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Skills for Success

When asked which career readiness skills they most look for in a job candidate, employers identified the 7 skills listed below.* Regardless of the major you choose at College of Charleston, you will have opportunities to gain and build each of these top skills through yourcourses as well as activities outside of the classroom, allowing you to graduate as a highly employable and career-ready individual.  To track your progress as you build your skills, use our Transferable Skills worksheet.

Jump to:
Communication | Critical Thinking & Problem Solving | Leadership | Teamwork & Collaboration
Professionalism & Work Ethic | Digital Technology | Global & Intercultural Fluency

 

Communication

Articulating 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/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.

Examples include: clear and concise writing, listening objectively, speaking effectively, using and understanding nonverbal cues.

+ You may have already gained this skill by:
  • Writing a carefully-crafted email to a professor
  • Effectively communicating with someone whose first language was different than yours
  • Relaying information between one person/group to another
  • Assisting a customer during your part time job
+ Want to improve this skill? Consider the following:
  • Getting involved with the CisternYard media organizations
  • Taking a writing-intensive or public speaking course
  • Joining the Debate Society
+ Demonstrate your communication skills on a resume:
  • "Wrote and distributed the in-house newsletter to keep all employees updated on the company’s performance and future.”
  • "Communicated pricing changes to the clients while minimizing the number of follow-ups and complaints.”
  • "Optimized communication by introducing Slack to reduce the number of back-and-forth emails by 30%.”
+ Interview questions about communication:
  • Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with a person who may have disagreed with or disliked you. 
  • Tell me about a time when you had to disseminate information to a large group of people. 

 

critical thinking

Exercising 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.

Examples include: thinking outside the box, anticipating potential issues, forming reasonable conclusions, developing solutions.

+ You may have already gained this skill by:
  • Making a difficult decision in your life
  • Solving a difficult math or science question without a clear-cut answer
  • Interpreting a text or piece of literature for a research project  
+ Want to improve this skill? Consider the following:
  • Participating in Undergraduate Research
  • Studying Abroad for a semester or summer program
  • Compete in Booz Allen Hamilton’s “Idea Pitch Day”
+ Demonstrate your critical thinking skills on a resume:
  • “Analyzed market research data to develop a strategic outreach plan to promote company’s product”
  • “Identified areas of needed improvement and implemented plan to streamline workflow”
  • “Utilized Excel to store and organize a database of over 17,000 customers”
+ Interview questions about critical thinking:
  • Describe a complex problem you have faced and the steps that you took to solve it.
  • Tell me about a time you had to make a decision with incomplete information. What did you do?

 

leadership

Leveraging 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.

Examples include: leading by example, inspiring others, conducting meetings, identifying people for tasks, making important decisions.

+ You may have already gained this skill by:
  • Serving as team captain or coach of a sports team
  • Participating in Student Government
  • Taking the lead on a group project and dividing up workload among group members
+ Want to improve this skill? Consider the following:
  • Participating in an Alternative Break program through the Center for Civic Engagement
  • Becoming a Peer Facilitator
  • Taking on a leadership position in a student organization, club, or Greek organization that you are already involved with.
+ Demonstrate your leadership skills on a resume:
  • "Managed a team of 4 retail sales associates"
  • "Led a group project, setting deadlines and delegating tasks to group members"
  • "Represented College of Charleston as part of the President's Advisory Board"
+ Interview questions about leadership:
  • Tell me about a time when you took the lead on a team initiative. What was the outcome?
  • In what specific ways do you motivate and empower others?

 

teamwork and collaboration

Building 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.

Examples include: appreciating contributions of others, networking, generating understanding and trust, being diplomatic and tactful.

+ You may have already gained this skill by:
  • Participating in a group project in one of your college courses
  • Being a member of an athletic team
  • Performing with a group ensemble, including a choir, orchestra, dance team, or theater cast
+ Want to improve this skill? Consider the following:
  • Joining a club or organization that fits with your interests
  • Playing on a club or intramural sports team
  • Volunteering in the community with a local non-profit group
+ Demonstrate your teamwork and collaboration skills on a resume:
  • "Planned annual fundraiser as part of a team of four staff members"
  • "Collaborated with a team of five people to design and code attractive websites for local businesses"
  • "Assisted team in winning debate competition by encouraging positive group morale and supporting colleagues"
+ Interview questions about teamwork and collaboration:
  • Give me an example of a time when your work team or department worked especially well with another group to accomplish a common goal.
  • Please share a time when you experienced working with a difficult coworker on a team. What did you do to resolve the situation and maintain the group's progress?

 

professionalism work ethic

Demonstrating personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time workload 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.

Examples include: working independently, having a positive attitude, showing poise, displaying enthusiasm, proficiency in field of work, going beyond the minimum expectations.

+ You may have already gained this skill by:
  • Completing an internship in your field, learning from coworkers and supervisors
  • Attending a conference related to your area of study
  • Working a part time job, on- or off-campus
+ Want to improve this skill? Consider the following:
  • Finding a Toastmasters group to improve your public speaking and professional presentation
  • Finding a job or internship that requires attention to detail and time management
  • Taking an independent study course to improve your ability to work on your own
+ Demonstrate your professionalism and work ethic skills on a resume:
  • "Consistently met and/or exceeded performance objectives"
  • "Managed sensitive client information with confidentiality and discretion"
  • "Demonstrated commitment to the company and its customers by being responsive and present at all times, and by volunteering to take on additional shifts for employees who were unable to work"
+ Interview questions about professionalism and work ethic:
  • Can you tell me about a time when you went above and beyond to get your work done?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer or client.

 

digital technology

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.

Examples include: understanding and using software, using technology creatively to solve problems, using email to communicate, using tools such as tablets, projectors, smartphones on a regular basis.

+ You may have already gained this skill by:
  • Using a smartphone, tablet, or computer daily from a young age
  • Learning how to use a new software in one of your courses
  • Attending a technology-based summer camp or after-school program
+ Want to improve this skill? Consider the following:
  • Taking an introductory computer science class
  • Learning how to code using a free online service such as Khan academy
  • Joining a computer-related club or student organization
+ Demonstrate your digital technology skills on a resume:
  • "Experienced graphic artist well-versed in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator"
  • "Proficient in MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint"
  • "Intermediate-level skills in HTML, C++, and Java"
+ Interview questions about digital technology:
  • You have just been assigned to a project involving a new technology. How would you get started?
  • How do you keep your technology skills up to date?

 

global intercultural fluency

Valuing, respecting, and learning 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.

Examples include: working on a diverse team, respecting cultural differences, communication across language and cultural barriers, creating an inclusive environment for all people.

+ You may have already gained this skill by:
  • Traveling to different locations outside of your hometown
  • Interacting with people from different backgrounds than your own
  • Taking a class in international studies, anthropology, or a foreign language
+ Want to improve this skill? Consider the following:
  • Take SafeZone training offered by Multicultural Student Programs at CofC
  • Studying abroad during a semester or summer
  • Assisting a new international student adjust to life at CofC
+ Demonstrate your global and intercultural skills on a resume:
  • "Used humor and activities designed for maximum interaction to engage students from a wide range of cultural identities"
  • "Identified individual and group training needs for adults for whom English was a second language"
  • "Managed a diverse production crew of 342 men and women from at least 8 different countries of origin"
+ Interview questions about global and intercultural fluency:
  • Tell me about a time when you worked on a team with individuals from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Describe a situation that required you to consider a different perspective from your own when exploring an issue.

 

*These skills were identified through surveys conducted by NACE, AACU, and the U.S. Department of Labor