Published: April 17, 2019 By

Your time at CU will help you develop all kinds of skills you’ll use throughout your career. Many of those skills will come from your academic experience, and others you can develop through experiences such as internships, study abroad and research projects—called transferable or soft skills.

Transferable skills are skills that will be developed and applicable in every profession. They are the foundation of professional success, and they happen to be the most desirable skills employers are searching for in potential candidates.

Whether you are completing an internship or working a part-time job this summer, use that time to develop these essential skills:

Group of colleagues sit at a tableCommunication

Communication includes listening, writing and speaking. Employers want to see you can articulate your thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively. Being a good listener means you strive to understand others’ emotions, build strong relationships and resolve conflict.

Problem solving

Challenges will arise in every job you have. You’ll want to have the ability to analyze issues, make sound decisions and overcome problems.


Many jobs require you to work effectively and respectfully with others, whether that be your coworkers or clients. Employers desire someone who brings out the best in others.


You can show initiative by proactively handling situations and finding answers to questions without direction. This shows employers that you are taking personal responsibility and developing as a leader.

Analytical, quantitative

Use thoughtful analysis to identify problems and make informed decisions. Assess the situation, ask crucial questions, consider possible solutions and plan a course of action.

Professionalism, work ethic

Employers want to see you demonstrate personal accountability for your actions and work habits. Be sure to show up on time, work productively with others and understand the impact of your non-verbal communication. Take responsibility and learn from your mistakes to show integrity and ethical behavior.


You can show leadership by using interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. Additionally, you can use empathic skills to motivate, organize, prioritize and delegate tasks.

Detail oriented

Work on completing tasks with thoroughness and accuracy. Double check your work to ensure there aren’t any errors. Employers like to see you have high standards in the quality of work you perform.

Digital technology

Employers typically provide training on job-specific software, but they expect you to be proficient with basic computer skills and learn new technical tools quickly.


Show that you can be flexible by adapting to situations when they arise. It’s important to employers that you are able to shift plans and adapt to new concepts in order to succeed.

Mastering these essential skills can lead to more job offers and, potentially, higher salaries. Many employers will even ask behavioral questions during an interview in order to gauge your ability to execute these skills.

Make the most of your summer job by seeking opportunities to further develop professionally and interpersonally. If you’re searching for opportunities to start developing these skills and getting hands-on experience in your desire career, stop by Career Services for a drop-in, or schedule an appointment.