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Most desirable traits in new hires

After visiting several companies in Ohio for the 2013 Job Shadow Program, I found employers emphasizing two necessary skills in candidates. Employees from all levels of companies (vice presidents, managers, recruiters, first year engineers, etc.) stressed the importance of communication and teamwork abilities in employees. Without a doubt, these particular soft skills will help students be competitive when applying for internships, co-ops, and career employment.

An annual survey of the job market for recent college graduates reveals that certain qualities show up on employers “most desired” list time and time again. According to the results of NACE’s Job Outlook 2013 report, employers rated the “ability to communicate with persons inside and outside the organization” and the “ability to work in a team structure” as the two most important candidate skills/qualities.

As a future employee, you will need to work in teams that involve many company departments in order to find solutions to problems. This will involve many people, all with unique backgrounds and differing expectations. What might be important to you might not be important to them. Ultimately, communication and teamwork abilities will play a vital role in your success.

At this moment, you might be asking yourself, “Do I possess strong communication skills? Am I a team player?” If you didn’t answer the above questions with a confident yes, there are ways to improve these areas.  Public speaking courses and mock interviews are great ways to enhance your communication skills. Etiquette and networking events will provide opportunities to develop confidence in your communication with employers. Volunteering, playing intramurals, and leading a student organization are all activities that reveal teamwork experience you might not learn in the classroom.

Set some time aside to evaluate your qualities and skills. Are communication and teamwork highlighted on your resume? Will you be comfortable providing examples of these skills during an interview? If you are lacking in specific areas, develop a plan in which you enhance these important hiring factors!

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses."
-Marilyn vos Savant quotes

About the author

Kaitlin Schafer

Kaitlin Schafer is a Career Counselor at Engineering Career Services.