Develop Skills

Develop Skills and Competencies

Regardless of the industry, job title or level of position you are seeking, there are basic competencies that every employer will have expected you to have mastered. Not only do you need to find ways to develop and practice these competencies but it will be important for you to be able to share clear examples that demonstrate these in your resume and in an interview.

Choose a competency to learn more:


Leaders are able to leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. The individual is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize and delegate work.

Ways to build this skill set
  • Get involved – serve in a student organization or professional association

  • Volunteer – any opportunity to help lead and manage a team to complete a day of service or other volunteer project is an excellent chance to build leadership skills
Things you might already be doing
  • Are you or have you been in a manager or team lead role in a part-time/full-time job? Did this include delegating tasks, organizing projects, or supervising staff

Teamwork and collaboration

Ability to build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles and viewpoints. The individual is able to work within a team structure, and can negotiate and manage conflict.

Ways to build this skill set
  • Get involved in student organizations. This provides you with opportunities to work with a team to achieve a common set of goals or objectives
Things you might already be doing
  • Class projects – what roles have you taken on as part of these teams? Did you help organize a timeline for all team members to follow or did you help support the team with your creative ideas and abilities?

  • Part-time job – do you work as a part of a team in your part-time job? What challenges have you faced and how have you worked through them with your team?

  • What challenges have you faced balancing your academic and personal responsibilities? How have you persisted to be successful in both areas of your life?

Oral and written communications

You can articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization. The individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write and edit memos, letters and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.

Ways to build this skill set
  • Consider working with a supervisor or professor to help improve your written communication. Utilizing papers you have written for classes or other projects you may have done for work can be a great basis to use in these conversations about areas for improvement

  • Connect with the Writing Center on campus – they can provide feedback on existing examples of your written communication on how you can be more articulate and effective in communicating your thoughts and ideas

  • Offer to lead a presentation for a class group – practicing your presentation ahead of time, as well as debriefing with a professor afterwards can help you identify strengths with presenting as well as areas for improvements
Things you might already be doing
  • Virtual communication – are you effective in email and other virtual communication methods with classmates, professors, work colleagues, or peers?

  • Are you responsible for communicating out instructions or delegating tasks to fellow co-workers or class peers?

  • Public speaking – have you had opportunities to present in class or as a part of a project? How large of audiences have you presented to?

Critical thinking and problem solving

You can exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret and use knowledge, facts and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.

Ways to build this skill set
  • Talk with a professor about a potential case study project – many professors incorporate real-life case studies into their classes to help students build their problem-solving skills while offering solutions to a real-life situation
Things you might already be doing
  • If working in a part-time job, have you ever had to deal with challenges that required you to come up with a ‘Plan B’ or deal with an on-the-spot crisis? What was your process in thinking through how you could resolve the situation?

  • Are you someone who enjoys fixing computer or other technology ‘bugs’? This is a great way to demonstrate identifying a problem and deciphering the path needed to take to fix the problem

  • Public speaking – have you had opportunities to present in class or as a part of a project? How large of audiences have you presented to?

  • Customer Service role – any job where you have to engage with customer to provide resources or services can help build your verbal communication skills; whether that be in person or through virtual methods such as phone or Skype

Professionalism and work ethic

Able to demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others and time management, and understand the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image. The individual demonstrates integrity and ethical behavior, acts responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, and is able to learn from his/her mistakes.

Ways to build this skill set
  • Talk with your supervisor at work about the idea you have for improving your check-in procedure at the front desk. What solutions have you come up with to address the challenges the staff is facing and how would you suggest implementing the new system?

  • When your supervisor at work asks you to cover for another employee when they are out sick, welcome the opportunity to show your willingness to take on different responsibilities and keep the office running efficiently
Things you might already be doing
  • When have you taken an opportunity to start a project or complete work without someone asking you to? Have you identified something that needed improvement and taken it upon yourself to do so?

Digital technology

Skills at leveraging existing digital technologies ethically and efficiently to solve problems, complete tasks and accomplish goals. The individual demonstrates effective adaptability to new and emerging technologies.

Ways to build this skill set
  • If you are a part of a student organization that regularly hosts employers for events or workshops, consider talking to some about the specific technical skills they seek in employees they hire. How do they match up to your skills sets and how could you be gaining experience now to make you a more viable candidate for their positions when you graduate?

  • Sharpen your skills – consider taking online classes for software programs or online systems that you are not currently familiar with but are relevant to your future career interests. Whether than might be learning how to code using JAVA or becoming skilled at Adobe Photoshop, these are skill sets highly valued by employers
Things you might already be doing
  • What industry or job specific equipment or software are you currently using and have strong familiarity? (photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, etc.)

  • Almost all students actively use email, word processing programs and know how to effectively research on the internet. Consider listing out all the programs you are familiar with and use on a regular basis in class, at work or elsewhere

Global and intercultural fluency

You value, respect and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations and religions. The individual demonstrates, openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals’ differences.

Ways to build this skill set
  • Join a club that works with diverse populations

  • Attend Culture Fest at ASU

  • Have you considered learning a new language or sharpening the skills you already have by taking a class in a language you are familiar with?

  • Join student organizations or pursue university partnerships to broaden your perspective
Things you might already be doing
  • Are you working with diverse populations in your current position or in your classes?

  • Are you considering study abroad? Study Abroad experiences are extremely valuable to employers who seek students who have lived or worked in other countries

  • Do you speak multiple languages? Whether at home, in class or at work, fluency in multiple languages can be an important ability for you in future career opportunities

Career management

Able to identify and articulate one’s skills, strengths, knowledge and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals, and identify areas necessary for professional growth. The individual is able to navigate and explore job options, understands and can take the steps necessary to pursue opportunities, and understands how to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.

Ways to build this skill set
  • Consider making an appointment on Handshake to discuss your career goals with a career advisor

  • Are you asking your supervisor for new challenges at work, or for the possibility of a promotion?

  • Conducting informational interviews with and networking with people who have similar career interests as you
Things you might already be doing
  • Participating in one-on-one meetings with your supervisor to discuss your work performance

  • Discussing your career goals with your co-workers, supervisor, friends or family

  • Making sure that your résumé and LinkedIn profile are updated

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