• Job Outlook: The Candidate Skills/Qualities Employers Want, the Influence of Attributes

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    November 12, 2014

    When considering new college graduates for job openings, employers are looking for leaders who can work as part of a team and communicate effectively, according to respondents to NACE’s Job Outlook 2015 survey.

    When employers were asked which attributes they look for on a candidate's resume, the biggest group of respondents (77.8 percent) chose both "leadership" and "the ability to work in a team structure." (See Figure 1.)

    These skills/qualities are followed by “written communication skills,” “problem-solving skills,” “strong work ethic,” and “analytical/quantitative skills.”

    Further evidence that having leadership skills can make or break a hiring decision is that when employers are forced to choose between two equally qualified candidates, they will choose the one with leadership skills over the other. (See Figure 2.)

    The student’s academic major and a high GPA are also key determining factors.

    Data for the Job Outlook 2015 survey was collected from August 11, 2014, through October 7, 2014. A total of 260 surveys were returned for a 25 percent response rate. The Job Outlook 2015 report is available at www.naceweb.org/surveys/job-outlook.aspx or through the MyNACE area at www.naceweb.org/job-outlook/index.aspx.