Jan 18 • 4 min read

As the parent of a college senior, I see first-hand how my son has to demonstrate these key five skills during internship and job interviews. What I have seen during his academic journey is that preparing for the job market and harnessing relevant skills is an evolving process—and one that I am glad he started early in his college career.

Cynthia Smith, associate director of Communications at the Fox School and her son

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, these five attributes are the most valuable skills sought after by employers.

“In today’s constantly evolving employment landscape, employers are looking for collaborative problem solvers, who cannot only analyze but also interpret and effectively communicate data,” says Joe Santulli, campus recruiter and supervising associate for EY.

“Additionally, in today’s hybrid work environment, now more than ever, the workforce is in need of folks who display initiative and have a self-starter mindset. Employers understand that these skill sets take time and experience to develop,” Santulli continues.

How can you build upon and refine these skills not only during your time at the Fox School but also as you progress throughout your career? Take action with the steps below.

1. Ability to work in a team
Learning how to gather insights from others and deepen connections in a team setting is the primary skill employers are seeking in recent graduates. Being an active listener and knowing how to draw on the range of expertise and perspectives of team members will position you as a leader.

Your Next Step: Step outside your comfort zone and join a Student Professional Organization. Once a member of the organization, take it one step further and apply for a leadership role within the organization.

2. Problem-solving skills
Thinking outside the box and showcasing how you can come up with creative solutions to problems is another highly coveted skill. In a rapidly changing business landscape, employers are seeking candidates who can adapt and who can demonstrate how they have found new ways or new tools that will solve a problem.

Your Next Step: Highlight your creative thinking on your resume by drawing on class projects or experiences in an internship or job as examples. Be prepared with specific examples during an interview.

3. Analytical and quantitative skills
Technical skills and data are often driving company growth, so it’s no surprise that employers are seeking candidates with these skills. Understanding and analyzing data and using quantitative tools such as surveys and statistical modeling are essential.

Your Next Step: Include examples on your resume of work you have done such as managing budgets or analyzing survey data. Try to quantify the impact of your efforts whenever possible, even if the work was not necessarily quantitative in nature. Enroll in one of the many free LinkedIn learning courses to strengthen these areas. You can access these courses in TU Portal under TU Applications on the left side column

4 & 5. Verbal and written communication

It is no surprise that #4 and #5 on this list are communication. Being able to effectively communicate what you need for your role or from your team is paramount—especially in today’s virtual/remote or hybrid work environment. Whether you are talking on Zoom or typing messages in Microsoft Teams, excellent communication across all platforms is key.

“If you want to succeed, you need to be able to communicate with multiple audiences—clients, co-workers, bosses, direct reports, mentors, suppliers, partners, etc,” says Jimmy P. Miller, director of the Business Communication Center at the Fox School. “The list of people you will speak with and/or email is only going to get bigger as technology makes business even more global. The people who will get promoted tomorrow are the ones who recognize this and hone these skills now.”

Your Next Step: Connect with the Fox School’s Business Communication Center for writing and presentation coaching throughout your Fox career. Our tutors aim to help you improve not just your grades, but also your skills in tailoring your messages to specific audiences.

You can also enroll in one of the many LinkedIn communication courses in TU Portal. They are free! Many recruiters are working in the digital space using online hiring tools. Thus, the interview process is your time to showcase your communication skills – from your written resume and cover letter to email correspondence with recruiters to an in-person or Zoom interview. All of these methods allow you to demonstrate your communication skills, so start practicing interview answers and proofreading your resume.

“While your classes provide real-world projects and collaboration to strengthen these five skills, consider joining a Student Professional Organization or applying for an internship to provide additional examples on your resume and during the interview process,” says Allison Rehmann, director of employer partnerships at the Fox School.

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