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What are the top skills employers look for on and how can I work on them?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) developed a list of competencies that define career readiness. According to NACE there are 8 skills that are essential to career readiness which are key attributes employers want to see on student’s resumes. We detail the skills that will help you impress employers and ways in which you can develop them.

We recommend you review the course bulletin each semester to see if the suggested courses are being offered. Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of courses you can take to develop these skills.

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving & Detail Oriented

Use reasoning to make decisions and overcome problems. The individual obtains, interprets, and uses previous and new knowledge to make decisions. The individual also uses this to enhance their own way of thinking when they find faults.  

Ways to work on these skills: 

  • Ask questions when you are unsure 
  • Have an open mind/be willing to hear others’ opinions that are different from your own 
  • Be mindful of your thinking process. We all have biases and take “short cuts” for our thinking. Being aware of these biases help us think critically 
  • Dissect evidence and ask questions. A good tip is to continue to ask yourself “why” 
  • Use the power of the internet to find new information and continue to learn. Strive to be a lifelong learner 
  • Listen! This may seem obvious but are you listening to understand or listening to react? Understanding is essential in listening  
  • Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Problem solving is all about being a part of taking on challenges to overcome them 
  • Think about processes at your own place of employment and how you can improve them 

Courses you can take to help you work on these skills: 

  • BUSN 3220 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Must be sophomore  
  • CASD 1618 Group Communication  
  • CASD 4646 Conflict and Negotiation
  • PHIL 2101 Introduction to Philosophy 
  • PHIL 2501 Philosophical Issues in Literature  
  • PHIL 3210 Reasoning 
  • PHIL 3204 Symbolic Logic 
  • PSYC 2530 Introduction to Cognitive Psychology

Additional Resources: 


Build relationships with others from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. The individual is also able to manage conflict. 

  • Practice honesty and integrity  
  • Build relationships with others in the workplace and create productive conversations 
  • Establish team goals and leverage the strengths of your fellow team members  
  • Be confident in your team and their abilities 
  • Listen to different ideas, be respectful, and encourage new insight  
  • Delegate tasks to fellow team members and allow others to take hold of new tasks to encourage production and confidence 
  • Be a strong facilitator: organize a plan, help team members understand certain goals, and streamline the decision making process 
  • Take on ownership of group projects in your courses 

Courses you can take to help you work on these skills: 

  • AMST 1010 American Identities  
  • ANTH 1100 Culture and Society 
  • BUSN 3245 Managing a Global Workforce  
  • BUSN 3220 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution 
  • BUSN 3210 Organizational Behavior 
  • CLAS 1618 Group Communication 
  • CLAS 2109 Self and Society 
  • COMM 1001 Introduction to Communication 
  • PHIL 3308 Race, Justice, and Equality  
  • SOCY 1101 Introduction to Sociology  

Additional Resources:

Oral/Written Communication

Articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms. The individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit clearly and effectively. 

  • Actively listen rather than thinking about how to react: organize your thoughts before you speak them out loud and don’t act on impulse 
  • Speak with confidence and poise – this will help in obtaining the trust of your audience 
  • Be aware of not only your body language but of the body language of others. Body language is an important nonverbal cue that can say a lot about what one is trying to convey 
  • Think about the audience you are communicating with and be aware of how others may perceive what you are saying 
  • Make good eye contact with your audience  
  • Focus on maintaining an open, comfortable tone with those you are speaking with  
  • When trying to convey a message through writing, have a trusted colleague review your work 
  • Be open to constructive criticism and learn from it to improve yourself  
  • Whether it be emails or memos, practice writing everyday to become a stronger communicator  
  • Speak with a good attitude and maintain your posture when engaging in conversation 

Join clubs such as: 

On-Campus Resources: 

Communication Skills (Written) Courses: 

  • BUSN 3010 or TREM 2660 Business and Corporate Writing
  • CASD 1205 Modern Communication Theories  
  • CASD 1627 Nonverbal Communication
  • CASD 1643 Visual Communication
  • COMM 1000 Survey Communication Studies
  • ENGL 1010 & 1012

Communication Skills (Oral) Courses:  

  • CASD 1707 Public Speaking 
  • CASD 2631 Crisis Communication 
  • COMM 1000 Survey Communication Studies  
  • COMM 1001 Introduction to Communication 
  • THEA 1101 Introduction to Acting 

Additional Resources

Digital Technology, Analytical/Quantitative Skills & Technical Skills

Leverage technologies to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals. The individual demonstrates effective adaptability to new and emerging technologies. 

  • Attend and engage in workshops that the Library hosts to help you develop these technical skills. Workshops can be found on their website
  • Practice your tech skills by engaging in projects that use technology and different programs you are unfamiliar with 
  • Learn from those who are aware of new technologies and their many perks  
  • Be active on social media platforms to learn about emerging technologies  
  • Teach others what you have learned. Repetition is key when it comes to learning new skills 

Courses you can take to help you work on these skills: 

  • BUSN 3110 New Media and Business
  • BUSN 3240 Management Information Systems 
  • BUSN 3440 Management of New and Emerging Technologies
  • CASD 2615 or TREM 2615 Social Media Communication  
  • CISC 1050 Introduction to Computer Applications  
  • CISC 1530 Electronic Commerce
  • COMM 1001 Introduction to Communication 
  • COMM 3000 Orality, Literacy, and Computer Technology

Additional Resources: 

Leadership & Taking Initiative

Motivate and influence others to achieve common goals. The individual can assess and manage their emotions and those of others. 

  • Be innovative in your work and influence others to think outside the box  
  • Communicate often with your colleagues and set clear expectations 
  • Practice listening and take into account different suggestions, feedback, and ideas  
  • Take on more responsibility and step out of your comfort zone 
  • Empower those around you and delegate tasks  
  • Be aware of what others are doing and how they feel in terms of different projects and ideas  
  • Take initiative and challenge yourself to improve – be sure to reflect on your experiences 
  • Motivate and energize others and create a positive work environment  
  • Take on leadership roles in your class assignments/projects 

Courses you can take to help you work on these skills: 

  • BUSN 3210 Organizational Behavior
  • BUSN 2010 Professional Development and Success
  • BUSN 3260 Leadership in Organizations
  • CASD 1205 Modern Communication Theories  
  • CASD 1608 Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication  
  • CASD 1618 Group Communication  
  • PSYC 3140 Small Groups 
  • PSYC 2100 Social Psychology
  • PSYC 2300 Introduction to Personality
  • PHIL 3326 Moral Psychology  

Additional Resources:  

Professionalism/Work Ethic

Demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits. The individual demonstrates integrity and ethical behavior, acts responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, and is able to learn from mistakes. 

  • Maintain effective work habits by being organized, plan in advance, and manage all of your projects and assignments. Having a system to keep you organized is absolutely essential! 
  • Make sure to effectively communicate with your supervisor and update them on the status of your tasks 
  • Approach work with both a positive and constructive attitude  
  • Be self-aware, manage emotions, and accept feedback 
  • Network with those around you and build relationships with fellow colleagues 
  • Handle stressful situations in a mature, collected, and efficient manner  

Courses you can take to help you work on these skills: 

  • BUSN 3251 Workplace Values and Happiness
  • BUSN 3252 Stress Management in Workplace Settings 
  • PHIL 3307 Global Ethics  
  • PHIL 3323 Virtue: Ideals of Human Goodness  
  • PHIL 3326 Moral Psychology  
  • SOCY 3607 Working 9-5 The Sociology of Work in the U.S.
  • SOCY 3609 Balancing Acts

Additional Resources:  

Global/Intercultural Fluency & Able to Relate Well to Others

Value, respect, and learn from all.  

  • Listen to your fellow employees and respect their ideas 
  • Educate your colleagues and ensure that your executives encourage diverse and inclusive practices 
  • Understand the inclusion goals of your company 
  • Rethink workplace policies and think about ways to further promote a diverse workforce 
  • Understand the advantages that come with a diverse and inclusive workforce  

Courses you can take to help you work on these skills: 

  • AFST 1001 Introduction to Contemporary Africa 
  • AFST 1020 Introduction to African American Studies 
  • AFST 1025 Introduction to Contemporary African American Culture 
  • ANTH 1100 Culture and Society  
  • ANTH 1105 Cultures & Transformations 
  • ANTH 1300 People and Language 
  • CASD 1114 Survey of Speech, Language, and Communication Disorders 
  • CASD 1619: Intercultural Communication 
  • CASD 4625 Gender and Communication 
  • ENGL 2120 Overview of Literary Study I Representative Selections of World Literature
  • ENGL 2121 Overview of Literary Study II Representative Selections of World Literature
  • MLAN 2150 Intercultural Literacy and Competence
  • MUSC 3101 Music in Global America
  • PRLS 2105 New York Latin @ Culture and the Arts 
  • PRLS 3105 Puerto Rican and Latin @ Cultural Formations  
  • PSYC 3110 Psychology of Prejudice
  • PSYC 3120 Cultural Psychology
  • PSYC 3360 Psychology of Gender
  • SOCY 2600 Gender and Society
  • WGST 1001 Introduction to Women’s Studies: Sex, Gender, and Power  

Additional Resources: 

Career Management

Identify and articulate skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences to the position desired and career goals. Also, able to identify areas necessary for professional growth.  

Courses you can take to help you work on these skills: 

  • BUSN 2000 Business and Finance in the Contemporary World  
  • BUSN 2010 Professional Development and Success

Additional Resources:


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