The Secret is Out Part 3: What Employers Look for – Oral/ Written Communications

This is part of a series of blogs: #3 of 8! If you missed the first ones, you can read them here.

Onto the next secret of what employers are looking: Oral and Written Communication Skills. The majority of the students I meet with tell me they are ‘good at this’ and want to add it to their resume. However, do you think you have really mastered this skill? Are you able to communicate in a short, efficient and professional manner? You’ll want to make sure you do because 91.6% of employers in a recent survey done by NACE rated it as ‘essential’ or ‘absolutely essential’ when evaluating new college grads for a job.

I know this one area where even if we are good, we could be better. At the beginning of my career, I had a manager who would not accept emails longer than 2 paragraphs long. It was harsh as a new college graduate – used to writing pages and pages of essays – but it trained me to think about every word I wrote. Nobody has time to read long emails; if you can’t say it in 2 paragraphs, you need to pick up the phone.

So what is it? According to NACE, it is how you “articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization. Has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.”

Here is a very good example from one of my computer science students: “I know I have developed strong oral communication skills because I had to explain to my mother what coding was. I could only use terms she understood but now she finally gets it and is proud to tell her friends her daughter knows how to code!”

Can you come up with 1-2 examples of how you have developed oral/written communication skills? It doesn’t have to be complicated or long. 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 4 of 8)



By Mariana Ayerbe
Mariana Ayerbe Associate Director of Career and Professional Development, Manhattan Campus Mariana Ayerbe