Skills Required by Employers

Employers want to know college graduates can apply what they learned while in college. Employers are more likely to consider an applicant who has participated in at least one internship that would demonstrate job experience and initiative. Hands-on experience gained from a senior project or collaborative research project is also valued. Students are strongly encouraged to develop an electronic portfolio, in addition to summarizing and demonstrating accomplishments in key skill and knowledge areas. 

Skills

Description

Analytical Reasoning, Critical Thinking, Research and Problem Solving Skills

Using logic and reasoning to identify strengths, weaknesses, alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems

Communication Skills (written and oral)

Employers want active listeners, effective speakers, and employees with skills to create and edit written reports

Teamwork

Having the ability to work with others from diverse backgrounds in a professional manner while achieving a common goal

Leadership Skills 

Being able to take charge and manage a project or co-workers

Interpersonal Skills

Ability to relate to co-workers, inspire others, and mitigate conflict

Adaptability/Flexibility

Work under pressure, set priorities, apply knowledge and skills in new situations, multitask, open to new ideas, and work independently

Computer/Technical Literacy

Skills with computer hardware/software including Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Microsoft Word (certifications are a bonus)

Planning/Organizing

Ability to design, organize, and implement projects within and allotted timeframe

Quantitative Skills

Being able to understand and work with numbers and statistics

Industry Related Work, Internships and Applied Projects

Employers value job candidates who have acquired hands-on experience and understand realities affecting organizations

Motivation/Drive

Ability to focus on specific goals and gain satisfaction when achieved

Strong Work Ethic

Possessing integrity, responsibility, quality work, discipline, and diligence

Innovativeness

Changing something established by introducing new methods, ideas, or products

Decision Making Skills

Employers want job candidates to consider costs and benefits to develop workable solutions

Global Mindset

Understanding the global context in which decisions are made

[1] NOTE: Information was gathered directly from 15 talent recruiters as well as from reviewing thirty-two published reports detailing what employers seek in new college graduates.A few of the major reported findings reviewed include:

  • Falling Short? College Learning and Career Success Selected Findings from Online Surveys of Employers and College Students Conducted on Behalf of the Association of American Colleges & Universities By Hart Research Associates. (January 20, 2015) 
  • Top Ten Things Employers Look for in New College Graduates
  • Quintessential Careers Skills (2014)
  • National Association of College Employers (NACE) 
  • American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
  • LEAP: What Employers Want – Wake Forest University
  • College Learning and Career Success – ISEEK
  • What Skills do Employers Want – Workforce Solutions