Infographic: The Great Reneging By The Numbers

Download this free resource to access the stats your team needs to minimize reneges.

Four workers gathered at a table, looking and pointing at a laptop

5 Skills Employers Look for in Entry-Level Employees

by | Apr 28, 2021 | Productivity, Student Life

The 5 top skills employers look for are leadership, communication, problem-solving, work ethic, and teamwork. These are important skills to highlight in your job search, but continue to work on them while in a new job.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills and Transferable Skills

A nurse speaking to a patient.

Skills come in two different types, hard skills, and soft skills. 

Hard skills are teachable and learnable technical skills. The hard skills you need for a job will depend on what field. But, a few broad ones are analytical skills, design skills, and management skills. 

Soft skills are interpersonal skills. These can be referred to as being more important because they cannot be taught on the job as easy as hard skills are. For example, there is no training to teach you how to have a work ethic. Therefore, soft skills are highly valued when it comes to hiring an entry-level employee! The top 5 skills are all soft skills. 

It is important to incorporate both hard and soft skill sets into a resume. 

Another type of skill is transferable skills. This just means that if you obtain a skill such as computer skills, that skill will transfer into other areas like Microsoft word and excel skills. Also, skills can transfer over job types. If you are a nurse and develop the ability to be a leader by leading other nurses, that skill can transfer if an individual chooses to change their career path. With those skills, it is important to frame them appropriately, which increases employability. 

What are the Top 5 Skills?

Two individuals working on a task together, the man is pointing to the woman's paper and she is holding a pen.


Leadership leads to success in an organization, therefore, it is desirable to have leadership skills in an entry-level employee. Although being a leader is not an easy task and it is not a skill that everyone has.

Specific skills within the broad skill of leadership are self-development, team development, critical thinking, ethical decisions, and innovation.


According to the 2018 survey by NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, verbal communication skills are ranked first in a job candidate’s skills and qualities. 

Communication skills are skills that everyone can continue to develop and grow throughout their lives. We communicate vocally, visually, written, or non-verbally. Show communication through the job process by having a well-developed resume that is worded with proper grammar and displays your experience the best it can. You may have experience but are you communicating that experience effectively to the employer? Then, express that communication through the interviews by preparing properly and understanding the STAR method for answering questions in an interview. 

Other skills that relate to communication are active listening, social skills, and a positive attitude. 


Problem-solving skills are necessary every single day. But are you correctly solving problems in an effective manner? That is what organizations are looking for. Not every problem is solved the same but there are great formats to practice with. 

Other skills that die into problem-solving are creativity, research, team working, emotional intelligence, and decision making. 

Work Ethic

Having a strong work ethic means that you are able to focus on tasks and get them done in an effective manner. Focus and work ethic ties together well. It takes training sometimes and forming good habits. The skills related to work ethic is organization and focus, project management, and time management. 


Almost every job requires employees to work together in a team format at some point. Therefore, a hiring manager will consider if you will mesh well with those teams as a team player. While not all teams work well together, it is important to prove your ability to be an adaptable team member.

Other skills that are related are collaboration, leadership, critical thinking, listening, communication skills, and planning.

How to Get Those Skills

A smiling woman working from her laptop with a cup of water next to her.


To show yourself as a leader, consider being on the executive board of a club. Take lead on group projects and showing that you took that lead. Improve by having a high level of participation and this will show. Beyond college, continuing to educate yourself on leadership practices, having a mentor for leading who is a leader, and shadowing leadership roles. Having a graduate education can help leadership skills, but typically not required for entry-level jobs. 


Focus on the seven C’s of communication. Those are clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous. Also, consider the elements of credibility and creativity. 

Use it as a checklist when drafting written communication. Especially your resume. Are your bullet points following these? Does your cover letter hit each of these points?

Practice this in all communication, verbal and written. This will show through in your resume, cover letter, and job interview. 


Problem-solving will be needed at every job. To improve your problem-solving skills, follow the Seven Steps to Bullet-Proof Problem Solving Skills are:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Disaggregate the issues
  3. Prioritize the issues, prune the tree
  4. Build a work plan and timetable
  5. Conduct critical analyses
  6. Synthesize findings from the analysis
  7. Prepare a powerful communication

Work Ethic

Creating a work ethic can be difficult and sometimes individuals can just write it off as if they just aren’t that type of person. But, everyone can build a better, more effective work ethic that is suited for them. Treat your body right, eliminate distractions, set standards for yourself, be dependable, and have a flexible schedule when work allows for it. 


To improve upon your ability to work in a team by learning about The Five Roles of an Effective Team. These roles are leader, creative director, facilitator, coach, and member. Figure out the best role for you and identify yourself as such. This way, the employer can see which role you fit in and if that role will actually work with the team of co-workers that they are hiring for.

To learn more about the job market and how to apply for jobs in specific fields, read more on the blog. But, also listen on the podcast for exclusive information directly from companies with internships and entry-level roles open!

About Scholars

Scholars helps companies build engaging candidate experiences at scale. Create personalized journeys for all of your candidates from application through onboarding.

About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.