Skip to main content
Get Urgent Help
Search

Employers actively look for skills and experience that show a candidate's versatility outside of the classroom. While classroom knowledge and success is incredibly important, other experiences add to your skill set and show the employer who you are as an employee and person.

What Employers Look For

As you build on your classroom experience, consider what employers seek in candidates. Think about your involvement and skills. Do you demonstrate the qualities and skills below? How have you demonstrated these attributes?

Attributes Employers Seek on a Candidate's Resume
Attribute % of Respondents
Ability to work in a team 78.0%
Problem-solving skills 77.3%
Communication skills (written) 75.0%
Strong work ethic 72.0%
Communication skills (verbal) 70.5%
Leadership 68.9%
Initiative 65.9%
Analytical/quantitative skills 64.4%
Flexibility/adaptability 63.6%
Detail-oriented 62.1%
Interpersonal skills (relates well to others) 58.3%

Data provided by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Job Outlook 2017

Influence of Attributes
Attribute Average Influence Rating
Major 4.0
Has held leadership postition 3.9
Has been involved in extracurricular activities 3.6
High GPA (3.0 and above) 3.6
School candidate attended 2.9
Has done volunteer work 2.6
Is fluent in a foreign language 2.1
Has studied abroad 2.0
  • 5 point scale where
    5 = extreme influence and 1 = no influence at all

Data provided by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Job Outlook 2017

Ways to Gain Experience

Make the most of your years on campus and get involved in a variety of ways. Gaining different experiences helps you grow as a student, a professional, and a member of the Penn State community. 

Creating a well-rounded experience helps you develop a better idea of what your career path will look like as well and give a potential employer a great sense of who you are.

Research

Talk to your adviser and faculty in your department to see what type of research is being conducted. Focus on research that is related to your career interests. 

The University Fellowships Office provides great opportunities for students to find research opportunities and grants. Check the Career Resource Center to find more on-campus offices that can provide guidance.

Involvement

Seek opportunities to get involved on campus through events, your academic college, career interest, or personal interest. Look to take a leadership role.

Part-time and Summer Jobs

Search for jobs both on and off campus. Summer jobs are a great way to get dedicated experience. Do not shy away from including this experience on a resume or application.

Internship and Co-Ops

Use resources through Career Services and your academic college (link to college career office contacts) to find opportunities that align with your career goals.

Study Abroad and Cultural Experience

Visit the study abroad office to look for programs or opportunities to study in a new location. Work with Global Penn State to find resources and education oversees.

Volunteer and Community Involvement

Engage in campus and community opportunities to get involved and give back. Meet with Penn State's Peace Corps recruiter to learn about ways to get involved after graduation.

Career Services @