At this time of year, as students are finishing university, the headlines are addressing some of the problems that graduates face when job hunting. A recent survey, for example, found that more than 75% of companies now require candidates to have a minimum of a 2:1. The problem is though, as well as a high degree grade, recruiters are looking for applicants with first-class employability skills. And, given the increased competition for jobs, they can afford to be ‘picky’ when it comes to choosing who to hire. This is making it very difficult for many former students to find work.

In order to address the problem, graduates need to have the right attributes that not only help them to cope with pressures of job searching, but that also make them stand out as an ideal candidate. Research by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has identified resilience as one of the most important global competencies and attributes employers are looking for in their graduates. So what are these desired attributes?

At a&dc, we see resilience as an essential skill, and we define it asan individual’s capacity to adapt positively to pressure, setbacks, challenge and change in order to achieve peak performance.’ Higher levels of resilience lead to positive consequences such as reduced stress, a constructive work attitude and improved job performance, and so it’s clear to see why it’s such a sought after quality for employers.

However, we need to recognise that the average student is not necessarily going to come out of university with high levels of resilience. This is because, with little work and life experience, many graduates lack the opportunities to develop resilience. It’s our job to up skill these new recruits, for example as part of the onboarding/graduate training programme. We believe by learning the right techniques and skills, any graduate can enhance their resilience and become more effective performers.

This week we will be talking about the issue of graduate resilience at the AGR conference. The annual event, which will take place in South Wales, will include a range of sessions centred around the theme of ‘Getting ahead of the game.’  This reflects the fact that graduate recruitment is a competitive market and, in order to ‘get ahead,’ you need to be able to find solutions to the challenges that are facing your organisation.  

We will be running a workshop at the AGR Conference on Tuesday 10th July with two sessions – 11am and 1pm – which will be highly interactive. Ali Shalfrooshan, Product Development Consultant, and Kathryn Lewis, Senior Consultant, will explore how to develop resilience by covering its definition, why it’s important, and the key characteristics of a resilient graduate.  This will lead onto a discussion on how graduates can enhance their personal resilience and ways in which organisations can support this process. We hope to see you there!

To find out more about developing individual resilience, visit

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