You are all getting (or have gotten) a great technical background. Employers tell us that MSOE students can go toe-to-toe on a technical basis against any other college graduates in the country. However, strong technical skills in engineering, business, and nursing will only get you so far in your job search. Other skills are also extremely important to employers, and these are the ones that will help you stand out from the competition.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed employers around the country, and found that above all, they’re looking to hire candidates with outstanding communication skills and who are team players. These skills are followed by decision making and problem solving skills, information processing, and the ability to plan and organize work.
The least important candidate skills/qualities on the list are the “ability to create and/or edit written reports” and the “ability to sell or influence others.”
MSOE has a tool (Professional Development Transcript) designed to help students and alumni track and record activities that develop the important interpersonal skills. More information can be found here: http://careernet.msoe.edu/pdt/
Following is the list of the employer ratings from the Job Outlook 2013 report:
Employers rate the importance of candidate skills/qualities
Weighted average rating*
Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization
Ability to work in a team structure
Ability to make decisions and solve problems
Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work
Ability to obtain and process information
Ability to analyze quantitative data
Technical knowledge related to the job
Proficiency with computer software programs
Ability to create and/or edit written reports
Ability to sell or influence others
*5-point scale, where 1=Not at all important; 2=Not very important; 3=Somewhat important; 4=Very important; and 5=Extremely important
Source: Job Outlook 2013, National Association of Colleges and Employers Data for the Job Outlook 2013 survey was collected from July 25, 2012 through September 10, 2012. A total of 244 surveys were returned—a 25.2 percent response rate.