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What Employers Look for in Recent Graduates

August 20, 2014, 11:32 AM

What many of us have long taken to be the measure of scholastic success--our college grade point average--is of relatively little concern to most employers. In a new paper on job skills, Wharton professor Peter Cappelli argues that internships are now the most important line on your resume. The logic seems simple: before a company hires you to work in their offices, they'd like to know that you work well in the world beyond classroom papers and library stacks.

"Media and communications companies are gaga for internships and uniquely indifferent toward your classes. Health care companies care the most about your major, and white-collar businesses care the most about your GPA. Ironically, education employers care the least about grades."

Despite our national fascination with elite colleges and universities, most employers are not seeking out ivy league graduates partly because there are so few of them. Of the millions of Americans who enter college each year, ivy league students represent less than one percent of the population. That means work experience will trump elite educational institutions most of the time, which in some cases helps to create a more level playing field.

And if you can find an internship abroad, all the better. That exotic experience will help you stand out and you'll receive a better understanding of the challenges that people face in different regions of the globe. As Jeffrey Sachs explains...

Read more at the Atlantic

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