Article: The Key Attributes Employers Seek on Students’ Resumes
By Kevin Gray and Andrea Koncz
Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers
MPACE Review: February 2018
Summary: Chrissy Conde
The following summary reviews the article “The Key Attributes Employers Seek on Students’ Resumes” by Kevin Gray and Andrea Koncz. The article summary below gives an overview of which attributes employers value most on a resume, and it goes beyond a strong GPA. The full article can be viewed at the following web address:
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) asked employers to participate in its Job Outlook 2018 Survey to better understand the key qualities that college students should reference through experience, on their resumes, to stand out amongst other job seekers. The ability for college students to work well in team-oriented environments, in addition to their ability to problem-solve, were ranked equally as top qualities employers desire the most, for a second year in a row. Other characteristics highly valued include written communication skills, leadership, and a strong work ethic.
When choosing the best qualified candidate for potential career opportunities, employers place high significance on a candidate’s work experience. NACE added four additional attributes as seen on past surveys. Before, employers referenced students’ majors as deciding factors between two top candidates. However, times have clearly changed because this year “the most influential factors are whether the candidate completed an internship with the hiring organization and whether the candidate has internship experience within the hiring organization’s industry.”
As mentioned previously, a student’s work experience, or lack thereof, can pose as more of a deciding factor when it comes to landing a job, than does their GPA, involvement in extracurricular activities, the college they attended, and any volunteer experience listed on their resume. Leadership, however, remains to stay top of mind for employers as does a student’s chosen major in relation to the job industry that they are applying for.
Implications for Career Center Professionals
Career Center professionals do a great job of setting students up for success through their implementation of resume workshops. With these NACE findings, it is imperative that these key attributes that employers seek in college students, are shared with them as they formulate a resume that can stand out amongst other job seekers. The Career Center should continue to place a focus on students gaining valuable work experience whether it be on-campus jobs or internships. It not only indicates to employers a student’s work ethic but their ability to build on their leadership capacity in addition to exposing themselves to that highly-valued teamwork environment.
Implications for Recruiting Professionals and Employers
Every industry may vary in regards to qualifications and job responsibilities, but what remains true are the intangible attributes that are held in high regard by recruiting professionals and employers as indicated in NACE’s Job Outlook 2018 Survey. Employers should keep an open mind when dissecting students’ resumes, not relying heavily on one’s GPA or even college attended, but more so on attributes that will be beneficial to the organization as a whole. Qualities such as the ability to solve problems and work as part of a team, definitely matter in the long run and attribute to the success of any company. Recruiting and hiring the best candidate on a team cannot be defined solely by how intelligent someone is in that classroom setting as indicated by a GPA, so recruiting professionals and employers need to delve deeper into a college student’s resume to find work experiences that support their leadership abilities, team-orientation, and work ethic, just to name a few.