NACE Logo NACE Center Logo
National Association of Colleges and Employers NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition®
mobile menu
  • The Attributes Employers Want to See on College Students’ Resumes

    BETHLEHEM, PA—College students hoping to catch the eye of recruiters for full-time jobs and internships should highlight problem-solving, analytical, and teamwork skills on their resumes, according to results of a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

    Nearly 86% of employers responding to NACE’s Job Outlook 2022 survey are seeking evidence of problem-solving skills on the resumes of the students they are recruiting this year. Meanwhile, more than three-quarters are looking for proof of candidates’ analytical/quantitative and teamwork skills. (See Figure 1.)

    “These same three essential skills were the top three attributes employers looked for last year as well, signaling their consistent importance to employers,” says Shawn VanDerziel, NACE executive director.

    On the other hand, the importance of several other resume attributes—particularly verbal communication skills—have tumbled down the list. Last year, nearly three-quarters of responding employers sought indications of strong verbal communication skills on resumes. This year, just 58.8% of employers are looking for evidence of them.

    “At the same time, written communication skills remain highly important to employers,” VanDerziel notes.  

    “Perhaps this is happening, in part, because of the growing prevalence of electronic communication and the increasing infrequency of in-person, face-to-face interactions in our current virtual environment.”

    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

    About Job Outlook 2022: The Job Outlook survey is a forecast of hiring intentions of employers as they relate to new college graduates. 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.

    About NACE: Established in 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is the only professional association in the United States that connects more than 9,800 college career services professionals, more than 3,300 university relations and recruiting professionals, and more than 300 business solution providers that serve this community.

    NACE is the premier source of market research on career readiness and employment of recent college graduates. NACE forecasts hiring and trends in the job market; tracks salaries, recruiting and hiring practices, and student attitudes and outcomes; and identifies best practices and benchmarks.

    NACE offers its members unparalleled research, networking and professional development opportunities, guidance on standards and ethics, and advocacy on key issues. For more information, visit NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media.