Career Services

What Do Employers Really Want?

Whether you are a student or a veteran of the workforce, you possess valuable skills that employers seek in a new hire. Identifying your 'soft skills' and translating them into eye-catching resume bullets can be difficult. This article from Quintessential Careers can help you express your soft skills in terms that employers will find attractive.


Andrew Grinaker:
Passionate. Accountable. Self Starter. Be passionate in whatever you do. Hold yourself accountable for all actions, personal and professional. And lastly don't wait for someone else to do a self starter.

Kimberly Hansen Myhre (Chicago Public Schools, Teach for America):
I look for diversity of experiences in either a work or volunteer capacity that indicate the person is a flexible and creative thinker. I value flexibility of the mind over creativity because creativity can be inspired in group work. I also look for projects in the work/ experience that require initiative on the part of the candidate to be completed. I am not worried about whether the idea for the project was the candidate's as much as whether or not that person had to make decisions and what the outcome was.

Winston Bonnheim:
If the job is entry level, motivation and culture fit are the key things. A lot of other things can be taught. If the job is not entry level, then motivation, culture fit, and having the core skill set required are the primary factors.

Danielle Wallace:
For me as a Sales Manager, I am looking for someone with the right "attitude". Attitude is a factor in many things... motivation, reliability, hard worker, honest, etc. I'm not as focused on the experience as I am on the attitudes that make up the person.

Sue Ambler (Workforce Snohomish):
I conduct every final interview for WORKFORCE Snohomish. I am looking for integrity. If somehow a candidate does not communicate integrity I do not approve the hire. Yes, I have turned down very educated, talented and nice people.

Andrew Kerr (Carolina for Kibera):
Veterans, talent in their field, determination, volunteer service, the ability to problem solve and think creatively.

Tony Jackson (Tableu Software):

  • Individuals who tend to find success in a sales career path are most commonly intelligent, confident, competitive, coachable, money motivated, eager to overachieve and have strong communication and social skills.
  • Education concentrations that generally translate well include business, communications and psychology, with study abroad experience and strong academic performance a big plus.
  • Prior involvement in competitive team sports and leadership roles, along with work and internship experience that is performance driven or results oriented generally prepare entry level sales candidates for success.

Tanuja Guaptu (Google):

  • Is this person passionate about the space she's working in? Does the person read the journals/websites about her particular industry and can speak about trends?
  • Is this someone I'd want to work with?
  • Do I think this person can learn what she doesn't know or is she limited to what she already knows?
  • How will this person deal with failure?
  • Can this person transcend cultural barriers to get the job done? (we work in a largely international office)