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  • What Do Employers Look for on Resumes?

    BETHLEHEM, PA—College students seeking full-time employment after graduation should be sure to craft a well-written resume, as employers responding to a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) said they will seek evidence of solid written communication skills on their candidates’ resumes.

    When NACE asked employers participating in its annual Job Outlook survey which skills and qualities—beyond a strong GPA—they most want to see showcased on students’ resumes, most cited written communication skills. (See Figure 1.)

    Problem-solving skills and an ability to work as part of a team are also highly desired—not surprising as these typically top employers’ “wish lists.” Initiative, analytical skills, and a strong work ethic were also cited by more than 70 percent of respondents as key.

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

    Attribute % of Respondents
    Communication skills (written) 82.0%
    Problem-solving skills 80.9%
    Ability to work in a team 78.7%
    Initiative 74.2%
    Analytical/quantitative skills 71.9%
    Strong work ethic 70.8%
    Source: Job Outlook 2019, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    About the Job Outlook 2019 survey: The Job Outlook survey is a forecast of hiring intentions of employers as they relate to new college graduates. Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveys its employer members about their hiring plans and other employment-related issues in order to project the market for new college graduates for the current class and to assess a variety of conditions that may influence that market. The survey is conducted in two parts: fall and spring. This release is based on data gathered in the fall. Data were collected from August 1, 2018, through October 8, 2018, for the Job Outlook 2019 survey. A total of 172 surveys were returned—an 18.5 percent response rate.

    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.