What Is Most Important to Focus on Now for Success After College? Students’ Responses Mirror and Diverge From What Employers Consider Essential Skills

Jennifer Dyer-Seymour, Cameron Battersby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Graduating students sometimes struggle to match the skills they have learned in college with quali fi cations in job advertisements. In the present study, we assessed the extent to which employers and students agree on which skills are essential in new hires, and we tested whether the skills and knowledge students think are important for postcollege success can be in fl uenced by the way the psychology major is framed. Participants viewed a 1-min video where they heard a target student describe her path through the psychology major framed in one of two ways: either as a list of courses she took or as a set of learning goals she achieved. Participants then responded to two open-ended questions about what they should focus on now for postcollege success, as well as how they thought a potential employer would evaluate the target student. Results revealed some overlap between students responses and those from a nationwide sample of employers. Con- versely, some skills that employers consider essential were rarely mentioned by students. Further, when participants heard the major described as a list of courses they were more likely to note professionalism as an important skill to hone for postcollege success than when they heard the major described as a set of learning outcomes. These results suggest that a relatively small number of students know some of the skills that employers want in new hires, and the way the major is framed to students by faculty and advisors might in fl uence the particular skills and knowledge on which they focus.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalScholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology
StatePublished - Jul 22 2021


  • college transitions
  • learning goals
  • self-presentation skills
  • workforce graduates


  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Psychology

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