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11 Job Skills Employers Wished Young People Had (and How to Get Them)

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job hunting books Some recent grads aren’t quite prepared for the working world. | John Moore/Getty Images

Young people on the hunt for a new job have reason to celebrate. Nearly three-quarters of employers plan to hire recent college graduates in 2017, the highest share since 2007, a CareerBuilder survey of 2,380 hiring managers found. Starting salaries are up, too, with 39% of companies planning to pay new hires $50,000 a year or more.

Low unemployment plus a desire for fresh blood are contributing to a healthy hiring outlook for younger workers. “Competition for soon-to-be college grads is escalating to a degree we haven’t seen in the last 10 years,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. “In the current environment, where job unemployment continues to decrease and there’s continued competition for sought-after skills, employers are especially attracted to college graduates and the fresh perspective and skills they can bring to the workforce.”

Unfortunately, companies with ready-to-fill positions say some young people don’t have the chops to make it in the working world. Many HR managers CareerBuilder surveyed said recent graduates didn’t have a strong combination of both technical and liberal arts skills, weren’t prepared for more complex entry-level positions, and had spent too much time in school focused on book learning rather than developing real-world skills.

What specific job skills are young people lacking? We’ve highlighted the 11 areas where employers said recent grads were coming up short and explained what you can do to boost your skills and make yourself a more attractive candidate.