The Secret is Out Part 1: What Employers Look for – Professionalism/Work Ethic

The Secret is Out: What Employers Look for (1 of 8)

by Mariana Ayerbe

Warning: this is blog 1 of 8! So there are technically 8 “secrets” I will share with you about what employers are actually looking for in recent college graduates. Next time you go on an interview, you will know what to focus on to hopefully get closer to a job offer.

Where did this come from? In December 2014, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) – which Mercy College is a proud member of – surveyed 606 employers across the United States who hire recent college graduates (i.e. you – soon!). Employers were asked to rate different competencies in terms of how essential they were to the success of a new hire in their organization.

We will discuss #1 today: Professionalism/ Work Ethic. This one topped the list with nearly 98% of employers rating it as essential or absolutely essential. In other words, you better make sure you have it! Regardless of industry or field, this is one thing every employer will want from you.

So what is it? According to NACE, it’s how you demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits and understand the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image. It’s how you act responsibly and learn from your mistakes. Or, like my dad likes to say “you know it when you see it”.

This is a great example from one of my students: “On Sundays I am the only associate who has to be at work at 8am. I know I could just go in later and nobody would notice but I like to be there on time. One day this paid off since my manager’s wife was outside the store when I arrived because her car had broken down and needed to come in to use the phone. My manager later called me to thank me for being dependable even when he was not around.”

    Being on time even when you’re the only one there – that’s professionalism!

So…. Can you come up with 1-2 examples of when you have shown professionalism/work ethic? I bet you have a lot more! Jot them down so you start getting your personal ‘cheat sheet’ ready for an interview.

Stay tuned for my next blog, What Employers Look for (secret 2 of 8)



By Mariana Ayerbe
Mariana Ayerbe Career in Curriculum Manager, Manhattan Campus