Now that you understand the skills employers are looking for, it is important to take stock in your current skill set. Skills can become rusty if you aren’t using them frequently and skills are not finite so you can and should focus on adding more to your toolbox. There are a variety of ways to gain and/or hone your skills during your college career; you will find a list to guide you below. Make note of opportunities you have already utilized as well as new ones you could pursue to build or hone a specific skill.

You can gain a variety of skills while building your professional network by working a part-time job at CU. And why not get paid to spend time at your favorite campus locations? These jobs are available during the semester and over summer.

On-campus jobs are vast and include:

  • Food service
  • Event management
  • IT support
  • Personal training
  • Security guards
  • Peer advising
  • Library/research
  • Game-day athletics 
  • Videography
  • Giving campus tours for prospective students 
  • Tutoring 
  • Learning assistants

If you have career interests in mind already, consider jobs that can help you gain industry-relevant skills. For example, if you are interested in the helping fields, there are opportunities to work as a tutor, learning assistant or peer advisor.

Other opportunities include:

If you aren’t sure what you want to do after graduation, customer service, food service, administrative and event management roles are readily available on campus. These jobs provide opportunities to demonstrate responsibility, gain experience and build relevant skills. 

Many internships are 10-20 hours a week, so you can usually fit one in between classes. You can also look for a full-time summer internship, which is often paid. 

Here are a few resources for finding internships:

  • CU PIIE: This program is great for gaining experience in a non-profit organization. CU PIIE provides funding for opportunities that are typically unpaid.
  • Work Simplr: Ready for some paid projects? Work Simplr offers short-term projects (10-40 hours) with companies across the country.
  • Handshake: Browse CU’s job and internship board for opportunities.

For first- and second-year students, internships are often found by asking and networking with friends and family.

The options are endless if you are seeking to work part-time while attending school. Many students find jobs in retail, hospitality, customer service, social media marketing, tutoring, childcare, manual labor and technology. All of these can help you to strengthen your current skills and build new ones. 

If you are looking for something more flexible that allows you to work remotely and on your own schedule, consider freelance work. Check Upwork or Handshake to find these opportunities.

There are a few specific ways to gain leadership experience on campus: 

  • Declare the Leadership Studies minor.
  • Participate in CU GOLD, a free semester-long leadership development program open to all students.
  • Take on leadership roles in your campus organizations, activities and student organizations.

There are a variety of ways to get involved on campus:

Explore all that CU offers and determine what aligns with your interests and values. These opportunities also allow you to meet new people and build leadership skills if you pursue a leadership position within the organization. 

As you narrow your career interests, be on the lookout for relevant professional associations you can join. They typically offer free or highly discounted student memberships. Keep in mind that employers care more about the quality of your engagement than the quantity. Select one or two to get involved in at a deeper level.

Look for opportunities to give back to your community through volunteering. You can find opportunities with local non-profits, schools or organizations tied to your interests. 

Not only will you gain valuable skills such as communication, collaboration, problem-solving, adaptability and project management, but this is a way to explore career interests and build your network. Connect with the Volunteer Resource Center (VRC) to learn about organizations. The VRC also has programs to perform service during school breaks or over summer. 

INVST is a leadership program on campus that connects students to service learning opportunities tied to social and environmental justice. Learn more about INVST Community Studies

If you are interested in doing humanitarian work after graduation, check out Americorps or the Peace Corps.

Semester-long projects allow you to focus intently on something specific. This experience with completing a task, sometimes with others, can help you build or hone professional skills. These include: 

  • Leadership
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Delegation
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical and critical-thinking
  • Communication
  • Working independently and/or collaboratively

Inquire about research opportunities with your professors, teaching assistants and academic advisors. Often there are lists of opportunities on department websites. You can also explore the “About Us” pages on department websites to learn about faculty research interests, and reach out directly to faculty members whose research interests align with your own. 

Find out how you can obtain funding to pursue your personal research interests. These opportunities can help you to build or strengthen skills in

  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Information gathering
  • Organizing ideas
  • Collaboration
  • Working independently with minimal supervision
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail

By studying and/or interning in another country, you not only get to experience a new culture, but you will gain or hone valuable skills. These include adaptability, intercultural competence, analytical thinking, communication and problem-solving.

There are other ways to build your global fluency and connect with students from outside the United States right here on campus:

There is also tremendous value in gaining awareness of our unconscious biases and building our appreciation and understanding around issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Here are some ways to get involved with that on campus: 

If you are someone with a quest for exploring meaning, forging new frontiers and changing the world through innovation, connect with other like-minded students and faculty and explore CU’s entrepreneurship opportunities:


If you are looking for opportunities to collaborate and innovate new ways to use technology and protect it from potential vulnerabilities, Hackathons offer the chance for students and faculty with similar interests to come together to showcase their skills and learn from each other’s successes and failures.

Here are a few opportunities (both on and off campus) that allow you to meet and collaborate with other hackers to solve problems, share skills and help build better products:

If you are wanting to learn a very specific process or skill, online courses are a great way to get started.

LinkedIn Learning is an online library of instructional videos that cover the latest software, creative and business skills. Linkedin Learning is available to all CU students for free. 

  1. Log in to Buff Portal
  2. Click Training, in the lower right navigation
  3. Click LinkedIn Learning

Coursera is an online platform to help you build skills with courses, certificates and degrees online from world-class universities and companies.

EdX is a global nonprofit that offers free courses from top universities around the world.

MIT OpenCourseware is an open web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content that is available to the world.

Company/software-specific certificate programs are also important to consider: