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  • The Top Attributes Employers Want to See on Resumes

    BETHLEHEM, PA—College students looking to impress potential employers should provide evidence of their problem-solving skills and teamwork abilities on their resumes, according to a new survey report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

    NACE’s Job Outlook 2020 survey found that beyond a relevant major for the position and a strong GPA, problem-solving skills and the ability to work as part of a team are the attributes employers most want to see on resumes. Ninety-one percent of employer respondents are seeking signs of a candidate’s problem-solving skills, and 86 percent want proof of a candidate’s ability to work as part of a team. (See Figure 1.)

    Other top attributes this year are a strong work ethic, analytical/quantitative skills, written communication skills, leadership, and verbal communication skills.

    These skills remain the ones employers most want to see on resumes. In fact, the top eight resume attributes that employers are focused on this year were also the top eight “most wanted” attributes last year, albeit in a different order of importance. For example, the largest percentage of employers last year sought written communication skills; these skills fall to fifth on this year’s list of top resume attributes.

    Figure 1: Attributes Employers Seek on a Candidate’s Resume

    Attribute % of Respondents
    Problem-solving skills 91.2%
    Ability to work in a team 86.3%
    Strong work ethic 80.4%
    Analytical/quantitative skills 79.4%
    Communication skills (written) 77.5%
    Leadership 72.5%
    Communication skills (verbal) 69.6%
    Initiative 69.6%
    Detail-oriented 67.6%
    Technical skills 65.7%
    Flexibility/adaptability 62.7%
    Interpersonal skills (relates well to others) 62.7%
    Computer skills 54.9%
    Organizational ability 47.1%
    Strategic planning skills 45.1%
    Friendly/outgoing personality 29.4%
    Entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker 24.5%
    Tactfulness 24.5%
    Creativity 23.5%
    Fluency in a foreign language 2.9%
    Source: Job Outlook 2020, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    About Job Outlook: Data for the Job Outlook 2020 survey were collected from August 1, 2019, through September 30, 2019. This year’s data collection not only surveyed 905 NACE employer members, but also 2,229 employer organizations that were nonmembers. A total of 150 surveys were returned; 115 were NACE members and the remaining 35 were nonmembers. Of those responding, 10 percent are from New England, 10.7 percent are from the Southwest, 12.7 percent are from the Southeast, 12.7 percent are from the Rocky Mountain/Far West, 13.3 percent are from the Plains, 18 percent are from the Mideast, and 22.7 percent are from the Great Lakes.

    About NACE: Since 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has been the leading source of information about the employment of college graduates. For more information, visit NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media.