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Standing Out as an Applicant: 4 Experiences the Employer Wants to See

by Joanne Gemperline, ‘22, Career Associate Jul 5, 2021

“Can you tell me a little about yourself?”

This opening question to many interviews can be one of the hardest to answer. The possible answers are unlimited and completely unique to each individual. Where do you start?

When planning out your response to this critical question, TheBigInterview (a free resource for DeSales students) breaks down your answer into three sections:

  1. Who are you?
  2. Why are you qualified?
  3. Why are you here?

As you start to consider what you should mention in each of these sections, look to NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers), who determined through a study that when it comes down to two candidates applying for a position, employers value some experiences over others. So what should you mention in your interview, your resume, and your cover letter to put you over the edge? What experiences should you prioritize while you prepare for careers and beyond? According to NACE, there are four major experiences that an applicant should emphasize in order to get hired.

1. Internships

An internship, whether it be for academic credit or not, will offer you an experience of what the career is really about. You will have the ability to see yourself in that position as well as the opportunity to apply class material to a situation. The interviewer or employer will have the confidence that you know what the career is about and have some understanding of the job. NACE emphasizes that internships are one of the top considerations for employers. If you are interested in an internship, contact the Career Development Center to learn more!

2. Leadership Positions

A leadership position will help you to get picked for that unique internship, as well as look impressive to all employers. Opportunities to provide leadership exist in all areas of the DeSales University campus. Whether it be through a job, on the board of a club, a position in athletics, or SGA, students have the ability to demonstrate as well as develop their leadership qualities. When you have had this opportunity to lead, employers know that you have started your own development of transferable skills, and that they will only continue to grow. Although you may not be leading a group of individuals during the desired job or internship, having leadership skills will help you develop teamwork, communication, and cooperation- necessary and desirable skills for any profession.

3. Extracurricular Activities

It may come as a shock  that employers look for students and applicants with a history of extracurricular activities. But, these extracurriculars mean that you have well-rounded experience. Varied experiences are what make you who you are! As with leadership positions, extracurricular activities abound on campus! Check out ENGAGE to find out what’s being hosted by organizations around campus and the clubs open to all students.

4. Volunteer Work

Through offering your time, abilities, and talents to others, you demonstrate your attitude of service as well as gaining invaluable lessons. Although this may not seem as important as having paid work, volunteering shows a dedication that employers are looking for in employees. It also provides you with an experience you can talk about, one that is unique to you. This could even lead you to why you want to do your chosen career or internship.

Whether you're preparing for an interview, revising your resume, or just starting your professional career, consider pursuing these four areas of experience to demonstrate who you are and why you are the best candidate for any and all of your career goals!

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