The Secret is Out Part 2: What Employers Look for – Critical Thinking/Problem Solving Skills

This is part of a series of blogs: #2 of 8! If you missed the first one, you can read it here:

Onto the next secret of what employers are looking for in recent college graduates: Critical Thinking/ Problem Solving Skills. You are probably very familiar with this one – may have even taken a class with this title. But would you be able to demonstrate how competent you are in this area in an interview? You’ll want to prepare because 96.3% of employers in a recent survey done by NACE rated it as ‘essential’ or ‘absolutely essential’ when evaluating new college graduates interviewing for jobs.

So what is it? According to NACE, it’s your ability to exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. Your ability to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness. Who wouldn’t want to work with someone like this?

Here is a very honest example I took from one of my students:

“I wanted to go to Mercy College but my family could not afford to pay for a college education. I applied for a scholarship and got a part time job so I could pay for it myself. I am now a year away from finishing and I was even able to do an internship thanks to the Internship Grant. What seemed like an impossible problem – like paying for College – was actually something I could find a solution for.”

So…. Can you come up with 1-2 examples of when you have shown critical thinking/problem solving? It doesn’t have to be complicated. I know you have a lot more than that! Jot them down so you start getting your personal ‘cheat sheet’ ready for an interview.

Stay tuned for my next blog, What Employers Look for (secret 3 of 8)


By Mariana Ayerbe
Mariana Ayerbe Career in Curriculum Manager, Manhattan Campus