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Critical Skills

Each year the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducts a survey to learn the types of skills/qualities employers value in recruiting new hires. As in previous years, those listed below remain in the top 10 list.

Top 10 Qualities Employers Seek

  1. Communication skills -both in verbal and written effectiveness
  2. Honesty/Integrity - conducting ones self professionally
  3. Teamwork skills - the ability to work collaboratively with others
  4. Interpersonal skills - ability to engage and relate well to others
  5. Strong work ethic - valuing hard work and commitment
  6. Motivation/Initiative - enthusiasm and proactive in their work
  7. Flexibility/Adaptability - adapting to changing conditions and roles
  8. Analytical skills - analyzing complex information and forming solutions
  9. Computer skills - understand and use technology
  10. Organizational skills - manage multiple tasks and meet deadline

While noting the current economy, employers surveyed say that while job opportunities will be available, there will be fewer than in past years. Two out of five employers expect to maintain their college hiring at the same level as last year. As some markets are noting job cuts, government and non-profit organizations project a 20.5 percent increase in college hiring.

The NACE survey results suggest that today employers have the luxury of being more selective in the people they hire due to the current job market. This means that in order to be more competitive, new graduates will have to have done their "homework" to develop and strengthen these skills. Along with this, employers offer the following advice:

  • Research the company: its culture, historical success, products/services, and financial information - before showing up for the interview. Ask intelligent questions based on what you know about the organization.
  • Start early and hang in there: begin your job search at least 6 months prior to graduation. Attend job fairs, company information sessions, informational interviews, and on-campus interviewing programs. Network and develop relationships with recruiters.
  • Get Experience: students who have career-related work experience through internships, co-ops, and volunteering have an edge in the job market - 75 percent of employers prefer to hire graduates with real world experience.
  • Use the Career Services office: Register in Career Services jobs database, use the on-campus recruiting program, get your resume and job letters critiqued, learn about job hunting and practice interviewing, and learn how to market yourself.