel their future is entirely up to them. CEO’s love people with an internal locus of control.

Acknowledgement of Setbacks and Weaknesses

No one is perfect so don’t act like it when interviewing for a job. Of course you don’t want to make yourself look incompetent but hiring managers and top executives admire those who can learn from failure and mistakes. Being able to admit setbacks and failures shows you are a secure individual who is introspective. If asked about a setback be sure that you finish the story by telling what you learned from the experience.


CEO’s admire those who are not afraid to take calculated risks. Innovation and results are often fueled by fearless employees who want to do what’s best for the company and not just make a name for themselves.

Star Player vs. Team Player

Many college graduates make the mistake of trying to make themselves look like the start player rather than a team player. Just as a team cannot win when its roster is full of prima donnas an organization cannot fulfill its mission when it is made up of individuals all trying to hog the spot light.

The best CEO’s do not get mesmerized by talent. They recognize talent when they see it but they also want to make sure the person can be part of a team. The days of doing business as an individual are over. Work tasks are now accomplished by teams of people who must work together as a cohesive unit in one accord.

So continue to work your way through college focusing on your courses but don’t forget to neglect these important skills you’ll need after graduation. Put yourself in situations where you will be forced to develop these characteristics. By doing so you’ll improve your chances of landing a great job right out of college.



Category: Careers and Employment,Other and General,Uncategorized