two women talking at a tableIt may seem surprising with the age of technology that we live in, but the most in-demand job skills right now are uniquely human. According to a 2019 survey of employers, the top skills today’s employers are looking for in candidates include:

  • Listening skills (74%)
  • Attention to detail and attentiveness (70%)
  • Effective communication (69%)
  • Critical thinking (67%)
  • Interpersonal and intercultural skills (65%)
  • Active learning/Learning new skills (65%)

So, how do you go about developing or enhancing these skills? While many of them are built into the courses you take, there are ways to develop these skills outside the classroom. Here are some tips to help you get started.


Whether it’s a part-time job, internship or volunteer work, you can develop the most in-demand skills through experience. Visit the CU Student Employment website for opportunities to gain hands-on experience, both on and off campus. Handshake can help you to explore all kinds of internship opportunities with employers both  locally and nationally. And you can visit the Volunteer Resource Center to find ways to gain experience while helping the community.

With any of these options, take time to reflect on how your experiences are helping you develop these important skills. Look for additional opportunities to expand on these skills. You could talk with your supervisor about taking on more responsibility, or lead a volunteer project.


Leadership takes many forms, from official positions in student government to supervising peers or managing a group project.  Taking on leadership roles not only helps you develop in-demand skills, it can also help you build your network. Visit the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) online or in person to look for ways to participate in student organizations on campus.

In addition to building skills, these experiences will provide you with great examples and stories to share with employers during job interviews. For instance, to demonstrate that you have great listening skills, you could share a specific story about when you used you actively listened to better understand a problem and provide a solution.

Intercultural competencies

In the global marketplace and world of work, being able to engage with and understand the perspectives of people from different cultures is essential in all fields. Like any other proficiency, you can develop your intercultural skills with training and practice. Check out Education Abroad programs that can provide opportunities to gain real-life experiences outside of the U.S . The Center for Inclusion and Social Change (CISC) also provides numerous programs and workshops to help you develop intercultural skills and create inclusive work environments. There is even a tool called the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) that will help you to learn about and strengthen your intercultural awareness and understanding.

Mastering these essential skills can lead to more job offers, a better work environment and job satisfaction. Whether you are looking for a job or an internship, emphasizing the skills you bring to the table can give you an advantage over other candidates. If you need help articulating your skills or thinking about the industries in which they may be most marketable, stop by Career Services and meet with a career development advisor. Make an appointment through Handshake or visit during drop-in hours Monday - Thursday from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.