What's an employer looking for?
Employers, whether within or outside academia, are looking for well rounded individuals that are capable of accomplishing job tasks through the use of their knowledge and skills. Each job role will be individual and as such you must market yourself appropriately for every opportunity.
The best way to understand what employers are looking for is to research the organisations you may be interested in working for. Explore websites and vacancies to understand the criteria of assessment and the expectations of a candidate. Most organisations will offer detailed job descriptions and person specifications which provide information on the key responsibilities and skills required or desired in the successful candidate. You can also try to locate company reports and future strategies through their websites.
Frequently you will find many organisations make information available on the benefits of working for them, however it may be useful to try and establish a personal contact. This could be done through a speculative approach to the company, through a networking opportunity, during an on campus presentation or through LinkedIn.com. By talking to someone within an organisation you will get an greater understanding of the organisation. For example you could explore working practices, internal communications, the company ethos, employee development and progression/promotion opportunities; all of which are important to understand before committing to a career with an organisation. Such opportunities may even result in the offer of work shadowing or work experience which will give you an inside view on the organisation.
Once you have a better understanding of the requirements and expectations of an organisation you can start to map your skills against the job requirements. Through this process you will identify any gaps you have in your skills set and can set about rectifying this through various activities.