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  • Problem-solving Skills Top Attributes Employers Seek on Resumes

    November 12, 2021 | By Kevin Gray

    Candidate Selection
    A group of recruiters review a stack of resumes.

    TAGS: trends and predictions, surveys, nace insights

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    Career services professionals should advise their students to put problem-solving skills front and center on their resumes.  

    Nearly 86% of employers responding to NACE’s Job Outlook 2022 survey will be seeking evidence of problem-solving skills on the resumes of the students they are recruiting. (See Figure 1.)

    Rounding out the top three attributes employers are seeking on student resumes this year are analytical/quantitative skills and the ability to work as part of a team. These same three attributes—problem-solving, analytical, and teamwork skills—were in the top three last year as well, although in a slightly different order, indicating their importance to employers.

    Also important to employers is a strong work ethic, and results suggest it has grown in importance. More than 70% percent of respondents cited it as a key attribute this year, up from approximately 65% last year.

    The Job Outlook survey is an annual forecast of hiring intentions of employers as they relate to new college graduates; the current survey examines employer hiring plans for the college Class of 2022. Data for the Job Outlook 2022 survey were collected from August 18, 2021, through October 1, 2021. Of the 157 total respondents, 116 were NACE employer members, representing 15.7 percent of eligible member respondents. The Job Outlook 2022 survey was also distributed to nonmember companies from which an additional 41 responses were received. The Job Outlook 2022 report is available to members in MyNACE.

    Figure 1: Resume attributes for the Class of 2022 and the Class of 2021

    Attribute % of Respondents Seeking for Class of 2022 % of Respondents Seeking for Class of 2021
    Problem-solving skills 85.5% 79.0%
    Analytical/quantitative skills 78.6% 76.1%
    Ability to work in a team 76.3% 81.0%
    Communication skills (written) 73.3% 72.7%
    Initiative 72.5% 67.8%
    Strong work ethic 71.0% 65.4%
    Technical skills 64.9% 67.8%
    Flexibility/adaptability 63.4% 65.9%
    Detail-oriented 62.6% 56.1%
    Leadership 60.3% 67.8%
    Communication skills (verbal) 58.8% 73.2%
    Interpersonal skills (relates well to others) 56.5% 57.6%
    Source: Job Outlook 2022 and Job Outlook 2021, National Association of Colleges and Employers