Supporting and connecting: Employability skills

NACE’s Job Outlook 2020 survey found that beyond a relevant major for the position and a strong GPA, problem-solving skills and the ability to work as part of a team are the attributes employers most want to see on resumes. Ninety-one percent of employer respondents are seeking signs of a candidate’s problem-solving skills, and 86 percent want proof of a candidate’s ability to work as part of a team. (See Figure 1.)

Other top attributes this year are a strong work ethic, analytical/quantitative skills, written communication skills, leadership, and verbal communication skills.

These skills remain the ones employers most want to see on resumes. In fact, the top eight resume attributes that employers are focused on this year were also the top eight “most wanted” attributes last year, albeit in a different order of importance. For example, the largest percentage of employers last year sought written communication skills; these skills fall to fifth on this year’s list of top resume attributes.

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

Problem-solving skills 91.2%
Ability to work in a team 86.3%
Strong work ethic 80.4%
Analytical/quantitative skills 79.4%
Communication skills (written) 77.5%
Leadership 72.5%
Communication skills (verbal) 69.6%
Initiative 69.6%
Detail-oriented 67.6%
Technical skills 65.7%
Flexibility/adaptability 62.7%
Interpersonal skills (relates well to others) 62.7%
Computer skills 54.9%
Organizational ability 47.1%
Strategic planning skills 45.1%
Friendly/outgoing personality 29.4%
Entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker 24.5%
Tactfulness 24.5%
Creativity 23.5%
Fluency in a foreign language 2.9%