How to Develop Skills Sought by Employers

Across all disciplines, employers have similar expectations of the skills needed from qualified applicants. Below is a list of essential skills gathered from research published about employer needs.* Listed below each skill are opportunities to explore and develop that particular skill or behavior. Use these suggestions to create your own powerful set of skills while at GardnerWebb, in and out of the classroom. A strong set of these skills and behaviors will increase your marketability for internships, jobs and graduate school.

Number 1 way to develop any of these skills, Involvement on Campus

  1. COMMUNICATION SKILLS: Ability to write, speak, and present yourself well
    • Enroll in an academic class that is writing intensive or includes presentations or speeches
    • Work in a campus office or part-time position
    • Improve the way you listen to others; use empathy and self-control when diffusing disagreements
    • Write stories, newsletters etc. for student organizations such as the Bulldog Bite, English Channel, or yearbook
    • Refine your job search materials (resume, cover letter, interview preparation) with Professional Development
    • Act in a theater group, broadcasting, or even an improv group
    • Do fundraising or volunteer work for charities or nonprofit organizations
    • Participate in a mission trip domestically or abroad
  2. INTERPERSONAL SKILLS: Relating to others and demonstrating self-confidence, tact, and approachability
    • Engage in discussions with people different from you
    • Participate as an active team member in a class, campus organization or at a job
    • Live in a group setting on or off campus
    • Conduct interviews with people to gather information for a class project, organization or personal goal
    • Volunteer at a non-profit or serve in an organization like Civitan, Relay for Life, SGA and more
    • Work as a tutor (on or off campus), coach, camp counselor, mentor, Peer Leader, Big Brother or Big Sister
  3. TEAMWORK SKILLS: Working well with others, flexible and adaptive
    • Lead a project team or committee in class, a student organization, or job
    • Use an internship, study group, class or research project to help turn a group of people into a team with common goals
    • Participate on an intramural team, coach Little League, become a summer camp counselor or recreation leader
    • Showcase relatability and connection with roommates, teammates, classmates, or others in group settings
    • Contribute as a valuable member of a team focusing on team goals more than personal goals
  4. INITIATIVE: Having a strong work ethic, being a risk-taker, entrepreneur
    • Identify a campus or community need and proactively fine and implement solutions
    • Select a skill you would like to improve, and seek out experiences which help you achieve that goal
    • Appropriately balance academics, co-curricular activities and employment
    • Solicit strong instructors/supervisor references from academic, co-curricular or employment activity
    • Complete a task or project without having to be asked
    • Study abroad; interact with other cultures
  5. ANALYTICAL SKILLS- Problem-solving, detail-oriented, organize, creative, strategic planner
    • Participate in undergraduate research with a faculty member
    • Work as a lab assistant with computers, science or language
    • Organize a campus event, including volunteer staff, budget, publicity, etc.
    • Seek opportunities to evaluate data to support decision-making
    • Manage your time well; meet deadlines
    • Take a topic you are passionate about, and research the opposing view
    • Read an article in an academic area different from your own and develop implications for your area
    • Develop a strategic plan for a student organization
    • When considering a difficult decision, appraise your choices realistically and seek professional advice when appropriate
  6. LEADERSHIP SKILLS: Make decisions, communicate vision, action oriented, influence/motivate others,
    • Explore leadership opportunities through the Center for Personal and Professional Development
    • Run a campaign for student government or campus issues; or get involved in local state politics
    • Be an active officer or committee chair of a campus organization
    • Identify a campus or community need and proactively find and implement solutions
    • Facilitate group discussions in class or in a campus organization
    • Organize and manage an intramural sports team, camp or recreation group
    • Lead children’s programs, tutor kids in a local school, or coach a children’s sports team
    • Get an internship in an area of career interest; consult with Professional Development and your department internship coordinator
    • Train new campus organization members or employees at your job
  7. TECHNICAL SKILLS: Knowledge and skills related to a specific job field, utilizing computer software & hardware, web and financial resources
    • Work as a student network or computer consultant with campus IT or Residence Life
    • Design or maintain websites for a student or community organization, campus office or yourself
    • Design a brochure, advertisement or newsletter using desktop publishing software
    • Assist community agencies with database, statistical analyses, financial or service reports
    • Keep budgets or financial records for campus or community organizations or work in a billing office
    • Design PowerPoint presentations or Prezis for class or a campus organization
    • Work in the studio or control room of campus radio station or community radio or TV station
    • Learn computer and technical skills in classes and workshops that focus on software programs and applying technology

*Sources include the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), Michigan State University, University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, UNC Wilmington, Hart Research Associates, CareerBuilder, US New & World Report, World Future Society, American Society for Training and Development and the US Department of Labor

**Campus leadership and peer leader positions include Resident Assistant, Big Brother/Big Sister, U111 Peer Leader, Student Government Association (SGA), Student Recruitment Ambassadors (SRA), Peer Tutoring and Writing Center

For more information:

Jobs and Internships: Click on the WebbWorks button after logging in to WebbConnect

Center for Personal and Professional Development Tucker Student Center Suite 157
[email protected] (704) 406-2077